It's all a process. You can use ZS with MF as I do, typically we get into an area and shoot at least a roll therefore your roll will
be consistent when processed. True, ZS is not needed but you need to know your camera and how it meters. The photo looks great by
the way. Sometimes I will simply find an area in the scene I want to be a nuetral gray(zone 5/6), then everything falls into place, sometimes
I expose for the shadow and develop for hilites. Depends what you want the outcome to be. Proper use of spotmeter and ZS when doing
large format is almost always required, sheet film is more expensive and you can't afford to bracket 3-4 shots. As suggested get a grey card
and a grey scale find out how your camera meters and your spotmeter go from there. Or do as you do, seems to work. Everyones
sugestions are good, find what works for you and refine it.
"Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance."
IMHO, the central point of the zone system is that it teaches the photographer to visualize
the final print when he takes the photograph. I don't see it as much more than - I want this
to still have substantial texture, thus it shouldn't be less than zone III/more than zone VIII, etc.
With MF and 35mm you still have the chance for instance to pull in development to reduce contrast,
if you calculate with that while shooting.
I use a spot meter all the time with roll film. I meter the darkest shadow I want detail in, set my exposure, check the brightest highlight and make sure I can fit it in using paper grades. If it doesn't fit, I need to make a choice.....lose a zone or two of highlights or shadows or change the development for that roll. I used to carry an extra back, but honestly, I almost never needed it. I think the zone system for roll film is exposing for the shadows and knowing where the highlights will fall.
I think this is the thread Doremus is referring to, sound advice:
Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder
Since B&W film speed is based on the minimum exposure to obtain an excellent negative, you need to make sure the lowest values in the scene give enough exposure to the film.
I pick out what I want to be middle gray and meter that. I may pick a Zone 2 or Zone 3 and meter to place them in the right expose, but I also will check a Zone VII or Zone VIII to make sure that the high lights will not be blown out.
Normally I will not meter the sky; it just blows off the exposure.
Thanks for digging up the old thread for me! I didn't have the time to do the search myself. Yes indeed, that is what I was referring to. Glad you found it useful.
^This - you can definitely use the zone system with roll film. Especially for something like 120 film as you can easily use a whole roll of film in a given shoot. Include some bracketing and that roll goes even faster. As a result, often you can apply development control to the entire roll. In cases where you will have more mixed lighting on a roll, I believe Ansel Adams "The Negative" recommends increased exposure coupled with n-1 development to ensure you capture the whole dynamic range, then printing on harder paper for negatives that need more contrast.
Originally Posted by Augied
Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder
Excellent advice indeed. Any 35mm camera with spot metering will benefit from this, as will anyone shooting any other format using a spot meter. The main reason people don't think roll film cameras benefit from ZS, is the number of exposures involved. I simply use a different body or roll for different situations, keeping all similarly exposed frames together.
I think being technically correct is not something you should aim for. Underexposure or Overexposure to a certain degree is all up to the photographer making the picture. If it looks good to you, then it is good. If you want to read some materials, the only book I would suggest is
Originally Posted by h501c
It is very important to be good at looking and getting the metering you want on a slide film. On print, you are pretty safe within a 1/2 stop margin. When taking things onto street, where I have to take shots fast and don't have time to setup and check exposure every time, I do a very simple trick; I just check that the highlights are not over 2-stops from metered (i.e if you want to capture some details in those highlights).