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Thread: wet plate: format vs. costs pre image

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    wet plate: format vs. costs pre image

    Greeting everyone!

    My first post after some weeks of lurking..

    I am starting in wet plate and was looking if somebody has calculated costs per image (e.g. for collodion let's say) for various sizes (contact albumen prints).

    My dilemma isn't if I should do it or not, my father and I already started on a 11x14 camera, got a lens and darkroom eq. and I'm close to start experimenting with it.
    My dilemma is that we will also build a much bigger camera (20x24? 24x30? 32x40?) but I can't seem to find the costs involved once I perfect the process and "find myself" in the less expensive 11x14.

    I ask this because I will not do it commercially but for myself. I'm in my 40's and that's what I want to do when I retire. If I ever sell something that'd be good but that not the main idea. I also plan to mix all (most) of the chemistry myself, I'm not after the quick results, I'm after the craft and would like to keep costs low. (I know it's never going to be "low" but you know what I mean)

    I also registered on but I haven't got the confirmation yet.

    Has anyone calculated costs/image for any ballpark figure of the top of your head?

    Hope to have something in 11x14 for sharing soon!


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Equally far from everything

    Re: wet plate: format vs. costs pre image

    The cheapest option for you would be to learn on 4x5 to get the technique down. Plates larger than 8x10 get complicated and expensive because of their size and the amount of chemicals needed to coat the plate. I shoot plates mostly in the 4x5-8x10 range and have not priced out how much I am spending per shot. Ignorance is bliss.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Re: wet plate: format vs. costs pre image

    I am not an expert and have been shooting wet plate for about a year. I have shot 6x6 on a Mamiya C3, 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10. As the plate size increases the technical difficulties grow exponentially. Sensitizing an 8x10 plate requires more hadrware and chemicals than a 4x5. Mammoth plates require chemistry in the gallons not mililiters but if you have gotten this far I don't think this is news to you. In one of his videos Ian Ruthers says that each of his plates cost him serveral hundred dollars, I don't know if that is true or not but just in aluminum you would have to drop a pretty penny.

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