Lazy AZO question

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by mark, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. mark

    mark Member

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    I am full of questions tonight.

    With the expense of amidol I am not all that thrilled with using it on test prints. What other developers are people using? I have read Agfa Neutal mentioned before, is this true?

    For those using other developers are the development times the same as with amidol or will I need to increase the time?
     
  2. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    I use Ansco 130 for "testing" and Amidol for the final prints.

    Jim
     
  3. bmac

    bmac Member

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    It is the Neutol WA that people use with AZO. In my opinion, it makes decent prints, bu nowhere near the tone of amidol. I used to spend an evening just doing test prints in one liter of amidol, and then follow up with a night of final prints in a second liter.
     
  4. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    I use Neutol WA and i am very happy with the results. I really cant be bothered with Amidol and all that stuff
     
  5. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Mostly using Neutol WA with good results for azo because of its simplicity and cost. That being said, for a fine print, amidol is still the winner. I usually don't print enough at one session to require unlimited developer life in one printing session. You can use whatever you have and still get good prints. Dektol works fine, but cut it back to 1:3, not the usual 1:2 dilution.

    The amidol question has come up because Michael and Paula have basically brought azo back from the edge of death, when it had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. They have perfected the use of azo and their process over many years and have found amidol to be the best developer for azo they have tried. Since many people have learned of the paper through their outstanding work and efforts, it is normal to use their techniques as well. Naturally, to emmulate someone's work, you would try to use the materials best suited to the process.
    There is a similar topic with respect to pyro developers. Are they "better" than conventional developers? There are many schools of thought bandied about, but the bottom line is that taking good images has been done for the last 150 years or so with many materials. It seems to me that what you have on hand that works well for you is the right thing. Is there a "magic bullet" out there? I remember a thread by that name a while back. Fortunately, the jury is still out.
     
  6. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    "I use Neutol WA and i am very happy with the results. I really cant be bothered with Amidol and all that stuff."

    If the Amidol results are definately better, greater tonal range & depth, this statement does say a lot.
     
  7. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    Indeed it does.

    Jim
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I used Neutol WA and was satisfied until I started using amidol. Neutol WA is still a good developer for a lot of things, but it's so different from amidol, that it's not worth using it for test prints, in my opinion.

    To get the most out of my amidol, I usually print my Azo prints at the beginning of the session in Michael Smith's formula, then add some KBr and Benzotriazole to the tray to convert it to Smith's formula for enlarging papers, and finish the session with enlargements.
     
  9. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I use a two-bath technique starting out with Neutol WA, followed by a water bath, followed by Don Miller's PPPD developer using all catechol vice a ratio of catechol and pyrogallic acid. Francesco Abad uses nearly the same technique with the Moersch catechol solution.

    Both of us claim results so near to amidol that its indistinguishable. However, the real reason I went this way is due to the cost of amidol. I decided that until the war chest increases in size, that the available funds were better allocated to procure more Azo and mat board by reducing the allocation on developer chemicals.
     
  10. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    You can get a rough, quick and dirty idea of whether or not your highlights are blown and some general idea of the contrast of a negative with Neutol WA. However, I have found that there is no substitute for Amidol if I'm really trying to produce a fine print.

    Greg Davis' bulk purchase of Chinese Amidol has slashed the cost by 75%. Let's all take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With 5.5 lbs. of amidol in my larder, I'll use it to proof as well. At my rate of usage this purchase should last me at least a decade.

    I develop Azo in Neutol WA for exactly the same as I do in Amidol - 1 minute for Grade 3 and 2 minutes for Grade 2.
     
  11. Daniel Grenier

    Daniel Grenier Member

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    Actually, Deniz, you should. You will see a big difference if you use Amidol. Myself and a couple other guys from Canada are going to order some Amidol from Greg (see other thread on Amidol). Want in? PM me if you do.
     
  12. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Agree Deniz, you should. Granted, it must be mixed from the stock chemicals but that's not hard at all.

    I wish this bulk amidol deal would have come along about three weeks ago. I already blew the money on other supplies. Unless somone buys about 10 of my prints this weekend :surprised:
     
  13. Will S

    Will S Member

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    For proofing on Azo I use the PhotoFormulary BW-65. They say it has results similar to amidol, and I think they are right. I have a done a couple of comparison prints, and I can't see a lot of difference, but I'm sure someone more knowledgable in these matters would see the difference instantly.

    Also, and I'm sure this is going to get me banned from Azo discussions, if not apug, forever, I use azo with BW-65 for all of my proof sheets. (It is a contact paper, right?)

    Best,

    Will
     
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  15. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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    Hey Alex, I just bought one of your prints on eBay, used BIN and instant payment, so go get your money!!! I bought ''Yates Center Elevator''. It looks great even on my monitor - can't wait to see the real thing.

    BTW, I think you guys give discounts to APUG members (or you did at one point). I don't want the discount - you guys in the guild need all the support you can get. I bought a total of 3 prints today (at least I have high bids in on 2 others ending in a few hours).

    BTW, if you want, I'd be willing to work something out with you when my Amidol gets in. I ordered 33lbs of it, so I should be able to sell you 2-3 lbs for what I paid for it, but I may ask for a print in the bargain and I'll pay shipping of chemicals to you as well as re-packaging costs. Interested? I'd want a final, mounted and matted print, not a work print of course.

    I love the Yates Center Elevator print. I think you should do more of these darmatic contrasty images. Really shows off AZO and 8x10 contact prints. I do like ''Keystones'' a lot, too.

    Please do me a favor and drop by my gallery here on APUG and give me some critique, ok? You have a real nice eye.

    -Mike
     
  16. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    Something to keep in mind.


    The "slight" difference between a print developed in one of the "other" developers and one developed in Amidol can be the difference between a great print and a "wow" print.

    Jim
     
  17. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    I reallt didnt mean to compare Neutol WA and Amidol.

    But under the circumstances i have no choice but use the Neutol Wa. Both budget and time/resources wise.

    I will definitely give amidol a try when i have the opportinuty(maybe someone close to me will have a working batch ready so i'll just slip my paper in there : ) )
     
  18. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Thanks Mike for buying the print, the kind words, and the offer on the amidol. Sent you a PM. The print will ship on Monday.

    Just so everyone knows, I'm not a member of the Contact Printers Guild. Just out there on my own. The guys in the Guild are a great bunch and there's a good deal of mutual support that goes around.

    Deniz, you can make good Azo prints using Neutol WA. I know a couple of the Guild members use it and so do I. I've made "Yates Center Elevator" with both Neutol and amidol, and its very hard to discern the difference between the two. Exposures however, differ. In other words, I cannot get the same result from a 60 second exposure with Neutol that I get with amidol.

    One big advantage amidol has is its very high activity. This is important when using a water bath. Neutol will work with the water bath technique too, but not to the extent amidol does.

    Good luck and don't be afraid to post your work.
     
  19. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    When Paula and I used Neutol WA we found that it was unduly contrasty. Perhaps we needed to dilute in more.
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hmmm... when I used it, I found it unduly flat at first using the 1+11 dilution. I liked it better with the 1+7 dilution.
     
  21. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I use it at 1:7. Like I said earlier, it prints differently from amidol. I've had a couple situations where it was too contrasty as Michael says. That's why I went to the split developing technique. I leave Azo in the Neutol for 30 seconds max before going to the water bath.
     
  22. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I've been using Azo with Ansco 130 and like it a lot. It's not amidol, probably nothing else is, but in using my eyes and real negatives I see essentially the same contrast range. The 130 seems to give just a little more range in the deep shadows than amidol.

    The biggest difference I see is print color. The amidol is rather cold and the 130 is warmer, although I have to hold one print next to the other to really see the difference.

    I've found I can control contrast through changes in agitation. Normal for Grade 2 would be two minutes in the developer with agitation the entire time. To get less contrast, I agitate 30-seconds then let the print lie still for the remaining 90-seconds. As with water bath, the agitation/still time can be varied to make slight changes in the contrast.

    Again, 130 is not exactly the same as amidol, but it's very good in its own right. I'm glad to have two developers capable of making excellent prints (if my photography is good enough).
    juan
     
  23. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I've noticed several people using Anso 130 on Azo. Never tried it myself, but it seems to have a good reputation.

    Bottom line is that any developer can be used on Azo and, as usual with such things, its a personal choice. A warmer print can be obtained with amidol by adding more potassium bromide (KBr).

    There are also print color variations in Azo from master roll to master roll. In the current production run, grade 2 is pretty neutral, grade 3 slightly warm. Michael Smith reported the other night that he and Paula are using double the KBr now than they used to. I found the same thing and typically mix in 4 or 5 ml KBr per liter amidol vice the 2 ml KBr the formula specifies.
     
  24. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    After reading then rereading this thread, I as usual come away a bit confused.
    Has any one done an actual cost break down with other developers versus Amidol? Like the Neutol WA directly vs Amidol? One of the main objections that keeps popping up is the expense of Amidol. Has anyone compiled any
    type of cost comparisons? From what I read, a little bit of Amidol seems to make up into a fair amount of working solution. Somehow I cannot make the connection that it is "x" times more expensive to make 1 8x10 in Amidol than making 1 8x10 print developed in something else. I look at it this way, my "boxes" cost quite a bit, my lenses cost quite a bit, everything else when purchased was very pricey. Do I really need to worry that using Amidol and achieving the best possible results from my negatives on AZO costs twice or three times more than when processed in something else? Like I say I am a bit confused, I have no one today to please but myself with my photography.

    So I am going continue in my confused way to try to absorb some of the tremendous experience displayed on this list but tune out comments like it's
    "to expensive to use Amidol". Especially when I have spent what it costs to buy a box of eight by ten sheet film I darn well am not going to worry about the cost of printing it on AZO developed in Amidol!

    For me the down side of Amidol is having to mix it!, I hate messing with
    measuring, weighing and that stuff. But I will bite the bullet and do it in
    an attempt to do something a bit different, perhaps bit better in my mind than any thing I have done before.

    Strictly my humble opinion!
     
  25. mark

    mark Member

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    Well now, don't I feel scolded by the wisened Mr. Webb

    As the title says it is a lazy AZO question. I hate mixing stuff from scratch. Pour it out of a bottle and print paper is what I was looking for. Availability is the other issue. It is easier for me to get ahold of the ready made stuff than it is to order the individual chemicals. Amidol has a hell of a short life span. I cannot afford to print as much as I do in AZO. I may be lucky to get one or two prints done in a session. Such is life with a 2 almost three year old. Mixing up a liter for maybe two prints is a total waste. I would not feel so bad pitching a cheaper developer.

    Please accept my humble apologies for ruffling your colorful plumage
     
  26. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    Good point Charles.

    I'm thinking about getting some Amidol in the bulk purchase and by the time I get it here (in Australia) it will be expensive... but as you say how's that relate to packaged developers. I currently use Neutol WA and NE because I like it and I managed to buy several bottles real cheap... however it's about to run out and buying it new here is $27 (all $ quoted as AUD... $1 AUD about 75cents US) bottle which makes 8 litres of working developer (1:7) that makes it $3.38/litre. I don't know how much the other ingredients of Amidol will cost me, but the Amidol itself will work out about $2-$2.40/litre (depending on postage costs and import duties I might get stuck with) Not looking too bad (assuming the other ingredients aren't as expensive as the Amidol, which I think is a fair assumption) and one assumes one printing session for comparision sakes (I do keep Neutol for future printing sessions, but only if it's the next night or so). In contrast, Ilford Multigrade costs about $1.25/litre and Dektol about $1.22/litre (1:1 dilution) $0.81 (1:2). Buying in larger quantities can reduced these figures a bit.

    Considering a piece of paper cost me from $0.70 (8x10 RC) up to about $3.00 (12x16 FB), film, other chemicals and not to mention the $ in petrol, accomodation, gear and time to get the photos in the 1st place, the price of the Amidol is not looking to bad (it being cheaper is always better though!). I think I've convinced myself :smile: However, if moneys particularly tight... I'd use something cheaper and still be able to buy film! Just got to get your priorities right I guess!