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Thread: The Zone System

  1. #11

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    Ektagraphic... just stay with it. A few answers here are leaning more toward indirect facetiousness than helpfulness. Pay no attention to those posts. The authors intend no harm.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ektagraphic View Post
    I was reading about the Zone system...Is there anyone using the Zone system with a reflective light meter. I don't have a handheld spot meter but I would really like to get one.
    OK. The Purists will tell you that you can't use The Zone System unless you engage in the corresponding development and printing processes/adjustments as well.

    However, I have found the ideas behind the Zone System very helpful in working out a good exposure even though all my developing and printing are done by a commercial film processor.

    depending on which book you read, the "System" requires the photographer to visualize the scene to be photographed as an array of nine (in some books more) "tones" (light intensities or "Zones"): a deep, pure black shadow would be a Zone "one" and a pure white would be a Zone "nine". The middle of the range would be a "five".

    In practice, green grass, bare dirt, faded cement, old red bricks, faded bitumen, blue sky (opposite the sun) and the palm of your hand approximate to the middle step (i.e. Zone 5). (My palm is closer to Zone 5.5)

    Each zone is separated by a doubling of light intensity: i.e. one "stop" or one "Exposure Value".

    The simplest application (known as the keytone method) is simply to pick out
    a known tone, measure the required exposure with your lightmeter, assign it to a zone and expose accordingly.

    I can assure you it works like a charm!

    The tone need not be a "middle gray": it can be any of the nine, but (because, whatever you meter will be interpreted by your meter as being Zone five) you will need to open up or to stop down accordingly, in order to place your metered tonality correctly with regard to your exposure and pre-visualized intent.

    An "easy" way is to go for the most important highlight (or shadow) and act accordingly: the remaining tonalities will fall into place automatically.

    Effectively, you only need to make one measurement per exposure.

    This can be done with an ordinary "reflective" meter (I have several), providing you get close enough to the object (or its proxy) being measured.

    A spot meter (I have several more) is very handy insofar as you can do your metering from a distance.

    Neither meter will come up with an "automatic" answer: you will need to use your head every time...but it's not rocket-science either.
    Last edited by Galah; 09-15-2009 at 01:42 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Galah View Post
    OK. The Purists will tell you that you can't use The Zone System unless you engage in the corresponding development and printing processes/adjustments as well.
    Not "can't", but "don't".

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    Either is good for me because I like to reflect on the subject before taking the photograph. Taking time can improve on the photograph.
    So why use a meter to do that for you?


    And wouldn't that then be a "reflecting" meter?


  5. #15

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    Oh, the pun... the agonizing pun!!

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ektagraphic View Post
    I was reading about the Zone system...Is there anyone using the Zone system with a reflective light meter. I don't have a handheld spot meter but I would really like to get one.
    I am selling mine in the Classifieds section, it uses mercury batteries if you know how to replace them with modern ones like this article shows:

    http://bermudezderwin.org/blog/
    "Art is a lie that enables us to tell the truth" -Picasso
    http://www.jaimebermudez.com

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaimeb82 View Post
    I am selling mine in the Classifieds section...
    http://bermudezderwin.org/blog/
    What country are you in (I'm in Australia)?

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    OK, now I've got a question. Some call it a 'reflected' meter and some a 'reflective' meter. Which is correct?
    Please don't confuse me Ralph, I'm confused enough already.
    Ben

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