ZS or BTZS ??? Any other book out there?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by GreyWolf, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Member

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    I keeping reading about how BTZS is superior to the Zone System and wish to learn more. I have Phil Davis's BTZS book (older version) but still have not made the connection in my brain about the process.

    I guess that is because he starts out with a Zone System explanation instead of just moving into his system. As many folks have stated...the book seems somewhat complicated and has much testing before you graduate to understanding the concepts.

    As per another's view on a different forum ....

    As a long time user of the ZS I could kick myself for dismissing the BTZS as "too" complicated and too "testy", when in fact the tests done under the BTZS are far simpler and yield far more info than the traditional ZS.

    I once again am curious.

    Does anybody know of another book that I might purchase that would approach explaining BTZS instead of the Phil Davis book?

    Kind Regards,
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    There is not another book explaning Phil's approach, but I will give it to you in a nut shell. Print a step wedge on the paper of your choice, if you are using VC or different grades paper, then print the step wedge in all of the grades.

    Measure the reflection density range for each paper and/or paper grade and write it down.

    Print a step wedge on to 5 different pieces of film. Develop the 5 pieces at different times and plot the curves. Choose the exposure index and developing times that are the same as the exposure scale of your paper.

    You are done.

    Read the book on the enlarger settings fpr exposing the paper and neg.

    If you send me the numbers I will plot them for you and send you back the curves and analysis... :smile:
     
  3. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

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    GreyWolf,
    You might want to check out The View Camera Store as they have a version called "BTZS LIGHT", a cd that explains the system in a condensed format.
    Wm Blunt
     
  4. mark

    mark Member

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    I read the book and watched the video.

    GreyWolf-- I can loan you the video. It helped me understand a lot better. Piss poor quality production but usable.

    I am confused by the metering process. It seems that there is never a situation where you have less than an SBR of 5. I must have missed something. I wish there was another explanation done by someone besides phil. He can't write for the common person.
     
  5. argentic

    argentic Subscriber

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    Take a look too at Way beyond Monochrome http://www.darkroomagic.com/bookInfo/bookInfo_new.htm. Not exactly the BTZS, but just as good, a lot of additional information, and a lot easier to read than BTZS.
     
  6. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    "It seems that there is never a situation where you have less than an SBR of 5."

    Where do these guys photograph & under what conditions? Way too often I have subject matter & light that limits me with a lower subject brightness range. From overcast & snowy to bright sun on blazing white salt.
     
  7. mark

    mark Member

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    That would be my problem. I am sure I have missed something.
     
  8. Stephen Benskin

    Stephen Benskin Member

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    Maybe you should try some books dealing with straight sensitometry. Photographic Materials and Processes, Sensitometry for Photographers, Photographic Sensitometry, or The Manual of Photography are all good serious books on the subject. IMO, Davis likes to do little short cuts to make things easier. Short cuts can also leave out important information for a better understanding of the subject. I feel it's better to understand why you do something than just know how to do it. The books listed above will help with the why.
     
  9. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Member

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    Thanks Jorge for the Reader’s Digest condensed version. :D Also thanks for offering to do the plotting. Perhaps if I take the plunge to do the testing I will send you my data for plotting. :smile:

    Thanks William Blunt for the recommendation to The Camera Store’s video.

    Thanks Mark…for your generous offer of your video. :cool:

    I agree …argentic…with the Way Beyond Monochrome idea. I have the book and am wondering if that is indeed the way to proceed.

    Thanks Stephen for the book suggestions. I do have a few of those books for reference but am trying to obtain a clear understanding of BTZS and how it applies.

    There are two more questions that popped into my head after the original post.

    1. Is BTZS just a “beefed up version of an incident metering” technique?

    2. Do most of you who use BTZS also create and use the “power wheel”?


    It appears to me that the book starts with incident metering, progresses to explaining the Zone System and then finishes with something commonly assumed to be BTZS technique.

    Perhaps it would be wonderful if somebody who is skilled in BTZS would write a detailed article for the web that would be a new improved “BTZS” or simply the Dummies Guide to BTZS”.

    Kind Regards,
     
  10. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

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    GreyWolf,
    I was not recommending the video but the new "BTZS LITE". A cd that is sort of a BTZS for dummies, no testing and it covers incident and spot metering and what is going on. I switched to using the incident meter because for me it works much better for getting negs that print with my materials. It always seemed that my negs from using the spot meter were too dense and not enough range for pl/pd printing. I guess I could have kept working on with the spot meter and eventually got to where my negs were better but the incident system worked right from the start and just was more consistent. I use the little "Power Wheel" and it works great, take a reading in the shadows and one in open light, adjust the wheel and it gives you the exposure needed and tells you the SBR so you know how to develope the neg for what ever range you need. The "Power Wheel" has two sides, one for incident and one for zone system.
     
  11. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

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    "Power Dial" is the name of the product from The View Camera Store, not power wheel as I called it in the previous post.
     
  12. jmedlock

    jmedlock Member

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    Quick question:

    I bought "BTZS Lite" and understand how to figure out the exposure/SBR using the tool. But how do you know how to develop the negative -- if I recall the tool gives you the G-bar (average gradient) which is supposed to tell you how to develop the film. But I don't see any information mapping the G-bar to the development time. Do you need to purchase the ExpoDev Palm software to fully use "BTZS Lite"?

    (I'm having trouble locating the tool, so I might be mis-rembering the G-bar.)

    Thanks!
     
  13. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

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    I don't worry about the G-bar, I just figure dev. by using the SBR and recommendations from others that have done the testing. Such as Sandy Kings testing of pyrocat-hd for films I use or the dev. times for using D-76 from the Dick Arentz book. They may not be exact but they are very close. Both give recommended times for different SBR's to obtain a neg. for printing with palladium which is all I use. Hope this helps.
     
  14. jmedlock

    jmedlock Member

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    Thanks for the quick response.

    I finally found my "PowerDial" for "BTZS Lite". It doesn't seem that the PowerDial can be used without the ExpoDev software. The PowerDial will give you the "G-bar" (average gradiant) which you use to determine the development time for the film. But this critical piece of information is missing: the PowerDial doesn't provide a mapping table for G-bar to developing time. In other words, you have no idea what time to use to develop the film.

    I am planning to purchase the ExpoDev software once it is available on PocketPC (I've been waiting for months now -- not sure when the software will be available). In the mean time, would it be improper to ask for the "G-bar to developing times" for the following combinations (all 4x5 sheet film), assuming someone has this info:
    • XTOL (full-strength) & TMAX-100
    • XTOL 1:1 & TMAX-100
    • XTOL (full-strength) & TXP-320
    • XTOL 1:1 & TXP-320
    • HC110 Dil H & TXP-320
    Thanks.
     
  15. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

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    jmedlock,
    When I use the power dial I just turn the gadget over and find what the SBR is and use that to determine dev. time. I don't use the ExpoDev software but I'm sure it would work fine also.
     
  16. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Member

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    Thanks wm blunt...

    I will check into BTZS lite..and thanks for clearing that up.

    As for anybody else reading this thread... I can honestly say that I have seen wm blunt's PT/Pd prints and if he is using this system..then it works.

    Wm Blunt gets a wonderful tonal range in his Pt/Pd prints.

    Kind Regards,
     
  17. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    You make a good point about the availability of existing recommendations based on BTZS testing, which includes not only Dick Arentz and me but also the extensive data from tests done by Phil Davis that you get when you buy the WinPlotter program. Some of use like to do our own testing of course, but the fact is that if you use the same developers that Arentz, Davis and I do, and develop the film the same way, your developing times should be very, very close to what we came up with. Also, people who use WinPlotter can easily share files, as I have done this with quite a number of photographers.

    Some of you may know that Michael Smith and I are working on a book about contact printing, and for the book I carried out a lot of testing of films using both Pyrocat-HD and ABC Pyro. One of the ideas I have is that people who buy the book will also be able to obtain WinPlotter files of all of this testing so that persons who own WinPlotter can just download the files and figure out development times for themselves.

    I own and have used from time to time the Expo-Dev program but as a general rule I find it to be more trouble than it is worth for most of my field work. However, I do find it useful with very complicated scenes that include filter corrections, reciprocity and corrections for bellows draw. In these cases it would take me much longer to make the calculations manually than with Expo-Dev, and I would also not be as sure of the results.

    Sandy
     
  18. leoking801

    leoking801 Member

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    Hi Wm,
    Wonder if you would please explain what the "power wheel" is, I am not familiar with it and I dont think I have seen one in Australia.
    Kind Regards
    Leo