Contact prints


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Sep 10, 2015
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Planning on using my 100 year old wooden contact printer and negatives from my vintage cameras to make contact prints. I am just getting back into the darkroom after a long time away. Do they still make contact print paper? As I remember enlarging paper is to fast to make contact prints. What is the situation these days?
Hmm, I'm not sure where you got that idea, but you just use regular enlarging paper to make contact prints. There are some emulsions that are "faster" than others, so you'll want to check out the info on each paper before you make a purchase.

There are speed differences between using fiber-based paper and resin-coated papers, too - some people prefer using resin-coated papers for contact prints/sheets because they are typically faster. That's mainly due to the thinner silver gelatin emulsion coating they receive, and a more plastic-y paper base. They develop quicker and take less time in the wash, too, so they can be great for that, but this also means they are generally not as a archival as fiber-based papers.
I never used a 100 year old wooden contact printer. Regular enlarging paper with light from the enlarger is what I always used to make contact prints, and that seemed to work fine.
Both UV-sensitive printing out paper, and contact-speed paper, used to be manufactured and sold. If you use those terms, you will find some articles and discussion forum threads on printing out paper, and contact speed paper, both of which are/were tremendously slower than enlarging paper

Ilford Multigrade as a Printing Out Paper - B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing Forum

Contact Prints From Enlarging Paper | Photography Forums

The above post is 12 years old. A quote: "
Check out for tons on contact printing on Azo.
The big difference between enlarging and a true contact paper is the
composition of the silver halides. Most, and maby all current
enlarging papers are chlorobromide, Azo is a pure silver chloride
paper. In practice this results in a much longer scale of tones. It
also means tailoring your negatives to the paper. I find a good neg
for currently avaliable Azo would be way to dense and contrasty for
for typical muti grade type papers. It is much slower than enlarging
paper, I use a 300w frosted bulb about 18" above the frame anywhere
from a few seconds to several minutes. Forget using your enlarger in
most cases.
Azo is also very responsive to toning, warm sepias to deep cold blues
are quite easy to achive with a bit of experimentation.

Azo/ amidol with water bath development is damn near magical once you
get your negatives worked out. Ansco 130 with glycin is not bad and
Agfa Nutal (sp?) is said to do well. Dektol will turn azo quite blue.

This is a case where extended negative development is more than just
a good idea, it will be necessary. Most Azo afficanitos who use ABC
pyro developer develop by inspection with a green safelight, sans time
and temprature, to insure good neg density.

I like a can of starkist tuna as much as anyone else, but to compare
it to #1 Ahi is pure foolishness. Contact prints from enlarging papers
next to Azo is a reasonable analogy. As for those who claim to see no
difference,a wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse.


And a little bit of history about Azo paper: Advantages and history AZO / silver chloride paper?
Look into the Lodima brand of silver chloride paper here Azo Replacement Paper - Lodima Fine Art

and see their NEW, current web site and sales platform here, at | Fine Art Photography Publisher, Digital Services, Archival Materials, and Photographic Paper whioch is sold at Photographic Paper |

as "
A replacement for Kodak Azo

We are the only suppliers of a true silver-chloride contact printing paper that we had specifically manufactured to our requirements. This paper is similar to the old-style Kodak AZO and Agfa Convira papers that Edward Weston and other master photographers used to make some of the most beautiful prints in the early and mid 20th century.

You are welcome to read more about printing on this paper here.
I found that too since I saw this thread earlier. I've seen Michael and Paula's site but hadn't looked at it in a long time. Interesting, thanks for posting that Derrel.

I do lumen prints using expired paper and haven't found much Azo but it tends to go orangey in exposure to sun (guess that explains why, maybe I should go reread the packages). Most papers go bluish gray except for Velox which usually turns purplish, almost a wine color sometimes.

I've just done contact/proof sheets in the darkroom on whatever Ilford I'd be using for prints, but I don't do large format. You could look up Mat Marrash who does, he's on the FPP podcast sometimes and has his own website I think.
Ahhh, Azo paper!! Of course. Hadn't thought about that stuff in years. Great post, Derrel, and thanks for refreshing my memory! :Hail.sml:
Thanks Derrel. I remember when I was a teen buying contact paper as opposed to enlarging paper.

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