Re: Paper negatives and Zone System

From: Richard Knoppow ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/14/05-04:21:15 AM Z
Message-id: <00c101c5885d$daf8ed50$f3f55142@VALUED20606295>

----- Original Message -----
From: "pawel gega." <>
To: "ALT PHOTO" <>
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 12:43 AM
Subject: Paper negatives and Zone System

> Hello,
> How to use zone system with paper negatives? How much
> shorter contrast range have paper negatives then typical
> negatives?
> o!..what is the best developer for paper negaives?
> Regards, Pawel Gega

   This is a very interesting question because the paper
negative process requires four steps with the possibility
(and necessity) of controlling contrast in all of them. The
Zone System is essentially a practical method of applying
sensitometric principles to every day photgraphy. The
original idea being to control negative contrast in a way
that allowed printing scenes of different ranges and
conrasts on "normal" grade paper with the least amount of
burning and dodging.
   In the paper negtative process one has the following:
1, Original negative, on film.
2, Postive print on paper (sometimes film). Retouching can
be done on this print.
3, Paper negative, made by contact printing the above
positive after retouching it. Retouching can be done on the
paper negative.
4, Final positive print made by contact printing the above
paper negative.

   The first positive print and paper negative are used to
print so they are made to suitable contast and density for
that purpose. Generally, paper will produce deeper densities
than can be used in normal reflection prints. Holding a good
print up to the light will generally show some detail in the
shadows that is not visible in normal viewing by reflected
light. Both the original positive and paper negative will
generally look dark and rather contrasty by reflected light.
   I've worked only a little with paper negatives. I found
the right exposure and contrast of the intermediates by
experimentation. I suppose that sensitometric measurements
could reduce the amount of guess work but I've never done it
that way. I'm also curious to find out if others have worked
this way.
   Printing paper is not capable of the kind of contrast
control that film is, unless one is willing to have a low
maximum density. This last is not desirable for paper
negative work because increasing the final print contrast to
compensate will also exagerate the paper texture and make
retouching more evident. Paper contast is pretty much
established by the nature of the emulsion. Variable contast
paper allow variation by use of filters in printing but
graded paper (is any still made?) has only a very narrow
range of control especially where it is being developed for
maximum density. None of this is probably helpful but the
paper negative process is one that has always intrigued me
and I have worked with it a little.
   As far as developers, there is not a lot of difference
between print developers. Some produce somewhat warmer tones
than others but that is not a consideration for paper the
intermediate steps of the paper negative process. FWIW, my
current developer for silver-gelatin prints is Agfa Neutol
Plus. Its a good, long life developer but plain Dektol makes
just as good prints.

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA 
Received on Thu Jul 14 04:22:07 2005

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