35mm zone system development

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by lft, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. lft

    lft Member

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    So I have been putting my shadows and subjects into zones and have been wondering how would i develop a 36 exposure roll of film using the zone system? I am using HC 110 dilution b with hp5+.
     
  2. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    You really can't. The best you can do is shoot for an average that will get you acceptable negatives. Zone system controls are based on individual exposure and development conditions. How are you gonna do that with a roll of 36 exposures, all given different exposures?
     
  3. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    The best you can hope for with 35mm is to do the speed testing for you and your equipment and film/developer of choice and to then settle for an average so that most of your negatives print with the minimum of fuss. N+ or N- development is only an option if you are exposing the whole roll under the same conditions. You can however use a more dilute form of HC-110 with reduced agitation to hold more highlight details and then use paper grades to finally control the end result. Dilution B (1:31), can be a little too "hot" for high contrast subjects but dilution H (1:63), with just enough agitation can make for more usable negatives per roll. It also has the added advantage of making your developer go twice as far.

    John.
     
  4. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    Another development method that may help would be to use a compensating developer like Prescysol or Pyrocat HD or one of its successors. All are available from Photographer's Formulary
     
  5. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    You can shoot short rolls and/or multiple bodies, as long as you have tested to make sure the shutters are all in calibration with each other, or established a working EI using each body/lens.

    Barring that, you can just find your working EIs, normal development, and pluses and minuses, place your shadows, and take notes for what to do in development as if you had the luxury of being able to do it for each shot. Then, when you are looking over your notes for each shot on the roll, you can figure out what sort of development would be the best compromise for all the shots on the roll, or pick certain shots to favor when you go to develop.

    In the basic zone system manual, which is one short chapter of the Ansel Adams book "The Negative" plus some info in the appendix, I believe he wrote that he usually developed a roll of film shot in mixed contrast to N-1, as it usually provides workable negs even if the contraction was not needed on some shots. It is easier to deal with a neg that is well exposed, yet still a grade or two too flat than it is to deal with a neg that is a grade or two too contrasty. This also reduces the appearance of grain, which is more important in smaller formats. Some people using roll film prefer to selenium tone to get to their desired expansion, as it does not increase grain.

    Personally, with 35mm, when using a spot meter (not usually, but I do do it when I have the time), I use the best compromise for the whole roll. If there are going to be extremely different development instructions for the first vs. the last half of the roll, I will rewind one roll but leave the leader sticking out, mark how many shots have been exposed, and load a new roll. Then I can either just eat my losses and develop the partial roll, or reload it, stop all the way down, pick the top shutter speed, cover the lens, shoot through the number of already-exposed frames, insert a few frames afterward for safety, then finish the roll. Another option is to reload the film into the camera in the darkroom, shoot through the number of exposed frames, shoot a few safety frames, then open the camera (in complete darkness, of course), cut of the exposed film, and develop it. You are left with a partial roll that you can shoot later.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2009
  6. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    Using ZS with 36 exposure rolls you are going to waste a lot and get frustrated. This topic was also discussed here: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum48/59898-notes-your-exposes.html.
    As 2F/2F said
    .
    I think I'm better off loading my own cassettes from bulk rolls and use two bodies just in case I run into light changing situations where I need to shoot N and N-1.
     
  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I think you will find that if you print with multigrade paper you will be able to find a single acceptable development time for most subjects.

    35mm cameras are cheap these days, so other alternatives would be 12 exposure rolls and multiple bodies. I have used the Rollei 3000 system with multiple backs since 1985 but find that a properly chosen single development time usually is fine.
     
  8. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    You can do the testing to determine the optimum film speed and processing, and you can use Zone System principles to determine the exposure for each frame. That's all basically good self-discipline. The only thing you can't do is develop each frame individually.

    That's why they make variable contrast paper.
     
  9. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Yeah, Zone System is not possible with 35mm per individual frame. Only wholesale development for the whole roll. I make a lot of adjustments per frame trying to get it close on camera, process and then I will be printing per TZS to see what beauty I can coax from the negs.
     
  10. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    With tricky lighting you can bracket and use VC paper, as noted above I sometimes load cassetts with 9 to 12 frames. There are several books on the market for 35mm and the zone system.
     
  11. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Well... if you had a Rollei SL2000/3000 camera and three backs for it, you could do the same thing the Hasselblad shooters do: use different backs for expanding or contracting contrast ranges. :smile:
     
  12. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I disagree (partially) with the other folks here. I try to expose for the shadows, but I don't get too worried about the exact development. If it is an overcast, low contrast day, I'll develop it 10 or 20% more. If the roll is generally contrasty, I'll develop it 10 or 20% less. It isn't like using sheet film, but with VC paper, it usually works out. The trick is to use the entire roll in a session. If you aren't done with the roll, develop it anyway. Is it perfect? No. Does it work better than just shooting and hoping for the best? Yes.
     
  13. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Forget Zone System with 35mm. Give your film generous exposue (use 1/2 box speed) then soup in D23. Adjust zones with paper contrast and development controls. Your digestion, BP, and household pets will appreciate your taking the easy way out.
     
  14. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    Rating the film at half the box speed is a good idea as it will beef up the densities in the shadow areas for the entire roll. But, I would then reduce the development time to N-1 (around 20 - 30% less time) to control the densities at the high end at around Zone VII / VIII. This will help moderate the negative contrast for the high contrast frames and the lower contrast frames can be improved with the flexibility of VC printing. Not really a true ZS application, but the basic concept of "exposing for the shadows and developing for the highlights" is well considered with this approach.
     
  15. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    This site is one I find particularly helpful. The section called UNZONE gives a lot of insight with regard to understanding a simplification of the Zone System as applied to roll films. Hope it is of some use.

    http://www.barrythornton.com/
     
  16. Carter john

    Carter john Member

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    Hi, John, thanks for that site. It is under Technique Guide and is The Nozone System.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2009
  17. joko

    joko Member

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    You can always shoot in strips. If you have a changing bag on hand, just peel off a segment about four inches, cock the shutter, put the film in the chamber and close the door. You'd need some light tight storage to carry the film around in; but, I bet you could improvise something simple with an old film can, for example. You'd lose a good bit of film over time because of the leader/trailer ends, but you'd get your exposure done the way you wanted. I imagine, though, over time your waste ratio would be pretty high; but then there's no reason why each one of those frames couldn't be developed individually. Good luck! J.