I don't think there's any question that emulsion is better off out of the can and ready to shoot. It's a trick, though, to flip the switch from emulsion researcher to emulsion user! I certainly struggle with it.

The way I see it, there are at least a couple of reasons to get into handmade materials. The pure love of history is one. Another is being able to fulfill the basic human drive to get really good at something. The history of photography is all about new materials -- rapidly followed by the old materials disappearing. We can take that particular issue into our own hands (unless you're fixated on Kodachrome or other sophisticated color materials.) Make your own b&w negatives and/or paper, and make your own processing chemistry, and you've got your whole life to create your legacy.

The real selling point with a whole lot of people just might be the price point of d.i.y. At 5 bucks, more or less, for a dozen 4x5 plates, "chemical photography is too expensive" just doesn't hold water.

OK, packing up my pom-poms before I start to annoy people .