View Full Version : Zone VI variable contrast head controller settings

Michael Wainfeld
19-Jun-2009, 17:56
For those of you with this equipment-what initial settings do you use? Max brightness and 1/2 way (D) on both hard and soft? Or max brightness and max hard and soft and then dial less of one in? Anyone have a manual?

George Stewart
19-Jun-2009, 18:51
When I had mine, I'd do two separate exposures - each would be with one lamp only set to max. So, a print would be composed of one exposure of a certain length with max hard, and another of a different length with max soft.

Gem Singer
19-Jun-2009, 19:03

The original instruction manual described several ways to print with the ZoneVI VC lamphouse.

After working with mine for a couple of years, I found that dialing maximum on all the controls worked the easiest.

If I needed more contrast, I dialed back on soft (green lamp). If I needed less contrast, I dialed back on the hard (blue lamp).

To compensate for dry down, I dialed back on the brightness control, just before exposing the final print.

I made test strips to arrive at the basic exposure. However, after a while, it became quite intuitive to figure out the amount the amount of hard or soft light I had to remove in order to get the proper contrast and how much exposure time I needed.

Forget about trying to match contrast grades. The Zone VI VC lamphouse allows the operator to choose an infinite number of grades.

19-Jun-2009, 20:01
When I had a Zone VI VC head I used pretty much exactly the method Gem describes. But George's split-grade technique is just as viable. It's easy to get caught up in the variables. Take lots of notes and use the method which is most intuitive for you.

Ed Pierce
24-Jun-2009, 16:18
I got sick of wasting time and paper hoping to hit the right combination of hard/soft/time and decided to calibrate the sucker. I used Anchell's VC printing book as a guide.

I recently employed a step scale, densitometer and three different brands of paper and determined my hard/soft combinations for grades 0-5 in half grade increments. For lack of a better idea, I made a series of contact prints with the soft set to max and the hard set at various points, then a series with the hard set at max and the soft set at various points. All the exposures were the same. I read all the densities of the prints and plotted them on an exposure/density graph, which is now posted on the wall.

The graph guides me in speed matching; finding the change in exposure needed to match any print density when changing grades. It really works well to get me in the ball park very quickly. I can pick any tone on the print and easily look up the change in exposure needed to keep that tone constant at another grade.

One very interesting thing I learned is that the different papers required very different speed matching corrections.