Zone I Testing Again

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Renato Tonelli, May 30, 2007.

  1. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    Here I go again. I just finished testing Tri-X 4x5, 120 and 35mm and Fuji Neopan 100 Across for Zone I; Developed in XTOL 1:1

    The test results are as follows:
    35mm EI 200
    120 EI 250
    Fuji EI 100 (full speed - I'm surprised)

    The 4x5 Tri-X were all too dense.

    Has this ever happened to any of you? The tests were all done in the exact same lighting conditions, same meter. The EV readings were always the same. Same developer, at suggested time/temp - the whole nine yards. The lens shutter was tested for accuracy and was actually on the fast side. Obviously I did something wrong, but I'm stumped.

    I'm going to test again, but I'm open to suggestions as to what might have gone wrong.
     
  2. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Renato,

    You should tell us your exact procedure.

    Peter
     
  3. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    Of course: I followed the instructions in Picker's Zone VI Workshop book. Black card in shade. A series of exposures for Zone I, rating the film at 320 640 250 160 80 and one unexposed negative. What is weird is that the other formats had successful results following the same procedure. I must have goofed somehow, i just wish I could figure out how.
     
  4. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    Hi Renato,

    No surprise to me. I tested three films last year and two of them resulted in faster film speeds than the manufacturer's. My lens was tested soon afterwards and was fine.

    Ilford Panf EI 40
    Fuji Acros EI 125
    Tri-X EI 500

    If you are confident that you did the procedure correctly, then you gotta take the results as they are.

    Peter
     
  5. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Renato,

    How are you determining Zone I? Do you have a densitometer, (if so, are you developing in pyro, which will give false readings)? What values are you using for Zone I?

    Are you using a printing method, e.g. "first recognizable step above maximum black"? Are you sure your meter reads well in the predominantly blue light of open shade?

    Also, you may want to test for highlights (Zone VIII density) soon. If you are overdeveloping for "Normal," your film speed will be proportionately higher (1/3 to 1 stop depending).

    There are many things you need to tell us/take into consideration before you can nail down "Zone I".

    I make "Zone Rulers" at different EIs and contact print them to calibrate my film. This gives me the right development for the particular paper I like to use without any densitometer middle step. If you are interested in my method, contact me off-forum and I'll e-mail you the procedure.

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  6. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    Doremus,
    Yes, I'm using a densitometer to check the negatives. Development was/is as per Kodak's recommendations.

    I tested the film again today, and the proper Zone one negative seems to be EI 800! In the mix I also had a portrait negative exposed at 320 and to the naked eye it looks like its overxposed by at least two f/stops.

    If Peter (two posts, above) hadn't mentioned his test results, I would not believe them.

    So, I've gained a lot of EI "speed" which I am very happy about. What am I losing?

    Tomorrow I start testing for Zone VIII/Normal development.
     
  7. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    Renato: Since you are using different cameras, you have to make sure shutter speeds on all lenses are accurate. Be that as it may, if the shutter used for the 4x5 gives you an effective EI of 500, then that's how you rate Tri-X with that lens/shutter. But when you use another lens/shutter, you may not get the same results, i.e. the effective EI may be different if the shutters are not matched.

    Doremus: He is using Xtol, so pyro is not an issue.
     
  8. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    Earl,
    Points well taken. As I slog through these endless tests, I have come across a shutter on my Fuji 300mm that is 1/3 slower. The focal plane shutter on my Rollei 3003 (35mm) is fast, the one on the Rollei SL66 is right on the money. I am making labels to note all these things and I must admit that it's more time consuming than I remember from when I last did it.

    One question though: can testing for Zone VIII be accomplished with a densitometer, similar in procedure to testing for a Zone I? Not having to test print on paper would save several hours.
     
  9. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Yes you can find Zone VIII with the densitometer. Check Adam's book for the exact method. Should be in the negative.
     
  10. Zathras

    Zathras Subscriber

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    From Adams' book;

    "As stated in the text, I have found that a Zone VIII density of about 1.25 to 1.35 is optimum with diffusion enlargers, or 1.15 to 1.25 with condenser enlargers. The corresponding densities for Zone V exposures are 0.65 to 0.75 with diffusion enlargers, or 0.60 to 0.70 for condenser enlargers. You may use these values for the development test, but you should judiciously adjust them if you find that they do not consistently produce the optimum negative scale in your own work."

    From "Ansel Adams, The Negative, Book 2 of The New Ansel Adams Photography Series," Appendix 1 "Film Testing Procedures" Page 242.

    Hope this helps,

    Mike Sullivan
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2007
  11. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    By the way, how are you determining zone I. It should be at least .1 above film base plus fog. In fact, I prefer .15 to .2 above fb+f.
     
  12. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    Peter,I am determining Zone I at .1 above film base plus fog. I am curious as to why you prefer .15 to .2
    My Zone VIII is 1.67 (minus 0.11 from the unexposed negative), so I need to adjust development. (Mike thanks for the Adams ref.; it was right under my nose and didn't realize it).
    Amazing how testing materials takes on a life all of its own; I hadn't done it in a very long time and I admit that I'm getting wrapped up, anal and obsessive about it. I'd like to think that it's worth the time and effort.
     
  13. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    With a little more exposure than the .1 above fb+f you get better separation of tones in the lower zones. Once you get your development time nailed down, go take a picture of a full-ranged scene, one with significant shadows. Expose one sheet as per your tests. Now expose a second sheet twice as much. (I.e. cut the film speed in half, double the exposure time, open up a stop or whatever.) Develop both exactly the same. Now make prints. Which tonal rendition do you like better? I usually like the one with more exposure better, but it's a matter of taste.
     
  14. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    Peter, You're up too late. It's bedtime! Seriously though, I do what you just described with my 35mm Tri-X; so now you have me thinking of the possibilities...