Beginning Alt Process-PD or Zia?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Alex Hawley, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Scanning through the various pt/pd processes, seems like the Ziatype or palladium (pd) print is a good place to start.

    The downside I see with the Zia is needing to control relative humidity in the paper/processing room. I have no idea what the typical relative humidity in my home is, but its well below the 65% recommended for the ziatype. I have no desire at this point to spend money on humidity control equipment. How big a deal is the humidity control?

    The upside of Zia is it seems relatively inexpensive compared to Pd. Pd seems like more of a wet process, but that's no big deal to me. The downside I see with Pd is its relatively high cost.

    Anyone have any insights or experience to share on this?
     
  2. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Then there's also the Kallitype process. So many choices!
     
  3. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Alex, humidity is very important for Zias. Like you I live in a place with very low relative humidity and I found it very difficult to make Zias. OTOH, you can always do what Christian does and "develop" the Zia with potassium oxalate if you dont get enough density in the print.

    My advice would be that you choose a method that is fairly reliable and consistent so that you can trouble shoot your work. If expense is a great concern, I would choose Kallitype or Satista toned in Pd before I start learning with Zias.
     
  4. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I opted for a Vandyke Brown kit from PF for my first venture. I'm glad I picked something inexpensive to start because there seems to be a good bit to learn about paper choices and coating the paper. I've worked through the initial excitement phase into the wholly confused stage - I hope to reach some level of consistency in another week or so.

    I'd recommend something like I did to get your feet wet - then move on to the more expensive processes.
    juan
     
  5. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Van Dykes, or cyanotypes would probably be the least expensive to start out with. You really don't want to spend the big bucks until you have a feeling for the type of work, frustration, experimentation and self education that alt processes require.

    Do all your learning on the inexpensive processes.
     
  6. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I've started with Zia's and wish that I'd started with DOP instead. Humidity is a big deal with zia's and hard to control here. Consistency is difficult to say the least. There seems to be more folks using the traditional DOP too, which helps when you'll have questions. The POP aspect of Zia's is nice though. I plan to go down the DOP route soon.
     
  7. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

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    +1
     
  8. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Living in Utah, humidity can be 10% in the winter. To solve the problem I bought a cheap meter to measure humidity and a humidifier. I also squirt the floor with water that adds substantial humidity to the floor.

    The reason I liked doing the Ziatypes was that less contrasty negatives were printable while I created some more specifically for the platinum process.
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The difficulty in making all of these is what has made them an 'art' form. Silver halide was so much easier to reproduce over a variety of conditions (but still with problems) it became less of a chore to make good prints and it made it less of an 'art' form.

    Silver halide still offers a wider range of speed, contrast, and dmax than the other processes, but often not the subtle beauty of the image that they can produce.

    PE
     
  10. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    Alex, as Ive mentioned in the chatroom. from what Ive heard (read) I think that given your experience with Azo that palladium/platinum will require similar negatives etc. You will likely find it pretty easy (relatively) to transfer between the two. the more experienced people will likely be able to give better suggestions. But like has been mentioned, Ive steered away from zias because of the amount of humidity control needed. as my "working" environment is hardly that controllable.
     
  11. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I made ziatypes last winter (when I was learning) and used a room humidifier to humidify each sheet of paper as my area was in the 30-40% humidity range during the winter. At the moment, my thermometer/humidity device says 80.6 deg F and 24 % humidity. Mind you, the temp will go down after I turn off the heat for a while after my husband leaves for the evening.

    However, I am also planning to do DOP Pd also. I just haven't mixed the chems yet.
     
  12. nze

    nze Member

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    Hello Alex,

    I started with Ziatype and find it is a great process. I like because it give real good black without any double coating. But when I start printing some portfolio for other photographer, I switch to traditional. WHy??? Because it was harder to print 20 similar print with zia than with traditionnal. Another point is that I now use a vacuum printer, which need a little more care for printing ziatype.

    If you ever want to start at low cost , I think you should start with Kallitype . I do some platinum and palladium toned kallitype at the moment , as described by Sandy on unblinkingeye and it is a great pleasure to work with this process.

    Platinunm palladium are truely easy to do , there are so few step that when you start printing palladium it is hard to work with another because there is no easier process than this one, development and clearing that' all .
     
  13. nze

    nze Member

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    Diane I use the same palladium for zia and DOp. I just change of ferric salt.
    What ever the process I always mix lithium palladium and just change the ferris calt from double to single.
     
  14. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Thanks everyone. Much good info. Looks like Zia is out for me because of the humidity control. Looking forward to getting started here in the new year. First, there's that UV box to build. Many thanks again.
     
  15. sanking

    sanking Member

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    My advice would be to start with either straight palladium or palladium toned kallitype. In fact, since the working procedures and contrast contrals are virtually identical for both processes, with one set of chemicals you can do both. Both are DOP processes that give images of virtually the same color and tonal range. And whichever you choose to start with, transition to the other is a very easy step.

    Palladium toned kallitype is without question the most economical, and the skills you learn with it are about 95% applicable to straight palladium, and to Pt./Pd. also. However, straight palladium DOP with dichromate contrast control is not terribly expensive either.

    Sandy



     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2005