Amidol Contact printing

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by David Hall, Jan 19, 2003.

  1. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    I am just getting to know Michael Smith's Amidol formula. I was reading in one of Steven Anchell's cookbooks about other Amidol formulae, and noticed that the ingredients are the same but the proportions are significantly different.

    What is the effect on the print? For instance, if I use Weston's or Photographer's Formulary's formulae, how will print look different? And assuming that it won't look as...fill in the blank...will it still have deeper blacks and longer range than a more standard developer?

    Yikes, it's late. I hope the question is clear.

    Thanks!

    dgh
     
  2. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Hi David, there are actually quite a few Amidol formulas out there to play around with. If you check out the unblinking-eye, ed has posted many formulas.

    The differece between the formulas is like trying to describe the difference between various brands of chocolate. Sometimes the difference is as plain as the nose on your face, and other times, there are fine underlying nuances that you might need sometime to discover and come to appreciate. Some of the major differences will be the speed with which the developer works. The Smith formula, with a large amount of amidol, is very powerful and fast working, whereas a formula like that of Peckhams (which has less amidol, but uses catechtol as a second developing agent) is slower working, meanin the development times will be somewhat longer (for my exposure and development technics.).

    The "color" of the final print and the depth of the shadows are two more areas in which difference can be quickly seen. Some of the more subtle things to look for would be the seperation in the mid-tones.

    Selecting an Amidol formula is like selection a paper, a film developer , a film , a lens, etc...
    There is going to be some experimenting involved. And after you get a feel for the individual components of a formula, don't be afraid to "tweak" the basic formula to make it more suitable to your individual needs.
     
  3. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    In this forum or another, Ed Buffaloe (Unblinking Eye) posted a fascinating report that he had tried a number of Amidol formulas, but when he finally tried the one that Paula and I use he got the best results ever. The formula we use came about after I spent years of experimentation. Some people like to experiment. I do not. I prefer to spend my time making photographs. The only reason I experimented before was that I was not getting the results I knew were possible. Since I found what worked, there was no reason to experiment further. In general my advice is to go with whatever works until you are not satisfied with the results. Only then, experiment with other formulas and processes.

    Michael A. Smith
     
  4. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  5. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member

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    Maybe you can send one of your azo prints in the print exchange aggie? I'd like to see this type of paper.
     
  6. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  7. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Sure you can go with a proven formula, why not, as long as you're satified with the results you're getting. Having someone tell you, "hey, use this formula, it's the best one" is fine, and you're results will more than likely be better than if you had experimented around "looking" for the right combination that suites YOUR tastes and needs.

    But let's not forget the positive aspects of "experimenting", namly learning by trial and error. And through such experimentation, you learn the properties of the individual copmponents found in your formulas. Gee, that doesn't necessarily sound like a bad thing to me.

    "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime..."
     
  8. edbuffaloe

    edbuffaloe Member

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    If you are interested in various amidol formulae, check out my page of them at http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Amidol/amidol.html. At the bottom of the page I give my experiences with many of them. For contact printing Azo, Michael Smith's formula is superb. For enlarging, some of the other formulae will find good use.
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    I have finally found a European source of Amidol, and ordered a minor quantity to try.

    I have not bought AZO yet (sorry), but got hold of some Bergger Contact G2 from the same source.

    Are there any recommended formulas to try for this paper?
     
  10. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Sorry, Ole, the Bergger "contact printing paper" is not a contact printing paper at all, although they sell it as that. Contact printing papers are silver chloride papers. The Bergger paper is not a silver chloride paper. It has silver iodide in it--the same thing film has. I have seen a fine print on it, once, and it may be a half decent paper. The older contact prints from Weston, Adams, others, were always on silver chloride paper. The only silver chloride paper remaining in production is Azo. I wish it were otherwise, but it is not.

    Michael A. Smith
     
  11. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Sorry, Ole, the Bergger "contact printing paper" is not a contact printing paper at all, although they sell it as that. Contact printing papers are silver chloride papers. The Bergger paper is not a silver chloride paper. It has silver iodide in it--the same thing film has. I have seen a fine print on it, once, and it may be a half decent paper. The older contact prints from Weston, Adams, others, were always on silver chloride paper. The only silver chloride paper remaining in production is Azo. I wish it were otherwise, but it is not.

    Michael A. Smith
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    To my knowledge (which may be faulty), "Contact Paper" means that it is intended for contact printing. There is no implication of the chemistry in the phrase. That Bergger's Contact paper contains Iodide is irrelevant to me - if it gives good results. If I insisted on using a pure AgCl paper, I would make my own Albumen paper...

    But what I asked was not so much about the paper as about the developer. There is a wealth of information about Azo out there, it is probably the most written-about single silver-process paper in the world. If the question I asked had been the one Michael answered, I wouldn't have asked it but instead read it off his webpage.

    So: Anyone have any experience with Bergger Contact G2 in Amidol?
     
  13. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Yes, Ole, I printed the Bergger "contact" printing paper with Amidol. The results were worse than disappointing. The prints were dull and muddy, no matter how contrasty a negative was used. I was hoping it would be otherwise.

    Maybe my Amidol formula wasn't the right one. Maybe I did not develop the paper long enough. Whatever the reason, the paper just did not yield results where even one print could leave the darkroom. Maybe someone else had better success.

    Michael A. Smith
     
  14. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you, Michael!
    Now that is information I can use... A starting point for experiments :smile:

    Fortunately, I rather like experimenting - maybe I'll try one of my "bulletproof" monobath-developed negatives first?
     
  15. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    I would try spiking the your amidol with some bz(benzotirazole), 30 or 60 ml of 1%. Enlarging paper with Weston or Michael's amidol without bz look pretty aweful.
     
  16. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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