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  1. #1

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

    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,
    Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreyWolf
    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,
    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...

  3. #3

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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. #4

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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.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  5. #5
    argentic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreyWolf
    Does anybody know of another book that I might purchase that would approach explaining BTZS instead of the Phil Davis book?

    Kind Regards,
    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.
    Wilbert
    http://www.photovergne.com
    Cours photo en Auvergne

  6. #6

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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. #7

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    That would be my problem. I am sure I have missed something.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  8. #8
    Stephen Benskin's Avatar
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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. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    North of Calgary, Alberta. Canada
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    Thanks Jorge for the Reader’s Digest condensed version. 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.

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

    Thanks Mark…for your generous offer of your video.

    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,
    Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.

  10. #10

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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.

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