Today for the first time I used the new Lodima G2 paper. This is my assessment regarding how it handles and how it compares to the old Azo. First I want to say my assessment is not a highly controlled situation. I am using a 300watt bulb bought at Home depot placed in a reflector and placed in to the bellows of my Besslar 4x5 enlarger. This was done only to keep the stray light down in my dark room and it was a easy way to mount the light without any major reconstruction of my darkroom. Normally I use my Azo enlarging light to expose the paper, but at this time the light is not working and Iím trying to find out was the problem is.
The developer I used is Ansco 130. This was mixed 5/17/07 to a 1 to 1 ratio, and replenish with the same, as my bottle gets about a third down. This developer is as black as can be but gives me outstanding results. Developing times were as Michael indicated for Amidol. I find this work with Azo so I didnít change the process. I took a print that printed easy for me in Azo and Platinum and have gotten great results from them. After getting my exposure time the first print look outstanding. I just had to adjust the time slightly and got my final print!!! Next I took a negative I have not printed yet, of the lower Yosemite falls. The negative had slightly more contrast but well within in printing capabilities. First I took Azo G2 from Canada, which is more like a G1 than a G2 and printed the negative. Though slightly flat it printed very nicely at 23 sec., developed for 2mins. Next I made a print using Azo G3 this is the Original Azo, not the Canadian stuff. It exposed for 50 sec. and developed for 1 min. a lot more contrast. May be too much at this point. Possibly a water bath development would have helped the final print, but that is not what I was doing here. Next was the Lodima G2. It exposed for 18 sec. and gave it a 1 min development. Comparing it to the two others it was very close if not the same as the Azo G3. I felt the mid to lower tones held better than the G3. After fixing I selenium tone the prints. I used 1:40 dilution, which I use as a standard for Azo. At 2.5mins the Azo prints started to turn brown. The Lodima wasnít far behind.
The Pros of this paper is that I have used a lot of different papers of the last 40 years and find this to be one of the best I have ever used (being their first paper, I canít figure out why a lot of these other companies canít get it right.). It took no brains to just open the box and start printing without having to do extensive testing. Tones canít be beat.
The Cons are a few. When I opened the box the DW paper has a curl to it, which was annoying, and made it hard to put into a print Frame that doesnít have a slit back. Second, after selenium toning and getting them into the wash I noticed that the edges of the paper was pealing off. This left black specks in the selenium toner. It isnít a problem because it is only on the black border which gets trimmed later anyway. But something to note.
Over all WOW what a paper much better than I ever thought was going to come out and I canít wait to get my 8x20 paper.