U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Van Dyck and Kallitype

Re: Van Dyck and Kallitype


Well, as they say, when it comes to opinions everybody has at least one. I have made nice prints using both kallitype and VDB, and also have some opinions.

As regards the greater complexity of kallitype over VDB, that is something of a myth. Yes, if you just take the most basic way generally recommended for processing the two processes, VDB might look simpler. However, processing either for longevity includes clearing, fixing, toning, hypo clear, and final wash. When you add all of this up there is very little advantage, if any, to VDB.

Contrast control, almost completely lacking in VDB, gives a big advantage to kallitype, IMO, and it is an advantage even when one uses digital negative. I use digital negatives to print kallitype but still often make slight adjustments in print contrast to get exactly what I want. With VDB you are simply stuck with whatever contrast you get with the digital negative.

I have also found that kallitypes are capable of greater Dmax than VDB. The difference may not be great, but in comparing many prints the advantage always seems to go to kallitype in my experience.

Finally, VDB prints, even after toning in gold, palladium or platinum, tend to have a kind of rust-black or reddish-black tone, whereas toned kallitypes go purple-black or brown-black. I personally much prefer the latter.


Hi All,

I've been trying to research the difference between these two processes and the resulting confusion has proven fatal. Given the complexity of Kallitype over Van Dyck is there a reason other than contrast control why Kallitype is considered to be superior? I'm so confused about this I don't even know whether the previous sentence makes sense! If I have a digital negative tuned to the Van Dyck process, is this (contrast) still a problem? Are there longevity issues etc..?

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David H