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  1. #11
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    To get the results of the Zone System without all the complications and rhetoric:

    1. Shoot the film at box speed.
    2. Take an average scene reading without the sky [This is for reference].
    3. Take the brightest reading where you want to maintain the texture.
    4. Take the darkest reading where you want to maintain the texture.
    5. Adjust the exposure to cover the range of #3 and #4.
    6. If the range in #5 is too great reduce the developing time and decreasing the exposed range and decreasing the contrast. If there is room to spare in the dynamic range of the film increase the processing and expand the used range [pushing the overall range of the film into the toe and the shoulder] and increasing the contrast.

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  2. #12
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    It is a way of simplifying the making of exposure and development decisions that will give you negatives you need to get prints you want. Ralph is correct: It is horrendously simple. That is the whole point of it, IMO. If it ceases to be a simplification, forget it. If you are confused in any way by it, forget it. It is not for you, and there are many other ways to work that will let you do just fine.

    I know how to use it....quite well, in fact. I still use it sometimes, and used to use it a lot. However, I do not hold it up on a pedestal. My problem with it is not technical, but "conceptual", you might say. My problem lies in the initial testing for "normality". The way I see it, it is not the testing of what a film's natural characteristics are so that they can be harnessed and used artistically. IMO, it forces films into a pre-defined box as to what "normality" is. The initial procedures take every film, and tweaks it into the same basic film, in terms of rough contrast. In Zone System methods, every film is manipulated into behaving a certain way from the start. All films are forced into the same mold with the initial testing procedures. All films are tweaked such that, when printed, they provide a certain low-toned and high-toned value at a certain amount of exposure and development, respectively. As such, I feel that Zone System methods take away much of the individual characteristics of films, instead of just letting them be what they are naturally, and learning to work with them. I feel that learning each film inside and out, metering for a midtone (incident metering), and judging the brightness range of the composition in order to make exposure and development tweaks works faster, is far less prone to "operator error", and in 90% of cases, gives the same exact exposure and development that your basic Zone System methods would call for. The difference is that the incident method requires understanding and being able to judge light to get what you want, while with the Zone System method, the spot meter hands you everything you need to know on a silver platter, and you specifically decide what tones certain elements of the composition will be. For the 10% of situations in which I know an incident meter will not be the ideal tool to give me what I want, I use the straight Zone System.

    Personally, when I have time, I use a combination of both methods. First things first: I calibrate my incident meter to my spot meter. Next, I take an incident reading and get my "base" exposure. Then, I set the spot meter to this exposure. This gives me an EV that lines up with the red dash. Then, I meter whatever luminance values within the composition that I want to measure. When I measure them, I am looking at how far from the "base" EV they are. Since I already know how my film behaves, I know what sort of a range it will capture at the "base" exposure, and what it will not. If it will not capture what I want, I manipulate exposure and development so that it will. This is so quick, and even if misjudgments are made, there is a printable negative anyhow, because the base reading was for middle grey (incident). IMO, straight tonal placement with a spot meter alone is far more error prone and has a steeper learning curve.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 01-11-2010 at 05:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  3. #13
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    My problem with it is not technical, but "conceptual", you might say. My problem lies in the initial testing for "normality". The way I see it, it is not the testing of what a film's natural characteristics are so that they can be harnessed and used artistically. IMO, it forces films into a pre-defined box as to what "normality" is. The initial procedures take every film, and tweaks it into the same basic film, in terms of rough contrast. In Zone System methods, every film is manipulated into behaving a certain way from the start. All films are forced into the same mold with the initial testing procedures. All films are tweaked such that, when printed, they provide a certain low-toned and high-toned value at a certain amount of exposure and development, respectively. As such, I feel that Zone System methods take away much of the individual characteristics of films, instead of just letting them be what they are naturally, and learning to work with them. I feel that learning each film inside and out, metering for a midtone (incident metering), and judging the brightness range of the composition in order to make exposure and development tweaks works faster, is far less prone to "operator error", and in 90% of cases, gives the same exact exposure and development that your basic Zone System methods would call for. The difference is that the incident method requires understanding and being able to judge light to get what you want, while with the Zone System method, the spot meter hands you everything you need to know on a silver platter, and you specifically decide what tones certain elements of the composition will be. For the 10% of situations in which I know an incident meter will not be the ideal tool to give me what I want, I use the straight Zone System.
    Well said.

    Each film is different. Learn the differences and choose your films accordingly.

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  4. #14
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndersPS View Post
    I┤ve read about the Zone system and understanding there are many photografers that use this meteringsystem. I think it was Fred Picker who invented the system, am I right?

    Now to the question; How does it work and what do I need to use it? Is just for those who shoot in midformat and largeformat?

    ///Anders S
    *******
    Hallo Anders,
    Because the Zone System works best with single sheets of film, it is most often associated with larger format.
    My advice is forget it. One of my favorite photographers, Winn Bullock, tried it and threw the meter into the trash.
    The essence of the system was taught to me by old, cigar-chewing professional photographers who practiced the dictum "Expose for the shadows; develop for the highlights."
    I keep it even simpler: I make sure my film get's enough exposure for the shadows in which I want detail; then I develop my film in a forgiving developer which helps to keep the highlights from "blocking up." I use D23. Others might suggest Rodinal, a "compensating" developer.
    Oh, and FWIW, Ansel Adams is usually associated with developing the Zone System.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  5. #15
    Toffle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anscojohn View Post
    *******

    I keep it even simpler: I make sure my film get's enough exposure for the shadows in which I want detail; then I develop my film in a forgiving developer which helps to keep the highlights from "blocking up."
    Or simpler still... make sure there's film in your camera. You only need to find yourself 50 miles into a national park without film once to learn that lesson for a lifetime. :rolleyes: (true story... 1985, Algoma Central Railway. Breathtaking scenery. )
    Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

    Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...

    http://tom-overton-images.weebly.com


  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndersPS View Post
    I┤ve read about the Zone system ...
    Now to the question; How does it work and what do I need to use it? Is just for those who shoot in midformat and largeformat?

    ///Anders S

    Check out this thread :

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum216/...5mm-zoner.html

  7. #17
    AndersPS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anscojohn View Post
    *******
    Hallo Anders,
    Because the Zone System works best with single sheets of film, it is most often associated with larger format.
    My advice is forget it. One of my favorite photographers, Winn Bullock, tried it and threw the meter into the trash.
    The essence of the system was taught to me by old, cigar-chewing professional photographers who practiced the dictum "Expose for the shadows; develop for the highlights."
    I keep it even simpler: I make sure my film get's enough exposure for the shadows in which I want detail; then I develop my film in a forgiving developer which helps to keep the highlights from "blocking up." I use D23. Others might suggest Rodinal, a "compensating" developer.
    Oh, and FWIW, Ansel Adams is usually associated with developing the Zone System.
    Right now I'm shooting with 35mm, but want to learn as much as possible about many things in the world of photography. Sometimes, if I get any good, in the future I want to shoot with largeformat and ask things I wonder about when I still remember them. Then I can go back in time and see what you people answered

    Thank you again all for your fast and many answers!!!

    ///Anders S

  8. #18

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    Regardless of which system mentioned above you follow, if you are applying it to roll film make sure you don't need plus or minus developing times on the same roll. Each exposure should need the same development: n or n-plus(es) or n-minus(es). It is more easily applied to sheet film because you can label the film holders as to what development is called for.

  9. #19
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Anders,
    What Jeffrey G says is correct. Long ago it was recommended to me that one of the advantages of D23 is that it is 'semi'-compensating. Because it seems to be a "forgiving" developer, there is less need to be concerned about "checkerboard" rolls of film containing both high and low contrast scenes.
    Use whatever system for exposing which gives you adequate shadow detail where desired, give full development of the film, and allow the "semi-compensating" nature of the developer keep the high tones from getting so dense they are not easily printable. Contrast adjustments then can be made using paper and paper development.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Jan View Post
    But,
    when decreasing the development, your zone III will be downgraded to for instance a zone II because it needs the complete development time. So this will lose details in the shadow, therefor you will have to overexpose a little to compensate the development time loss.
    Development is completed in the shadows much sooner than in the highlights, this is why exposure is the primary control mechanism for the shadows while the highlight areas are controlled by exposure and development, but the development time is the primary control mechanism for the final density in the negative.

    With extreme development modifications like +2, -2, -3, etc...the low values can shift. For the OP, no use going into great detail here, but I would get The Negative and dive in-------your photography will improve.

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