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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonjonho View Post
    I think that the high values in your example would fall on Z IX.
    Regards
    John
    John,

    You are correct. Thanks for pointing this out.

    Best,
    Don
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Jones View Post
    While much has been written and discussed about tailoring negatives to scene contrast through speed and +/- development tests much less seems to be written about how one actually goes about evaluating scene contrast. After all, if we misinterpret the scenes actual contrast much of our testing would seem to be wasted. Those using matrix metering and one average development time need not be concerned. But those adjusting E.I.'s and development time must make these judgments at the time of exposure. Exactly how do you go about evaluate scene contrast? Give me some ideas of how to get better at it.
    Dear Rick,

    There are essentially three options.

    The only way to measure it directly is to take highlight and shadow readings with a spot meter. The I.R.E. '1' and '10' indices, 5 stops apart, are a useful tool for this.

    Second, you can infer it from other readings, especially BTZS incident light readings. These do not and cannot give direct readings, but are arguably more useful for getting consistent negatives under the great majority of circumstances, especially with short brightness ranges.

    Third, you can eyeball it. A bright, clear, sunny day with deep, dark shadows will typically have a brightness range 1 to 2 stops greater than 'average', while most of the weather in the UK is hard put to reach 'average' (allow a stop less) and misty weather can drop to 4 stops less or worse. 'Double lighting' (e.g. an interior with dark corners and sunlight streaming through a window) is the hardest to judge, and the one that will repay spot metering most.

    Ultimately, most people learn to trust the Mk. I eyeball plus experience plus whatever metering method they are happiest with. Anything else -- Zone System, BTZS, any other formalized or informal testing system -- is only a step (or a series of steps) on the way.

    Cheers,

    R.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Friday View Post
    Here's what I did to learn metering:


    The problem in metering shadows is that there are dark shadows and light shadows. Which one do you pick? The only way to decide is to try both and see which looks better in the final print. The same goes for highlights.
    Yes, I initially had a problem with this when I began to apply the ZS. The advice of "meter the shadows and place them on ZIII or IV" confused me because the shadows may have a SBR as well. I found the only way around this was to evaluate the whole scene to be photographed, make a decision as to the darkest tone I wanted with detail in my final print and then do the same for the highlight. The difference then gave my overall SBR and then any further changes in development applied if neccessary. It did take a little practise to asses the scene though.

    Regards
    John

  4. #14

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    "then do the same for the highlight."
    For the lightest tone that I want with detail of course.
    John

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonjonho View Post
    Yes, I initially had a problem with this when I began to apply the ZS. The advice of "meter the shadows and place them on ZIII or IV" confused me because the shadows may have a SBR as well. I found the only way around this was to evaluate the whole scene to be photographed, make a decision as to the darkest tone I wanted with detail in my final print and then do the same for the highlight. The difference then gave my overall SBR and then any further changes in development applied if neccessary. It did take a little practise to asses the scene though.

    Regards
    John
    Do you think that this is a measureable difference in the way that the Zone System approaches things ie...in a more subjective way than BTZS?

    It would seem to me that if one is approaching this with the supposed greater precision of a spot meter (as some would lead us to believe) that "visualization" would give a practitioner of the Zone System the precision to very precisely place zones and hence print tonal representations. Am I understanding you to say that it isn't necessarily so?

    Thanks for your response to this.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller View Post
    Do you think that this is a measureable difference in the way that the Zone System approaches things ie...in a more subjective way than BTZS?

    It would seem to me that if one is approaching this with the supposed greater precision of a spot meter (as some would lead us to believe) that "visualization" would give a practitioner of the Zone System the precision to very precisely place zones and hence print tonal representations. Am I understanding you to say that it isn't necessarily so?

    Thanks for your response to this.
    No, all I am saying is that when a scene is viewed then decisions have to be made as to what is considered as important i.e the areas that require detail in brightest highlight and deepest shadow in the final print. I believe that use of the ZS is a means to facilitate this. It may be the case that detail is only required in one area, then you have to decide what you want to do with the rest of the scene in the final image. I find that this removes confusion as to what to meter in shadow and highlight.

    Best wishes
    John

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller View Post
    Do you think that this is a measureable difference in the way that the Zone System approaches things ie...in a more subjective way than BTZS?
    Dear Don,

    Surely 'less subjective'. Where you place shadow detail is always a matter of choice. The ZS gives you that choice. BTZS, if I understand it correctly, does not give you that choice because it does not measure shadow detail directly, but infers it from a hghlight (incident) reading.

    BTZS should, on theoretical grounds, give more consistent negatives if the SBR is 5 stops or below under shadow lighting (the SBR under full light, if both shadow and full light, is another matter). The original ZS will work better with really tricky subjects under 'double lighting' such as sunlight streaming through a church window when you also want details in the roof beams.

    Cheers,

    R.

  8. #18

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    Hi Donald,
    I have given a little more thought to your question and would like to add:-

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller View Post
    Do you think that this is a measureable difference in the way that the Zone System approaches things ie...in a more subjective way than BTZS?
    I have not felt the need to familiarise myself with BTZS and cannot therefore give views about comparisons involving it.

    "It would seem to me that if one is approaching this with the supposed greater precision of a spot meter (as some would lead us to believe) that "visualization" would give a practitioner of the Zone System the precision to very precisely place zones and hence print tonal representations. Am I understanding you to say that it isn't necessarily so?"

    I am not sure how I came to give you the impression that I thought the precise placement of subject tones on the print value scale using ZS methods could be uncertain. I was actually trying to show that it is, IMHO, as accurate as it needs to be.

    I trust that that this has helped clarify my position in the previous posting.

    I also note that you have said elsewhere that you used the zone system for a number of years and have now switched to BTZS. Is the question you have posed above been bourne out in your experience? i.e that you have obtained more accurate placements of tones by following BTZS in favour to ZS.

    Regards
    John

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller View Post
    For instance if the shadow meters at an EV 6 and the highlights EV 12 then one could place the EV 6 exposure on a zone III which would be two stops less exposure than the meter indicates for this luminance. That would indicate that the high values would fall on a Zone X and would ...
    Not to nit-pick, but in your example, EV12 would be zone IX, not X.

    Not a BTZS practitioner, but I find it somewhat surprising that a scene metered with five stops of range (EV8-EV12) would call for N- development. Would that be a result of the incident readings as opposed to spot readings?

    EDIT: And if I had read Page 2 of this thread before yacking... I would have seen everything I just asked has been answered! Apologies. :rolleyes:
    Last edited by NikoSperi; 02-17-2007 at 09:56 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Stupidity met laziness
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  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonjonho View Post
    Hi Donald,
    I have given a little more thought to your question and would like to add:-



    I have not felt the need to familiarise myself with BTZS and cannot therefore give views about comparisons involving it.

    "It would seem to me that if one is approaching this with the supposed greater precision of a spot meter (as some would lead us to believe) that "visualization" would give a practitioner of the Zone System the precision to very precisely place zones and hence print tonal representations. Am I understanding you to say that it isn't necessarily so?"

    I am not sure how I came to give you the impression that I thought the precise placement of subject tones on the print value scale using ZS methods could be uncertain. I was actually trying to show that it is, IMHO, as accurate as it needs to be.

    I trust that that this has helped clarify my position in the previous posting.

    I also note that you have said elsewhere that you used the zone system for a number of years and have now switched to BTZS. Is the question you have posed above been bourne out in your experience? i.e that you have obtained more accurate placements of tones by following BTZS in favour to ZS.

    Regards
    John
    Hello John,

    There are strengths and weaknesses in each methodology. There are also
    distinct differences in both methods. The greatest difference, as I observe it, is this. In Zone System procedure, one concerns themselves with visualization of tonal representations before exposure. This engages the photographer into the decision making about exposure...and consequent development of the negative in a different way than BTZS does. Taking license with the example given earlier, one could decide, for instance, that the shadow placement (deepest shadow) could be a zone II or a higher exposure placement. The high values would fall where they will and development would then be determined.

    In BTZS there is no reference to zones as such. One determines, first and foremost, the characteristics of the desired print medium. From that the next step is to determine and produce negatives that are capable of being printed on that medium. The print material characteristics are expressed in terms of the exposure scale of the material and this is then accomodated in the density range of the negative. Most BTZS practitioners use an incident meter whereas Zone System practitioners use a spot meter as their meter of choice.

    Tonal representation in a print is another matter entirely, it would have seemed to me, as a Zone System practitioner, that the tonal representations on a print would have been ideally equally separated by equidistant measurable density differentiations, that I found was not the case. The reason is, as I am sure that you know that the characteristics of film and of paper are not linear in their application. While visualization can provide some guidance in making a photograph, it, I have found was best realized by making actual tonal scale swatches that I carried with me when I practiced the System.

    To answer your question as I inferred it to be, if I had not felt one system superior to the other, I would not now be using it.

    I hope that this has answered your question. Best of luck in your photography.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

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