Barnbaum - Zone IV Shadows

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ParkerSmithPhoto, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    I know Barnbaum advocates placing shadows on Zone IV, and also cutting the ASA in half for standard developers. So, he is essentially saying, "for an ASA 400 film, set your meter on ASA 100, and place the shadows on Zone III."

    From there, you would want to develop a Normal neg so that you maintain the same optical density spread between Zones III and VIII, which is 0.91, only now your Zone III is around .54, Zone VIII is around 1.45, giving you tons of shadow detail.

    I am testing several films (TX400, HP5, and TMY, FP4) with XTOL, and I was wondering if this technique would lead to blocked highlights. Barnbaum says most modern films don't shoulder off, but I figured I'd ask the experts.
     
  2. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    TMY won't shoulder (at least not if developed in Pyrocat-HD).

    I guess I should state that I have never had that combination blow the highlights out.

    Of course your tests will answer your question for you.
    Best,
     
  3. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    I've not found a shoulder in normal use of TMY or the -2 version in T-Max RS. I have at least one 4x5 neg where I forgot to stop down resulting in three stops overexposure from what I intended and I had metered at 200 yet that negative turned out to be my favorite of that subject that day.

    This sort of generous exposure WILL increase grain though. This doesn't matter to me with TMY in 4x5 and matters little with most other films and medium format but it starts to matter in 35mm or if you make large prints.
     
  4. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Tri-X 400 will shoulder off. Bruce uses Tri-X P 320 which will not shoulder.
    Mark
     
  5. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I rate my tri-x at 1600 and place the shadows on VI...
    A speed index or 'rating' is applicable only to the person using it. It is non-transferable to anyone else, unless you transfer the camera, meter, shutter, lens, meter, metering technique etc...
     
  6. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Haaaa. I love a good inside joke
     
  7. Stephen Benskin

    Stephen Benskin Member

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    A major limiting factor with exposure is the degree of enlargement. More so than the film shoulder. You don't have as much flexibility with the smaller formats.
     
  8. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    Yes------underrating a film without taking provisions for controlling the highlight density on the negative with development can definitely lead to blocked highlights. The fact remains, regardless of a pronounced shoulder or not, you still have to develop the density range of the negative to fit within the the exposure scale of the paper.


    An opinion on the clip----AA must still be scratching his head in the grave to know that he was doing it all wrong all those years by not placing all shadows on Zone IV :confused:, if he had only known, what a great photographer and printer he would have become.
     
  9. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

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    If he is using the long toed 320 TRi-x more exposure will shift the shadows to a steeper part of the curve for more contrast. It won't shoulder off in the normal scene contrast range. Just set the development time to maintain the negative contrast to match your paper. But I'm not sure this is needed for the other normal toed films. Tmax even has a shorter toe and should have good shadow contrast without added exposure. This may be a special case based on the film he is using.
     
  10. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Exactly, and I agree with him. You just don't get good shadow detail unless you do this (well, at least I don't). This is why I've gone back to HP5+ and development by inspection. While TMY will hold detail to well > density 2.00, you can still end up with a negative that's unprintable through excessive contrast range. I've found that with TMY I need a slow, soft working developer like Harvey's.
     
  11. Stephen Benskin

    Stephen Benskin Member

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    I've attached two Quality/ Exposure Curves. This is the text that relates to Exposure Quality Curve 1:

    "The results are summarized in Fig. 1. The solid curve shows that the quality of the contact prints increases rapidly at first as the camera exposure increases and then reaches a plateau, where it remains constant over a long range of camera exposures. Eventually, the quality decreases. The range of camera exposures over which the print quality remains nearly equal to the maximum quality is defined as the camera-exposure latitude. Each of the intervals marked along the camera-exposure axis is one camera stop. In the case of the solid curve, where the contact prints were made from 4- X 5-in. negatives of a studio portrait scene, using the optimum grade of paper for printing each negative, the camera-exposure latitude was 32 times, or five camera stops. The camera exposure marked a corresponds to a safety factor of 1. The camera exposures marked b and c correspond to safety factors of 2.5 and 4, respectively. There was, obviously, no loss in print quality at either of these two levels of exposure when the prints were made by contact.

    In the next part of the test, represented by the dashed line in Fig. 1, the same film, subject, and lens were used as before but the size of the negatives was much smaller as a result of increasing the camera-to-subject distance until the size was typical of the negatives obtained in a 35mm camera. These negatives were enlarged 10 diameters, using the optimum grades of paper, and the enlargements were judged for quality. As shown by the dashed curve, the heavily exposed negatives gave enlargements of lower quality. This loss in quality was due to a very noticeable increase in graininess with increase in negative exposure. At the exposure corresponding to a safety factor of 2.5, the quality was slightly below the maximum quality. The camera-exposure latitude was about 3 times, or approximately one and two-thirds camera stops."
     

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  12. DarkMagic

    DarkMagic Member

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    When i last met B B he told me that he theese days was using: Kodak Tech Pan, Fujii Acros, Ilford Delta and FP4. He admitted using Tri-X but addet:

    - It isnt the same film as it used to be.
     

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  13. Harrison Braughman

    Harrison Braughman Member

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    "...I know Barnbaum advocates placing shadows on Zone IV, and also cutting the ASA in half for standard developers. So, he is essentially saying, "for an ASA 400 film, set your meter on ASA 100, and place the shadows on Zone III...." by ParkerSmith

    Bruce, a B&W master printer and expert, is saying to cut your film by 50% (ISO 400 to ISO 200) and place important shadow detail on Zone IV. (If you have seen the luminous quality of Bruce's prints, you would understand why he advocates placing important shadow detail on ZIV.)

    Ansel stated "... placing shadow detail on Zone IV or higher. (See page 61, paragraph 3, line 6 of the Negative.), will yield a fuller and more luminous detail...." Once you have placed the shadow detail on your desired Zone, you use developing to control your highlights.

    You have to do development testing (your film, camera and chemistry) to determine where full detail will be present in the highlights (Zone VII,VIII, or IX) and are printable on your paper of choice.
     
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  15. jscott

    jscott Member

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    After saying "put shadow detail on Zone IV", in the next breath he says "and then adjust for it in the darkroom".
    He also speaks out against testing your materials.

    It works for Bruce, but I would never try it because I lack his knowledge and experience.

    It's all a very individual, idiosyncratic, and somewhat iconoclastic masterly approach.

    In the week I spent with him, he proudly changed just about every rule that I had ever heard regarding photography. Masters can do that. But if you are less than a master, don't try it.
     
  16. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Subscriber

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    I have only been going this in earnest since 2004. That said I have learned that rating at half box speed and placing 'important' shadow detail on zone IV gives me the look I am after. As stated, this method requires film development testing and subsequent printing to determine where your highlights need to be.

    In short - fully exposed and gently developed negatives make lovely prints and offer lots of choices in the darkroom when printing with multigrade papers.
     
  17. Stephen Benskin

    Stephen Benskin Member

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    If you break it down, Barnbaum isn't doing anything at all out of the ordinary. According to jscott, he's not testing, so he has to be using the film's ISO as a starting point and then setting the EI at 1/2 the ISO speed. How many people already do this whether automatically or through Zone System testing? I've frequently make the point that ZS testing has different testing parameters than the ISO speed testing which will result in EIs that are consistently 1/2 to 1 stop lower than the ISO speed (without taking equipment into account).

    Next he opens up an extra stop when shooting which is no different than rating the film a stop lower. So, compared to ZS testers, he's only over-exposing one stop. Even considering he's over-exposing the film two stops from the ISO speed, it's no big deal with 4x5 film.

    My problem is how he explains it can potentially confuse people. While not a stickler for ZS etiquette, if the intention is to print a tone on Zone III, then you really aren't exposing it on Zone IV, you're exposing it on Zone III on a film that has its EI set differently. Another point I keep trying to make is there isn't a fixed correlation between Zones and negative densities. Over-exposing the film simply moves everything toward the right on the film curve.

    Barnbaum's approach is not as radical as it might at first appear.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2011
  18. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    If we are to establish a negative density range by which to develop the negative to, there must be. And so, in the ZS "proper", there is. The usage of the term "proper" is in reference to ZS thinking as it is taught in The Negative, for what that may be worth to anyone. I understand that you may not believe it to be so proper, but I am not one who will generally argue any minor points of theory with what I consider to be obvious success. :smile:

    We can only specifically control two points on the curve with each development of the negative. Those two points on the curve require a fixed relationship between a zone and its negative density------the speed point, Zone I, with the ISO rating that yields a density of between .09 and .11 and the Zone VIII negative density calibration point for the "normal" development time. Back in the early 80's when The Negative was written and given the materials at the time, AA decided, quote: "I have found that 1.3 above fb+f is a useful standard for Value VIII, for diffusion type enlargers." He then adds a clarification later by saying, "I have used Value VIII as a standard for high-value density specifically because of its importance as the lightest area in a full-scale image that retains some texture." Now, I don't presume to think that any quotes provided will pursuade anyone, I just add them for clarity of my point.

    Those two points on the curve establish the negative density range, as described in the ZS, between Zone I (0.1) and Zone VIII (1.3) (range = 1.2) for any given negative that is to be developed under one of the various development times, generally from N+2 down to N-2 or -3, that has been established through "proper" testing.

    The range should not be considered as etched in stone, and in ZS testing the the main questionable variable is the upper density limit. Adams recognized then that, depending on the trend of the exposure scale for the "so called normal papers", with normal implying grade 2, "this optimum range must be subject to continual review and revision as required." The most notable example that I have come across is with Alan Ross, he's supposed to be toying with the idea of calibrating his "normal" development time off a Zone IX negative density of 1.45, extending the density range to 1.35. His reasoning being that with Zone VIII calibration, a -2 development time may not produce densities that will print as paper base white, presumably with today's papers.
     
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  19. CPorter

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    Barnbaum's ability as a photographer and printer can't be denied.

    However to try and re-define the ZS based off his own methodology, I think, is wrong. No wander the ZS over the years has been thought to be a madening thing to learn. After setting in that class and having never gone to the original source to learn the ZS, then, to subsequently go to that source, a person would be pulling their hair out.

    I agree, what a good way to confuse someone if they thought they were in that class to learn the ZS. Perhaps BB stated, in the beginning, IDK, that his method departs drastically from how AA taught the ZS. That is perfectly fine.

    However, if that is not the case, to tell a class that it is "wrong" to place a shadow on Zone III for textural purposes is a drastic departure, and hugely arrogant---- and to suggest that only if you want to develop a "tone" on Zone III is it ok to then make a Zone III placement, again, a drastic departure, and hugely arrogant, IMO. All of that is absolute nonsense---as ZS teaching points.

    When I read my words here, it sounds angry, but it's not meant to sound that way.
     
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  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    What might have one worked traditonally as a "thick neg" technique for Tri-X, might be horrible advice for films with different curve characteristics. And a lot depends on how you print. Modern
    VC papers will soemetimes let you have your cake and eat it too. A few people respond to Barnbaum's doctrine well, but I personally find it wacko. The actual shape of the bottom of the
    curve is way more important than the alleged Zone per se. With straight-line films I sometimes base
    the shadow reading way down on "Zone I" or even "0", but with something like HP5 it would be more
    like Zone III. Just way too many variable to make a religion out of any of this. I'm very comfortable
    precisely working with a variety of films, but it all takes testing and actual printing.
     
  21. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I have not done a formal test but, based on my 25 year experience with the film, I suspect that enlarged T-max 35mm film does NOT behave that way, and has more of a plateau in the exposure vs quality curve. But this could likely be a muti-page discussion in itself.
     
  22. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Yes this can all be madening if you don't do the extensive testing required to get your control on that thin line. To be able to move a zone V to a zone VI takes knowing exactly what your materials n techniques are doing. You can't get that control by just reading about it, it's a hands on learn as you go system... and a system is what it is. It comprises everything from analysing the scene, to exposure, to development, expansion n compression compensations for placed high values, n printing technique n materials.

    I learned using the little yellow bible, Minor White's Zone system, back in the early 70s adn did strugle to finally understand it.

    To this day I am still learning n testing as materials change so rapidly, but I feel more confident in my techniques n pretty happy with my end results. I feel as if I do have control over my shots.

    .
     
  23. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I'd hardly call Barnbaum a master. Just stubborn. He gets good personal results using methods tailored for himself, but which might otherwise be counterproductive in a wider context. I can think
    of a few other photographers who get beautiful final results based upon honing individual techniques,
    but who can be fish out of water if one of the key variables happens to change. I have nothing against that approach per se, but like I said, once someone tries to make a religion out of it, well, go figure. I'm all for practical introductory tools, but in the long run there is no silver bullet, Zone
    System or otherwise. But guys like Barnbaum who just preempt the importance of understanding sensitometry and tell you to just go do it are actually putting a straightjacket on fine-tuning the
    process.
     
  24. Stephen Benskin

    Stephen Benskin Member

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    Hey Chuck,

    I apologize if my post wasn't clear, but my point had nothing to do with the negative density range. However since you brought it up, and in the meantime while I put together my clarification, not too long ago you were doing some paper testing. I'm curious. Were you ever able to reconcile the difference between ZS negative density range and paper LERs?
     
  25. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    I agree strongly with Drew here.

    I'd add Barnbaum's book is at best misleading, at worst incorrect when it comes to the zone system with modern films, particularly on the subject of long subject brightness ranges. Many people's theories will work when you have a "normal" luminance range in the scene, because modern films have longer straight line regions than older films (not as long as Barnbaum thinks though).

    Also, someone else earlier in this thread indicated the negative must ultimately be developed to fit the paper range. Although that might work for some people, I don't agree with this approach and in my opinion it is a misinterpretation of what is really behind the zone system as a method of control.
     
  26. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I thought your post was clear, I just provided comment on a point that I disagreed with, but perhaps it strayed too far from the OP.