Bill, you make a great point about serendipity helping you find your LER from a couple of negatives. Though I have been printing for a fairly long time, I have only owned a densitometer for just about a month. I bought it with the purpose of doing these tests, specifically to learn more about 320TXP, and longer term, to build a logical understanding of all of my materials, to have more control over them. I like your experience, and I think I will go back to some of the negatives I know well, and I will analyse them with the densitometer, to learn more about what I like, and what I do not like printing.
Feel free to steer me! My only teachers of photography taught me when I was 7 years old. It was very enjoyable, but since I got my darkroom when I was 9, I had no other teachers, except for one amazing master workshop recently, and great many books, trial and error. Almost 40 years later, WBM finally pushed me to do the testing, and I am very grateful for that. It must have been the line "The final results are well worth the time commitment of about 8 hours" on page 217. I am, however, a little disconcerted on account of: reading more than 300 posts about the importance of flare, and the lack of account for it in the WBM method, the lack of precision in the recommendation for the making of the exposure, and my experiences of that, and also by the other points raised, such as the choice of a different speed-point (as opposed to a different constant), and its less common choice of LER. All of this makes discussing my—arguably less compatible—findings, with others, harder. I am sure this system works well for those who get to know it well, but I would rather follow a more trodden path, for which I am likely to get more support from those who have tried it successfully. WBM is a wonderful book, and I value it very highly, perhaps the "Customizing Film Speed and Development" part is just one I might have to rely a little less on, but I am glad to have tried it. Besides, I feel this is the best compendium of practical analogue monochrome, and the most up-to-date.
Originally Posted by Bill Burk
Nonetheless, at present, I am rereading BTZS, I am half-way through chapter 8. At least I will be able to plot my curves, I hope, without having to beg you, Bill, for your services, though I might use R for that purpose.
I don't think I will give up on the Zone System, as I like it very much, but I hope the BTZS lesson of practical sensitometry will help me use ZS in a more measured way, especially for materials that are new to me. Who knows, we might be faced with a need to work with constantly changing materials over the coming years, as the players change, or even exit the market. Any direction you can steer me in will be good learning to help me cope with the new world of analogue photography.
Also, as I read between Michael's various comments, I gather that a more holistic approach to all the components of the tone reproduction system, once assimilated, ought to help me achieve my goals.