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  1. #1

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    Exposure compensation and zone system - am I thinking correctly?

    I would just like to be certain I'm thinking this through clearly.

    Let's say I'm shooting portraits. Just a regular portraits, nothing fancy. Assume it's lighted simply and the camera is set to SPOT metering. Also assume, my subject is a white skinned person.

    If I meter on this person's face, the SPOT metering of the camera will place this person's face on ZONE 5. Because of the subject's tone, I wouldn't want this person's face to be in zone 5. I'd want the face to be in ZONE 4. I'd set camera's exposure compensation to be in +1.

    Now, USING THIS SETUP, I meter this person's face, LOCK THE EXPOSURE, recompose, and shoot.

    I'm not interested in knowing better ways of doing this, so please don't suggest. I am; however, interested in knowing if I am applying the correct logic, and using the zone system, metering system, and exposure compensation setting correctly.

    Thanks in advance.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  2. #2
    dehk's Avatar
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    If you want it to be in Zone 4 it will be EV-1 Zone 6 will be EV+1
    - Derek
    [ Insert meaningless camera listing here ]

  3. #3
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    You'd want a white face to be placed in zone VI, not IV. Open up one stop from the zone V reading.

  4. #4
    dehk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddie View Post
    You'd want a white face to be placed in zone VI, not IV. Open up one stop from the zone V reading.
    I was also thinking about saying that but maybe he's photographing something other than a white face. But yes, good point.
    - Derek
    [ Insert meaningless camera listing here ]

  5. #5

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    Yes, zone 6. I got that backwards. I'd want it one stop lighter than zone 5. Is my thinking correct otherwise?

    My whole point is, since it is a portrait, I want the face to be correctly exposed. I'm thinking through how I'd compensate for the fact metering system will place it in zone 5.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  6. #6
    eddie's Avatar
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    We were asked to assume it was " a white skinned person".

  7. #7
    eddie's Avatar
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    Yes. +1 will place it in zone VI.

  8. #8

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    Yes. The metered reading will place whatever you've metered on Zone V. Add exposure to move to a lighter zone.

  9. #9

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    Thank you VERY much.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  10. #10
    eddie's Avatar
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    As an aside, when I taught this stuff ( many years ago) I didn't have my students use plus or minus exposure compensation. I had them use the camera manually, and open up a stop ( in this hypothetical situation), as they seemed to grasp the concept better when they had to adjust the aperture. You could almost see them thinking, " OK, my meter says 1/60 at f.11, so I need to shoot at 1/60 at f.8." It did help reinforce how exposure works.

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