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  1. #1
    pierods's Avatar
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    What zone is "medium gray" ?

    Hello,

    I am taking portraits by spot-metering on (white) people's cheeks and NOT giving it +1 stop.

    I thought that by spot metering on something you would get "middle grey", i.e. zone 5.

    Somebody can explain? I am very well confused...

  2. #2
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    18% Grey, ie. a Kodak Grey card is Zone V, Caucasian skin is Zone V1 one stop lighter, so you do need to add +1 stop.
    Ben

  3. #3
    pierods's Avatar
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    Well, ok, I thought the same.

    But my photos show people's faces not grey at all - maybe my dev times are too long?

  4. #4
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    Yes, spot-metering the cheek/subject will place the cheek/subject on Zone V(middle gray). But, you must decided where you want to place the subject's value on Zone Scale. You can place Caucasian skin either on Zone VI or Zone VII depends on skin tone.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
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  5. #5
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierods View Post
    Well, ok, I thought the same.

    But my photos show people's faces not grey at all - maybe my dev times are too long?
    Film needs testing before you employ Zone System.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

  6. #6
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    I would rather incident meter esp., when shooting slides.

    You can do the same for the negs, when you have uniform light.

    If there are hightlights and shadow, then you may need -1 or +1 correction accordingly.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

  7. #7
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Yes, medium gray is considered zone V.

    Caucasian skin normally falls in VI-ish.

    (Roman numerals are normally used to denote zones because zones don't always correlate equally to stops.)

    The classic correction/offset when metering Caucasian skin is to increase exposure by 1-stop.

    My caveat is that it depends on the lighting, the skin that you meter from should not be in shadow nor in highlight.

    If you have, or can borrow an incident meter, you can find the classic camera setting that will give you "normal" zone placement, then you can meter various points on the face to find the various zones and variations on the face, on a grey card, or on some other reference point.

    A bright side cheek may read in zone VIII, dark side zone III.

    That variation is simply the nature of the beast when reflective metering is used. (It is also why, when given a choice, I almost always incident meter.)
    Last edited by markbarendt; 09-27-2012 at 07:18 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Oops
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  8. #8
    pierods's Avatar
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    Sorry Mark,

    but I am really too ignorant:

    if skin is zone 6, and I meter on it (that puts it on zone 5), to go to zone 6, that is 1 MORE stop - why do you say 1 LESS stop?

  9. #9
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    Your meter do not know whether it is a white skin or black coal. It sees the world as medium gray. If you spot meter the skin, then you have to decide where you have to place the skin on Zone Scale. This is the same for metering the shadows...

    For white skin, it is recommended to place either on Zone VI or Zone VII and where as Zone III or Zone IV for shadows. It all depends on how you visualize and what you want on the negative.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

  10. #10
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierods View Post
    Sorry Mark,

    but I am really too ignorant:

    if skin is zone 6, and I meter on it (that puts it on zone 5), to go to zone 6, that is 1 MORE stop - why do you say 1 LESS stop?
    Probably because I haven't had enough coffee yet.

    I stand corrected, open up one stop.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

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