Beyond The Zone System BTZS

Discussion in 'Talk About Techniques' started by Ian-Barber, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    112
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Doncaster
    Home Page:
    I have been reading small snippets from various sources on the BTZS technique which I understand was taught by the late Phil Davis.

    Has anyone tried this method ?
     
  2. KenS

    KenS Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    147
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Ian,

    If my memory serves me well enough, the BTZS 'system' benefits from use of a spot-meter.
    I do have one, it is usually in my camera bag, but now get used only a percentage of the number of times (in comparison to my Gossen Lunasix3) when I NEED to get the reading on a 'white... with texture' to be 'placed' on a Zone VIII +1/3 when using Ektachrome. I also use it for some B/W film in my large format, to find the reflected light 'range' to assist in deciding if the B/W film to be exposed might benefit from some 'plus' or 'minus' development. BUT... I have found I cannot make full use of the 'information' that my spot-meter provides when I do not have the time to 'think things through' or when the light is 'changing'.

    In the years since my retirement I have used only Pyrocat HD in my BTZS tubes for both my 4x5 and 8x10 negatives. Since I have a triple beam balance, I can measure to 1/10 gram and make up my film developer from 'scratch' in order to reduce my developer chemical costs

    After a significant number of years of using 'hangers in tanks' and/or tray development for large format films, I found BTZS tube processing to be both 'cleaner' and 'easier'... and I found I much prefer spending less time 'in the dark'.

    Ken
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  3. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    112
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Doncaster
    Home Page:
    I have seen the videos with the BTZS tubes. Do you find it difficult juggling more than one tube at a time
     
  4. KenS

    KenS Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    147
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    None whatsoever.

    I have a Tupperware with ~5 inches of water at temperature, sitting on a now unused waterbed heater set as close as possible to the temperature I need to maintain. Tubes are always done in 'pairs' but if only the one sheet is being developed there is ALWAYS an empty 'dummy' (with water) to make a 'pair'. Most often I'm doing them as two 'pairs'. Around each full minute mark, one of each of the tube 'pairs' are moved from left to right such that the rotational direction is changed as close to the 60 second mark as I can get.

    Before getting 'started' I have spare (or... extra set of 'tops'... or caps, if you must) with rapid fixer fix, set at the REAR OF THE 'tub'... (this way I know where my hands can 'find' them with really having to look... and they are much less likely to be knocked over by accident when in the dark).

    Approaching the end of the development time, I turn off the room light, dump the developer into a beaker (at the 'side' of the tub) and immediately submerse the tubes (still with the film in place) into the water bath (i.e. NO acid stop-bath) for a bit of 'rinsing' and quickly 'grab' a top from the rear of the tub and... with the tube (plus film) upside down... screw the TUBE into CAP until all "pairs" are 'capped'... I then grab either two or three in each hand and give them some good but gentle 'shaking' and drop them into the water-bath for rotation for the allotted fixing time. I do not worry about saving the once-used stop bath for later use.

    The Fixer is then either added to a jug that I have marked "PART-USED FIXER" and the tubes are put into the water bath for a quick 'rinse' and a soak until I can grab the appropriate number of Kodak film hangers.. insert the film and put all into a tank that will sit (for a few minutes) with a light flow of water until I get the 'wash-aid' into anther tank for fixer removal /deletion and ten into a final washing water tank. The part-used Fixer is regularly 'checked' for efficacy' before use.

    I usually do just the 'one' developing session per tub of water... ie each 'batch of film gets used only once... but there has been the occasional 'two bath' runs when I'm in a bit of a rush or when She Who Must Be Obeyed needs sometimes/usually super-cedes mine....... 8-(

    It may sound somewhat 'complicated'... but that is the way I 'fell' into.... I don't know how others do it... but you should/could get into the 'rythm' quite easily. If I were 'just curious' I would first invest in "just the tubes.. with extra caps". before purchasing the whole system.

    Ken


    PPS.....With my 8x10" tubes I only 'do' two tubes at a time... but my 'technique' is the same for both film sizes.... but having done it this way for about 11/12 years.. I would have a hard time going 'back' to hangers... or trays for 'regular' development

    If you have never tried a pyrocatechin based developer, this might be the time to 'kill two birds with the one stone', Yes... I have quite a few of the small containers (500ml?) of HC110, packets of D76.. some packages of powdered Ilford 'stuff' that is about to leave for the local camera club membership who have not gone fully digital... yet?.
     
    Ian-Barber likes this.
  5. KenS

    KenS Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    147
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Ian

    Has my 'explanation' made sense? or should I make a quickie video (on my table) with my iPhone? If you take your first two fingers to the 'outside' edge of the two tubes floating 'side by each' (as my daughter used to say...) thumb on one and 'opposing 2 fingers on the OUTSIDE of the two tubes and 'spin' the tubes such that they turn in the opposite direction 'inwards at the top' by using a gentle 'upward' motion to get them to 'spin'. They will 'wobble' a bit .... but don't 'go at them' too vigorously.... you need as 'gentle and 'even' a spin as you can manage. I swap the places of the tubes about every 1.5 to 2 minutes so that they get the chance to 'spin' in the other direction.

    Do not try with an 'odd' number of tubes.. always have them in 'pairs'. I once tried to to do 6 tubes.... which turned out to be somewhat too 'awkward'.

    'You may be surprised at just how 'even' the development is... and you may use the developer of your choice.... but I have never used an acid stop bath... You may also find that the water-bath does it just fine... as long as you are not using a 'strong' developer.

    Ken
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017
  6. Richard Warom

    Richard Warom Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2016
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Longton Lancs
    I use the BTZS tubes and your explanation is clear Ken. When I first bought them I just couldn't get on with them and as I had a JOBO system carried on with that until I didn't have the space for the JOBO and sold it, I then went back to the tubes and persevered with them and now feel comfortable using them. My system for using them has been slightly different to yours Ken in that my spare caps were with water for stop and used a tray for fix, but I think your method is much better and will in future use the water bath for stop and the spare caps for fix, for rinse I keep the MOD54 and tank by me and transfer the negs to that and I find this works well for me.
    Thanks for the post.
    Richard
     
  7. KenS

    KenS Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    147
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Richard...
    If my memory serves me well enough, there is an old (but I'm not sure how popular) 'saying'... "Ya gotta dance with the girl that brung ya"... which I 'kind of interpret' as 'Go with what you have.. and make the best of it'. When I was getting ready to become both comfortable... and competent using the tubes, I tried some practical 'practice runs' with some of my old 'bad/not quite good enough' negatives to come up with a work-flow system that worked for me. My way may not work well for everyone... but I am now quite 'comfortable' with it.. and I'm not sure I could come up with anything 'easier'... or more practical.

    Ken
     

Share This Page