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Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by Digidurst, Jul 6, 2005.
Is it normal for grade 3 AZO to require more exposure time than grade 2??
Hmmmm...I believe so, yes.
Is it a problem or a big deal?
Yep, it sure is. Two to three stops more exposure.
Not at all... I'm just new to the stuff and thought it was odd. I increased the exposure (using the same negative) but the shadows blocked up. Guess I would need to dodge (or is it burn? I always get the terms mixed up but you know what I mean!) certain areas to keep that from happening? Any other suggestions?
Thanks for the quick clarification!!
What you term as your shadows blocking up may be a result of the exposure scale of the grade three Azo being shorter then the density range of your camera negative. What about the highlight values? It is normal to base print exposure on the highlight values and the shadow values on the contrast grade of the paper.
If you have tried grade two Azo and found the print to be flat, then you could try water bath development (provided you are using Amidol).
Yes. Always has been.
So I assume you have both grade 2 AZO and grade 3 AZO. If the print is too flat on Grade 2, and too contrasty on Grade 3, you can use a water bath developer to hold your shadow detail and bring in your highlights. That is, only if you are using Amidol developer (which I suggest you do if you are printing with AZO.)
A few things you can do- Print your image normally how you are on G-3, and while the print is in the developer you pull out the print when the shadows are developed to your liking, you then place the print in a still tray of water and the highlights will continue to develop, but the development will stop in the shadows.
You can also expose the image for the shadows and see where your highlights are falling at. Then see how much exposure is needed to get the highlights where you like and burn those small sections in. You could also do the opposite, and expose for the highlights, then dodge out the shadow are for a few seconds.
What format are you shooting? What Film and film developer are you using? What paper developer are you using?
Very good tips - thank you!
As this is APUG and I respect the non-digital approach that this site endorses, I will only say that my negs were created digitally and leave it at that.
I'm not using Amidol currently but might switch to it in the future. Instead, I am using Edwald ultra black and I'm happy with the results I am getting with grade 2 AZO. I'll post an example of my latest success as soon as possible.
However, I have a question based on switching to Amidol. McPhotoX, you mention pulling the print once I'm happy with the shadows. Under safelight conditions, I can't really see if my shadows are at the density I would prefer. So, how do you overcome that problem?
Thanks again for everyone's help as I begin my journey with AZO!
Use a brighter safelight! Simple! When working in the darkroom, I have one large room light, one small safelight over the developer tray, and another over by my light box. My darkroom is probably 3x brighter then your normal darkroom. My reason? Well, AZO is not as sensitive to light as regular enlarging paper, so more light in your darkroom will not fog it.
A few months ago my friend mixed his Amidol incorrectly (but we did not know), so when we used it, it turned the paper pure black! We thought the paper got fogged so we threw the stack of paper away in the trash, keeping the box and bag. We then turned on the regular room lights for about 5 minutes, then realized it may have been the developer! We remixed the developer and then remember the open paper sitting in the trashcan (That was just exposed to 5 minutes of roomlight!). We grabbed it out of the trashcan, threw the top sheet into the developer...... NO FOG!!!!!!! The paper sat out in the room for over 5 minutes, and did not even fog under normal room light conditions!
So, what I am trying to say is...just get another safelight to place over your developer tray. You will be able to see your print better when developing and know when to pull it out.
About your digital negatives...I think its great! Being the only AZO printer at my local college, I tried to incourage all the students making digital negatives for Alt. Processes...to try them on AZO. No one seemed interested. If your getting decent prints from a digital negative...on grade TWO, you are doing great. Seems like most people cannot even enought contrast and density to print on grade THREE! You must be doing something right!
I also forgot to say that you should really give Amidol a try. What type of tones are you looking for in your image? Do you like warm tone, cool tone? I tend to prefer a neutral/cool tone, but using Amidol you can swing both ways. Amidol will give you better blacks then Edwal UB also.
I believe I tried Edwal UB at one point, and it gave me a VERY blue, charcoal looking print. For some stuff it was pleasing, but I could not get a very strong black like Amidol.
Thanks for your encouragement, Ryan! And thank you for not bashing my digital negatives. I was hesitant to mention it at all but I also wanted to be honest about my method. The last thing I want to do is offend fellow APUGers!
Anyway, I am really enjoying working with AZO and I am psyched to try more images with it. I uploaded my first AZO print in the experimental gallery for anyone who would like to take a look. Standard disclaimer: the scan doesn't do the print justice.
Oh, and boy does AZO curl! I ironed my final print and stuck it between the pages of a thick book to cool. Came out flat as a pancake, thank goodness, but I'm not real sure what I'll do with a larger (than 4x6) print! Anybody got a cheap press they want to get rid of?
Oh shoot, I forgot... I do intend to try Amidol in the near future as I'd like to experiment with that water bath technique. However, the cool tones of the Edwald UB are not unpleasant in the least
If you dry the Azo face down on a screen at moderately cool temperatures it dries pretty flat.
You can get the cool blue tone with Amidol too, but you will get better blacks and really a sharper image. I know that sounds weird, but I went thru my old AZO prints and found some that were developed in Edwal UB, and when comparing the same print to one dveloped in Amidol... the blacks are stronger, and there seems to be better separation in the tones (In result, making the print look sharper.) When compairing the prints, the EUB prints seems to have a dusty charcoal look to them. You cannot really notice what im talking about until you can compair it to another one of your images developed in Amidol.
Make sure you squeegy your prints before laying them face down to dry. If they dry in a cool area, they will dry flater.
Best of luck,
I dry Azo face down on screens without using a squeegy - never any problems with curling. I've ruined a few prints in the past by dragging a squeegy across them and see no downside to this method. (Darkroom always at 68 degrees).
Congrats Digidurst and keep at it.
If you're not ready to make the jump to Amidol yet, another developer you can try is Agfa Neutol WA. Several of us, including myself, use it for proofing Azo. Some use it exlusively. It has some waterbath capability, although not as strong in that regard as amidol.
I dry my prints face down on screens. I squeegee them most of the time, but not always. Why not advertise in the APUG classifieds for a dry mount press? It makes the flattening and mounting a whole lot less work. Does a better job at it too.
I intend to steer clear of used presses. This is because I cannot be certain that the previous owner(s) didn't use the press to flatten or mount prints either fixed in ammonium fixers and/or prints which were improperly or incompletely washed. Only a new press guarantees uncontaminated platens. I will only put truly archivally processed prints in it.
That's a point to remember Jim. But platens can be cleaned and I wouldn't be sure that a new press is uncontaminated. Personnaly, I use a couple pieces of virgin matt board between the platens to help.
What's wrong with ammonium fixers?
Since you don't use the bare platen to mount prints residual fixer shouldn't be a factor. Even if you did you could easily clean it with a mild solution of clorox and liquid dish washing detergent.
They don't wash out as easily as pure hypo. Use a two bath sodium thiosulfate fixer regimen for maximum permanence. When processed in Permawash, selenium toned, thoroughly washed and dry mounted to Artcare Alpharag board the prints should last for many centuries.
You should talk with Bill Troop...
Thanks Alex! I appreciate the tip about Agfa Neutol. It will be interesting to see what it'll do. In the meantime, I'm going to order the AZO kit from Photographer's Formulary as it will be a real cheap way to see if Amidol is something I want to pursue.
MAKE SURE it is the Michael Smith formula for AZO. Do not buy the "Weston" or other amidol kit.
Also, the kit is a good idea to try it out...but is not cost effective when you start using it more. It is ALOT cheeper to buy the chemicals and mix it yourself. Very simple too, you just need a gram scale.
Not wanting to quibble Jim, but if there is some test data available, I'd be interested in seeing it. I would also be interested in how this stuff is tested for anyway. All I have to go by is my own simple silver nitrate test which tells me my prints are coming out clean.
Speaking of tests for prints, there are actually two tests that are used. The solution incorporating silver nitrate test for adequate washing while the ST1 test is used to determine complete fixing. The silver nitrate test may show a print that is washed properly but could also be improperly fixed.
Improper fixing will prevent an archival print as effectively as improper washing.
Don't worry, I did make sure to get the right kit. And yes, if I dig the stuff, I will mix it myself. I've got all the goodies to do that because of my experiments with other alt. processes. But hey, thanks for looking out for me!