</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (edbuffaloe @ Jan 31 2003, 11:07 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>I think it is always useful to have hard data rather than someone's subjective impression. I love the look of platinum/palladium, and there are certain subjects for which it is the perfect medium. The same is true for Azo.
In regard to the D-max of platinum, there was a recent post on the Bostick & Sullivan forum regarding Mars All-Purpose Translucent Vellum paper. It is said to have excellent wet strength and to give significantly better blacks than other papers. There was speculation that the deep blacks are due to its translucent nature, which allows light to penetrate into the depths of the paper.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
I was the one who started the Mars Vellum discussion on the B&S board. After many years of printing platinum I found a paper that happens to produce a startling black. Doesn't mean it's better or worse than the many other papers I use, just different. What's even more exciting about this paper for me are it's ultra-smooth tones, excellent resolution of fine details, and fantastic tonal separation. I don't own a densitometer, so I can't tell you what the reflection density is, but my guess is that it approaches or surpasses the DMax of matt silver gelatin papers. My opinion is that this super deep black comes from a combination of factors: the transluscency of the material, the ultra smooth surface, and the fact that the sensitizer seems to sit way up on top of the paper rather than being absorbed deeper into the fibers that typically happens with more "normal" papers used for platinum.
I agree in general with Jorge that the sensitometric comparison of AZO and platinum is little more than interesting trivia. What is more important to me is how the medium conveys the image and intent of the photographer. I've done lots of printing on AZO with Amidol and Ansco 130 (I still have a few boxes of 14x17 doubleweight AZO in my darkroom). I've also done and continue to do a lot of printing with Centennial POP. My main medium for the last 10+ years has been platinum/palladium. In the last couple of years I've also been adding layers of gum bichromate over platinum for the unique look that those combined processes provide. Through all this printing I have purposely avoided the use of a densitometer because, *for me* that type of analysis is simply a distraction to my main intent which is making really beautiful prints. All of these materials are capable of wonderful results when coupled with the right image and a well-made negative. My preference is for very warm tones and lots of color, so I am much more attracted to platinum, gum over platinum and POP than AZO. Nothing makes me yawn faster than a neutral gray print.
Regarding the question of increasing the surface reflectivity of a platinum print. Strand did it and it is still common practice. I've used wax and acrylic gloss medium to achieve this effect. I've also read of people using Future Floor polish for the same purpose(! For some papers these treatments make a dramatic change in the appearance of the blacks. As far as getting the sensitizer to stick to a glossier surface, that is a much more difficult problem.
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