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  1. #1
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Beginning Alt Process-PD or Zia?

    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?
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  2. #2
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Then there's also the Kallitype process. So many choices!
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  3. #3

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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. #4
    juan's Avatar
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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. #5
    Joe Lipka's Avatar
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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.
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  6. #6

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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. #7
    Michael Slade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lipka
    Do all your learning on the inexpensive processes.
    +1
    Michael Slade

  8. #8
    Robert Hall's Avatar
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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.
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    Technology is not a panacea. It alone will not move your art forward. Only through developing your own aesthetic - free from the tools that create it - can you find new dimension to your work.

  9. #9
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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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. #10
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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.

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