Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
Some thoughts:

I shoot sheet film and practice the Zone System. I test for many different development schemes (N, N+s and N-s). However, for roll film, when you will be shooting subjects of different contrast on the same roll, it is most important to simply find an N that gives you good shadow detail and manageable highlights. Since you use a spot meter, all you would then have to do is place an important shadow. I would deal with the different contrast situations by changing paper grade. And I would tailor my N to grade 2.5 or 3 to give a bit more latitude for high-contrast subjects.
Thanks Doremus. I shoot the entire roll to the same scheme (N, N+s and N-s).

Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
Your test could (and I think should) be done without a densitometer, but rather by making proper proofs of your negatives on the paper and grade you will mostly use. This takes your enlarging system into account as well.
Wouldn't I then just be using a reflection densitometer to measure the paper densities anyway ?

Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
Furthermore, I think you should set up your targets in a situation where you would have "normal" flare. I set up a target card in a scene and like to have it take up no more than about a third of the entire scene. I use darker cards for the shadow values. That way I take an "average" amount of flare into account when making the test. Otherwise, you can test out everything and then get significantly higher shadow values in practice due to flare.
I considered your suggestion, and this is certainly one way to account for real life flare. The way I prefer to do it is to slightly increase the negative density range (by about 0.1 units) for a given SBR. i.e. increase CI/gamma. I suspect this is no more or less better at compensating for flare than you method, just a different way.

Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
I also like having the prints of my tests to remind me of just what I'm going to get when I place a certain value in a Zone. Densitometer readings don't help me to visualize.
That sounds a good idea.

I used to make Zone Rulers (prints of Zone 0 through the highest Zone for a particular development scheme) to help me learn to visualize tones. I no longer need them, but they were indispensable at the beginning. One also finds that Zones for a particular scheme don't always follow the classic ZS descriptions.

Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
When Zone III and Zone VIII are perfect, Zone V is often far from 18% grey.
I've always wondered about the non linear nature of intermediate zones. I also experience that.

You also mentioned using Zone VIII instead of VII. That is easy to do with my proposed method if you have a large enough aperture range. I initially wanted to ensure most aperture ranges could be catered for.