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The BTZS System Explained
How to Use the BTZS Film Tubes
How to Read a BTZS Film Test
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What is BTZS?

BTZS refers to “Beyond The Zone System,” the title of a book Phil Davis wrote almost 25 years ago, and is now in its 4th edition. This was not an attempt to discredit Ansel’s work; his Zone System concept was innovative and ingenious, and his art and technique have inspired generations of photographers. But times have changed and we now have tools and materials that were unavailable when the Zone System was born.

As a result, BTZS is “beyond” the Zone System in several ways.
  1. First, we test our materials using sensitometric methods to produce test data that are more comprehensive and more reliable than conventional empirical methods can achieve.
  2. Second, we use sophisticated computer programs to analyze the test data in the lab, and generate working data in the field.
  3. Third, we replace “N-numbers” as indicators of development extent with Average Gradient values which are more specific and more reliable.
  4. Finally, we recognize that both science and art are essential elements in photography.

    BTZS can equip you with the knowledge and skill you’ll need to handle your materials effectively, but that’s as far as it can go; it’s up to the artist in you to apply what you’ve learned to produce images that are worth looking at.