I don't see the extreme cost in this process. You can make an 8x10 Palladium print with a drop of Na2 on a paper like Platine for about $4. If you are willing to buy in large quantities and keep track of market prices, you can make the process even more affordable.
As for the interest in pt/pd printing waning, the opposite is true. I've been teaching pt/pd for 11+ years and every year have had more students than the year before. Two of my workshops were overbooked this year and I have more offers for teaching than I can make time for. IMO the process is easy, fun, economical and most importantly beautiful. What's not to like? :)
Also, you can tone the vandykes with palladium or platinum, which replaces the silver metal, and have for all practical purposes a print that is just as permanent as a pt/pd print made in the traditional way for a fraction of the cost.
One of the disadvantages of vandyke, at least with the green AFC, is that you have no contrast control. Not a problem if you make digital negatives, but can be a big problem with in-camera negatives where the contrast tends to range widely.
You might also consider true kallitype, which uses ferric oxalate as the light sensitive iron, like palladium and platinum. This process offers extensive tonal control with the dichromate contrast control method, which is also used by some with regular pt./pd. printing. I have an article on this at www. unblinkingeye. com, and also at the alternative photography site. http://www.alternativephotography.co...kallitype.html
With all these processes costs vary widely depending on whether you print with a kit or buy the metal salts in large quantity.
Originally Posted by Robert Hall
I use to silver gelatin printing, 16x20. The paper was about $2.20 a sheet, and I would burn thru a pack of ten to get a couple good prints (if I was lucky). The price has doubled since then.
Originally Posted by waynecrider
So, for the price of a 16x20 silver gelatin print, one can make an 8x10 palladium/platinum print. So unless one gets trapped into the "bigger is better" mind-set, I consider the prices of the two processes to be about the same.
And one can always use 4x5 to learn the process!
It is my philosophy that the materials are always the cheapest part of making a print :)
Originally Posted by sanking
Excellent reminder Sandy, thank you.
What is the price of gold in these days?
And, I had very good experiences with getting precious metal salts from precious metal separating companies (or do you call them metal refineries?). Here you pay the actual market price for the metal, plus some manufacture fee for the making of the salt.
Nice set of plots on price of Palladium -- at http://palladiumprice.org/palladium-price-history.html
Palladium (and Platinum) hit a high last spring due to closure of several mines.
Unfortunately the decrease in price is also shuttering several mines in South Africa starting this December.
with respect to B&S prices - they buy both Pd and Pt in coin form, and dissolve this in acid to start the process of making the necessary salts (per Discussions with Melody last spring). They do buy their coins on the spot market. They undoubtedly have to use the remaining coins in the safe and recover their costs prior to making new purchases. So buy up if you wish to see lower prices in the future ;-). Note that when the price rose, they kept the price low until they had to buy new coins.
I'd like to see Plat/Pall come down as well in Fact I've found small ways to reduce my use to curb the cost. With respect to B&S these guys are "the BOMB" so I pretty much stick to ordering from them. If I ever have a problem they spend whatever time I need to get it solved. Even replacing things that may or may not be their problem. Having them in my corner is worth the cost.
Originally Posted by Don12x20