The Zone system & alternative processes

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by dustym, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. dustym

    dustym Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    Essex, just
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have read quite a bit on other sites about negative density for alternative process. Does anybody have any insight on zone placement to achieve the higher contrast negative in order to only produce negatives for say Van dyke
    rather than employing inter positive or print through methods.
    Where would you place darkest shadow shadows in the zone to achieve high contrast negatives or do you just over develop say 75 % from a normal scene reading

    rgds
    Dusty
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You don't want more density in the shadows, just a lot more difference between shadows and highlights.

    So I expose normally, and develop more (or use a staining developer).
     
  3. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    As Ole said, you don't want more density. You do want more density range. Where conventional silver may require a 1.00 or 1.10 density range, you will want to be up into a density range of 1.65 and higher (depending on process). This is accomplished by developing longer along with proper exposure.

    In fact the common Zone System practice of placing exposures on Zone III or even IV may be counterproductive since films, by and large, have a maximum attainable density range. These elevated exposures intrude into the attainable density range. Furthermore, not all films can attain the required density range.
     
  4. dustym

    dustym Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    Essex, just
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Excellent

    Thanks chaps

    rgds
     
  5. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Use efke 25. tim
     
  6. ann

    ann Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,922
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Shooter:
    35mm
    i used a N+1 as a guide line for processing some negatives .

    In fact i ran a series of test, from N-1 to N+2 and N+1 is working out vetry nicely .
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I'm almost sorry to say that APX100 is possibly the best film I've ever tried for getting those ultra-long density scales for the low contrast processes.

    Fortunately FP4+ is also great - as is EFKE PL25.
     
  8. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Tmax 100 and 400 will both give the density ranges that you need...but be advised that Tmax 100 is useless for processes that are exposed with UV because it effectively shields UV in it's base. Beyond that Efke PL 100 will provide densities of adequate scale and I have heard that Efke 25 will too.

    Ilford FP4 and HP 5 are both acknowledged to provide the scale required. Bergger BPF 200 will not provide the density range required...especially when one is needing expansion of a flat scene.

    The most reliable way to determine the development time as it applies to the density range is by testing with a transmission densitometer...especially when one becomes involved with some of the more costly processes.
     
  9. donbga

    donbga Member

    Messages:
    2,084
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    You may want to start out increasing your film development time by 40 to 60% more than what you use for silver gelatin, VDB requires a contrastier negative than say palladium.

    You may also find that you do need to increase exposure a bit if you do not have adequate or pleasing shadow detail in your prints. Try 1/3 to 1/2 stop more exposure if you think you need better shadow details in your VDB prints.

    Unfortunately people are often advised to make large exposure increases for alt prints which is usually not necessary.

    Each alt process has it's own characteristic printing curve so some testing of one kind or another will be called for.

    Good luck,
     
  10. sanking

    sanking Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    Greenville,
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    As Don suggests, if you do not have adequate exposure to get good shadow detail in your prints you need to expose more.

    However, my experience is that it is more common to over-expose than under-expose when exposing and printing for alternative processes. The fact that you need a much higher contrast negative (requiring longer development time) can increase effective film speed by as much as a full stop. When I plan to develop negatives to a DR of 1.8 or higher I always use a meter reading that is 1.5X the nominal film speed. Although I use an incident meter and take my readings in the shadow I think it might be about equivalent to placing your shadow values on about Zone II. Remember, the additional time in the developer is going to increase shadow density.

    If you place your shadows on Zone III, or Lord forbid, Zone IV, this will have negative consequences for shadow separation, especially with print out processes that are self-masking, such as Ware-Malde POP palladium, Ziatype, VDB, albumen and salted paper.

    Sandy King
     
  11. CPorter

    CPorter Member

    Messages:
    1,662
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Location:
    West KY
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    When you think you have the placement figured out, perhaps considering an additional slight reduction in exposure (say a half stop) along with the increased development. I think this would provide additional expansion of the scale that you (not you Ole, I'm just using your statement as a lead in to mine for the original post) are looking for.


    Chuck
     
  12. CPorter

    CPorter Member

    Messages:
    1,662
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Location:
    West KY
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I know nothing about alt processes, so I risk a "rediculous comment". Just thinking interms of the ZS.

    When you think you have the placement figured out, perhaps considering an additional slight reduction in exposure (say a half stop) along with the increased development. I think this would provide some additional expansion of the scale that you (not you Ole, I'm just using your statement as a lead in to mine for dustym) are looking for.


    Chuck
     
  13. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,373
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Location:
    Humboldt Co.
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Hey there Sandy!

    On top of this, throw in that my exposures are usually 30 sec to 30 minutes long under the Redwoods, so due to resiprocity failure, my film stops acting "normal". I just end up increasing the exposure enough to finally kick up enough exposure in the shadows to register (on FP4) -- and this seems to create enough contrast...without much over-developing.

    I will have to treat my recent negs from Yosemite differently, as those exposures rarely were over 2 seconds long.

    Vaughn
     
  14. sanking

    sanking Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    Greenville,
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Vaughn,

    What film are you using? With exposures that long you might want to consider a film like TMY, if you are not already using it. Compared to traditional films like TRI-X, FP4+, etc. TMY has very low reciprocity failure.

    Doing any carbon printing these days? I am really doing some nice carbon work right now, printing a small portfolio of negatives I made on Gabriola Island (in the Georgia Straight near Vancouver) last summer. The relief I am getting is just fabulous, as good if not better than what I saw on your prints a few years ago. BTW, will you be going to APIS this summer? Would sure like to see some of your new work.

    Sandy King
     
  15. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

    Messages:
    266
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2005
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Sandy, could you enlighten me? What is TMY?
     
  16. juan

    juan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,748
    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Location:
    St. Simons I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    TMY is Kodak Tmax 400 speed - TMX is 100 speed.
    juan
     
  17. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

    Messages:
    1,941
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Location:
    Climax, Michigan
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I'd suggest printing a Stouffer 21-step density scale with the paper and actual VDB chemistry you plan to use pictorially. The printable negative density range will become apparent on that stepwedge test print. If you then adjust the print exposure so that the max d is step #1, the densities needed to realize visualizations of various print values/zones will become apparent and your in-camera exposures and film development can then be adjusted accordingly.
     
  18. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Sandy King's point about self masking is very important and indeed makes the Zone System/BTZS of limited relevance here. Because of self masking it's hard to hqave too much contrast for many alternative processes, at least with anything resembling a normal subject -- often, the film just won't give you that big a contrast range.

    Cheers,

    R
     
  19. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,373
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Location:
    Humboldt Co.
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Oh, I am getting the hang of FP4's reciprocity failure rate and I think I am starting to use it to my advantage. But I do see the advantage of your suggestion. I am getting towards the end of my stash of FP4 I bought when the rumours of Ilford's bankruptsy first hit. We'll see.

    I am doing some carbons, but I just finished up some platinum/palladium prints of Yosemite for a gallery, so that has been where my time has been going recently. But I will be doing some more carbons soon. I am planning an intro carbon workshop in the SF Bay Area for the later part of June, so I will be trying out a few things before giving that workshop. I will use B&S tissue as well as some home-made tissue for the workshop -- give the students the ease of using store-bought tissue , but tempt them with the "real" stuff!

    I doubt I can make the APIS...I'd love to, but the cost of traveling so far for such a short time is just too much. Practicality demands that I put food on the table...those three boys of mine will start chewing on my legs if I don't keep their stomachs filled! I would love to see how well you have used the relief aspect of the process.

    Vaughn
     
  20. sanking

    sanking Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    Greenville,
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Too bad you can not come, but I understand (as best I can!!) the practical aspects of triplets.

    But your carbon work is wonderful, and I hope in the near future you have an opportunity to show it in more places.

    BTW, give me your snail mail address and I will send you a small (5X7) carbon print that has really nice relief.

    Sandy