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  1. #21
    DrPhil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking
    The excitment is in the simplicity of BTZS testing and in its precision. Regardless of what process you are using it is always good practice to make the best possible negative. And once you get beyond the initial learning curve BTZS testing is both easier, takes less time, and provides far more useful data than Zone system testing. So why spend more time to get less precise results?

    Sandy Kiing
    So I sat down yesterday and reread Davis' book. Did many of his end of chapter questions too. In the end, my conclusion is that Davis has significantly refined Adam's zone system. The underlying idea is still the same; however, Davis has made improvements in several areas. First, his testing procedure is much more refined than Adam's methods. Less film and better data is always a good thing. Second, Davis logically starts with paper as the initial point for testing. Third, using the data from Davis' BTZS test you can mix and match different papers and films more easily than with the traditional zone system. Fourth, Davis presents us with a refined method of determining development. Instead of fixed N numbers we have SBR numbers. Using a Dev. time vs SBR graph we can get the equivalent of N-0.5 or N+1.2 etc. Not a new idea from Adam's method, just a more elegant solution. Finally, the fifth improvement is the one area where I still have trouble. Davis is a major proponent of incident metering. I borrowed a friend's incident meter and still don't have the hang of it.

    Sandy's quote above made the most sense to me. My initial idea was simply to make an acceptable negative that certainly could be printed; however, Sandy's point struck a cord with me and I am going to give BTZS a whirl..Indeed, I called and talked to Fred Newman today and ordered a bunch of BTZS stuff. I might actually take one of his workshops too as I still don't get the whole incident metering method. Conceptually it make sense; however, in practice I feel a whole lot more comfortable with the spotmeter. Perhaps because I have used it for so long.

    Anyways, what am I currently going to use now? I am going to test my film Ilford FP4+ for pyrocat HD. I will use the plotter program to create my variuos curves for Ilford MGIV paper. I ordered a powerdial with the plotter program to use as well. My current plan is to continue to use N numbers instead of SBR. My primary reason for this is that I haven't come up with a good method for keeping all of the negative separate for the proper developing. Since I am not using readyloads, how could I possibly keep 400 sheets of FP4+ separate from each other? Especially if each sheet has its own individual developing time. Three boxes for N, N-1, and N+1 seems easier in this regard. Does anyone have a suggestion here?
    Facts are facts; however, perception is reality.

  2. #22

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    I use a mixture of BTZS and spotmeter (I can't stand incident meters) - trial and error is how I arrived at a solution. Do not fret. Stick with your spot meter and get the hang of it with BTZS.
    Francesco

  3. #23
    DrPhil's Avatar
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    Francesco,

    Do you use N numbers to separate your sheet film for development? Or do you use individual SBR numbers to specify the precise developing time for each sheet?
    Facts are facts; however, perception is reality.

  4. #24

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    I use SBRs in half step increments to dictate development time.

  5. #25
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking
    Acquiring an equivalent amount of information by trial-and-error procedures as used for Zone System testing would by contrast would take many days.
    In addition it takes quite a few boxes of film and paper, a fact to which my credit card statement will attest most eloquently.

  6. #26
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    BTZS is great for experimenters and those wishing to publish scientific papers. But for the average student interested in artistic pursuits, BTZS procedures are far too involved and unnecessary. I use a condensed form of the ZS to help in initial exposure where my visualization is fairly well defined. However there have been many times when my visualization is uncertain. About the only concession I make to the ZS is in setting my IE for the rapidly changing film(s) (I used to stick to TX-400 before the Great Yellow Father decided I didn’t need it anymore) and printing papers. It can be of great help in setting the development technique again depending on one’s ability to determine one’s vision of the final print. This is quite personal and no “System” will automatically accomplish that.
    I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
    Truly, dr bob.

  7. #27
    clay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr bob
    BTZS is great for experimenters and those wishing to publish scientific papers. But for the average student interested in artistic pursuits, BTZS procedures are far too involved and unnecessary.
    The BTZS is nothing more than applied sensitometry. Sure, you don't have to understand sensitometry to make a proper exposure. But I compare the classical (Adams, White, etc) Zone System to taking the 'no calculus' physics in college. Sure, it works, but it involves a lot of mental gymnastics and memorization of formulas that you don't understand that could be circumvented with just a little calculus thrown in. The BTZS merely describes how film, paper and developers work together to translate a range of brightnesses in a scene to a range of tones on the the print. The classical zone system does the same thing, but essentially is using 'baby talk' to get there.

    FWIW, once you understand the BTZS, your life gets simpler, not more complicated. For instance, since I print in platinum/palladium, I know that my print process can easilty handle a negative with a density range anywhere from 1.4 to 2.1. That is quite a bit of latitude when you think of it.

    So I have whittled my procedure down to basically three lighting situations. Normal, which is SBR 6.5 to 8.5, which has one development time and EI. Contrasty, SBR 8.5-12, which has another development time and EI, and Flat, SBR 5-6.5 which has another. The only outlier is that occasional scene with REALLY high contrast in the range of SBR 14, which I have another EI and development time combination. With an incident meter, you can figure out which situation you are in in about 10 seconds, adjust the EI and make your exposure and make a note on how to develop the film. To my way of thinking, this is a heck of lot simpler and tractable than anything in ZS Classic.

  8. #28
    Jim Moore's Avatar
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    I received my BTZS plotter and expodev software yesterday and did a film test on Delta 100 developed in Xtol 1:1 @ 75d

    I have to say the the testing was extremely easy. To easy and I thought that I must have done something wrong, so I posted my curves asking if they looked OK and Sandy replied that they did.

    I got out for a bit today to field test my results using ExpoDev to determine my exposures.

    I developed 1/2 the negatives tonight and they look really good. I didn't have time to print them (Will do that tomorrow after work) but I scanned a couple of the negatives. (Posted in the Critique Gallery)

    Jim

  9. #29
    PJC
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    DrPhil wrote "Since I am not using readyloads, how could I possibly keep 400 sheets of FP4+ separate from each other? Especially if each sheet has its own individual developing time. Three boxes for N, N-1, and N+1 seems easier in this regard. Does anyone have a suggestion here?"

    I've described my method to several people, but most don't like it, perhaps it will work for you. I use small Post-it notes on all of my holders. As I make an exposure, I write all pertinent info on the note. When I unload the holders I simply stack the Post-it notes one on top of the other in the same order the sheets will be loaded into the box and those notes stay with the box until I'm ready to develop.

    When I'm ready to develop I pull all the Post-its for a specific manner of development noting their order in the stack: for example, 1st, 3rd, 7th & 15th. I then count through the stack of film pulling these sheets.

    I know this sounds complicated, but it really isn't. It just requires a little concentration and attention while doing it. I've developed thousnads of sheets this way and never had a failure, well not a failure due to development error.

    The one failure I had was while shooting in the Grand Canyon during quickly changing light. I was very rushed and inadvertently forgot to remove the Post-it before pulling the dark slide. As it went through the light trap it tore and I though I removed all the pieces, but one eluded me and became lodged in a fold of the bellows. About 40 sheets later I noticed a bug on the inside of my groung glass and removed the back, when I did I saw the small piece of paper! The result was about 40 sheets of film with flare or some sort or another from that tiny piece of paper. Needless to say a lesson learned, but I haven't abandodned Post-it notes. Good luck!

    Regards, Pete

  10. #30
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    I use a china marker to write development information on the darkslide after exposure. I wipe it off with a rough cloth as part of my cleanup process before loading new film. Never had a problem in 20-years of using it.

    I've read Adams, White, and Davis and found them all a bit complicated. But that's me. Fred Picker's method set out in his Zone System Handbook has worked well for me. But then I use only two films and Azo. It seems to me that his method does begin with paper (although he doesn't say so) as one calculates film speed based on maximum black of the paper, then determines development based on a proper Zone VIII on the paper. Yes, it's subjective, but metering (both incident and reflective) seem subjective to me, too. At any rate, the print is the goal, and the process of getting there is a product of how the photographer's mind works.
    juan

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