Butcher does not change development times for any of his negatives, regardless of exposure. This is different from the Zone System, where one may develop more or less than normal to change the contrast of the scene. He meters, exposes as the meter indicates, then develops his film (T-Max 100) following the manufacturer's time for every sheet.
And, zone system is NOT a synonym for overexposing, pull processing, underexposing and push processing! You can do all of these things without the Zone System. You can also visualize the final print in your mind without the Zone System. In fact, it might be even easier when you are not lost in technical details; what I mean, for many people, it's easier to think "this scene has a bit too much contrast, I'll underdevelop this sheet of film!" than to think; "this scene has details on zone II to zone VIVIVIVIViVvviivVXXIiblah blah MCMXIV 538968.135" .
You DON'T need the zone system to do these basic things. You can evaluate the contrast range of a scene by eye - or meter it with light meter - and decide to do pull development or push development depending on the contrast. You can "expose for the shadows". And, you can place the "shadows" in your mind where you want them to be.
These all things are very basics and explained in many books and datasheets, before and after ZS. Zone System is just a one man's self-made, nontechnical numerical tool (that still SOUNDS technical) to assist this process, and some people find it very useful, some people find it cumbersome. It's up to you. Learn the basics and use what works for you!
I find that, in general, the Zone System has done more harm than good by preventing people from learning the very basics and understanding their real meanings by confusing themselves by this arbitrary system. This probably wasn't Ansel Adams' purpose! He just made a system that made most sense for himself.
Last edited by hrst; 09-18-2010 at 04:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Them's fightin' words!
Originally Posted by hrst
I doubt Adams would consider his system arbitrary. It is based on basic sensitometric priciples. It is confusing as he explains it in his texts, but they really are not intended for beginners.
Try reading Fred Picker's Zone VI Workshop. It is no longer in print, but about a zillion copies are available. It is not the best organized text, but it does simplify the zone system and explains using meters, exposing and processing film very well. Phil Davis' Beyond the Zone System is another good one.
That someone does or does not use the zone system has little to do with proper exposure and development for his or her particular working method. I think we all settle into a system that works for us and gives us the results we want. It takes time, practice, and a lot of film. It also depends on personal style and the desired "look" of the finished piece. Not everyone wants to make f/64-Group, Zone System Ansel Weston Edward Adams pictures.
Did you ever try and get up with Mr. Butcher? Ya know, he was on BBC America on Sep 14. He has a couple video on their site as well.
Just curious, though.
Originally Posted by Martin Aislabie
Agreed, I use TZS principles to help me previz a scene that I have already put the effort into choosing based on aesthetic criteria. One of which is quality of light. TZS help me with the quantity of light issues.
M. David Farrell, Jr.
~Buying a Nikon doesn not make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner!
~Everybody has a photographic memory, but not everybody has film!
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All the Zone System does for me is to get consistent results from the creative choices I make.
What ever it is that Clyde Butcher does, it seems to work well for him.
Originally Posted by Greg Davis