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Thread: Paper Zones

  1. #51
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin View Post
    I use it for visualization. What about BTZS?
    Throw me in the briar patch...

    As one who chooses not to use BTZS incident metering, my opinion of it will not carry the same weight as anyone who studies and uses it.

    I mentioned the PowerDial. Black and white versions of it are available from the View Camera Store. I don't know of anybody who actually made a grayscale version, but where my Master II only has little chips of actual print, the originally-described PowerDial would have wedge-shaped grays of an actual print that show expansions (and contractions) appropriately for short and long scale subjects.

    I come back to this concept because "we all know" Paper Zones expand and contract with development changes. Minor White's Zone System Manual explains it as the "third step in previsualization". If you develop to N+1 and place Zone VII meter reading on Zone VIII, then Zone V meter reading won't fall exactly on Zone V any longer it will be a little higher.

    The PowerDial is convertible between Incident Meter use and Zone System use. I am intrigued by the Zone System side of the PowerDial which may be worthy of the name "Beyond" the Zone System (Where I consider the Incident Metering system of BTZS an alternative to Zone System).

    I imagine most Zone System users have stickers that just have the Roman Numerals drawn on them. The "Zones" themselves are symbolic - Zone II shadow, Zone VI skin in sunlight, and so on... Minor White insisted that you had to memorize the list of subjects and Zones that are "generally realistic" for those subjects.

  2. #52

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    Bill,

    I'm happy to see someone else referring to the Minor White, Richard Zakia, Peter Lorenz "Zone System Manual." The methods in the book are basically what I use to do Zone System calibrations. I like the idea of including the entire system, from metering through printing as a kind of "black box," and to be able to evaluate results visually.

    I looked at BTZS rather seriously some years ago and came to the conclusion that it was not as useful a visualization tool as the ZS that it purports to go beyond, and requires a lot more time and trouble calibrating (not to mention that you have to carry a handheld computer in the field if you want to get the most from it). I didn't think that level of precision was necessary.

    Best,

    Doremus

  3. #53
    Stephen Benskin's Avatar
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    I threw BTZS out there because it uses pretty standard sensitometry with the Zone System. It doesn't require incident metering or a handheld computer, and if you think about it, how much difference is there between using a PDA or a notebook? Plotting curves is a lot quicker, more accurate, and less complicated than the ZS in camera tests. I can confidently use an unknown film after doing a family of curves.

    Herb Ritts' shooting crew were getting complaints from their printer. After a lot of back and forth accusations, they called me in to evaluate their process. They showed me a series of negatives they had processed by a number of local labs of a test subject they had set-up in the studio. They couldn't tell anything from the test. I took a look, then told them I'd do some sensitometric exposures for them for the labs process. The results showed that the lab they were currently using had lost control of the processing. Their normal was over +2. The testing was quick and decisive, and the lab lost Ritt's black and white business. Ritts was also having some trouble with their LVTs from a digital lab. It turned out the lab had calibrated their 0 to 255 range to a higher than normal negative density range.

  4. #54

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    Although it is not explicitly stated in the test procedures in The Negative, it is pretty clearly implied in the text Adams advocates the plotting of curves and the comparison of curves. I'm not talking about the specifc procedures themselves and the difficulty in interpreting the data (as we've discussed before), just the framework. In that context I don't think BTZS adds any value other than test exposures by contacting. In fact I still think BTZS may even be potentially problematic/detrimental when it comes to subject luminance ranges outside the norm. In my opinion BTZS is too concerned with a mechanized approach to fitting the negative density range to the paper, and not concerned enough with printing controls.

  5. #55
    Stephen Benskin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Although it is not explicitly stated in the test procedures in The Negative, it is pretty clearly implied in the text Adams advocates the plotting of curves and the comparison of curves. I'm not talking about the specifc procedures themselves and the difficulty in interpreting the data (as we've discussed before), just the framework. In that context I don't think BTZS adds any value other than test exposures by contacting. In fact I still think BTZS may even be potentially problematic/detrimental when it comes to subject luminance ranges outside the norm. In my opinion BTZS is too concerned with a mechanized approach to fitting the negative density range to the paper, and not concerned enough with printing controls.
    I'm not thrilled with the outdated and made up terms Davis' uses, or the work-arounds for film speed and flare, but it's the closest thing I've seen to solid sensitometry written for a general audience (except Sensitometry for Photographers). How he applies tone reproduction might be a bit confusing for some. Davis is a little too gimmicky for my taste. Give me tone reproduction straight up.

    Michael, not sure if I agree with you with Adams and curves.

  6. #56

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    Are you saying he's not concerned with curves? I guess this discussion could actually pertain to several posts back when you were talking about the two density points in Adams (metered minus 4 stops and metered plus 3 stops). I didn't agree those are the only two points Adams's ZS is concerned with, but forgot to address it.

    I agree Davis is gimmicky, and I also like tone reproduction. Learning more about that (and exposure/film speed) over the past few years has been very interesting to me.

  7. #57
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    Actually, for those interested, the subject of zones has never come up in any of the workshops that I have been present at.

    PE

  8. #58
    Stephen Benskin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Are you saying he's not concerned with curves? I guess this discussion could actually pertain to several posts back when you were talking about the two density points in Adams (metered minus 4 stops and metered plus 3 stops). I didn't agree those are the only two points Adams's ZS is concerned with, but forgot to address it.
    This might just be a question of semantics.

  9. #59

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    PE, why would it?

    It isn't a lab-relevant subject. It isn't for R&D. It is a simplified approach to sensitometry and controls to support the creative process. It is not, nor was it ever intended to be a standardized, objective, scientifically robust framework for emulsion engineering or photographic system design/testing.

  10. #60
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    Michael, in the workshops I teach, I cover the basics of film and paper design! And, the students do go out and take pictures as well. These are not just lab courses. I was also answering a question by Bill.

    So, the student comes out of this with the basics of why something is done, not just how.

    PE

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