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  1. #21
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phfitz
    4)Any paper has limited RANGE of densities and a proper C.I. that looks correct. Basing film speed on .1 over base/fog only serves to make the thinnest possible negs and risks under-exposure.

    Too many old favorite films are disappearing and Z.S. testing is not very useful for getting 'up to speed' with the new films.

    Just a thought.
    Actually, it was many thoughts and I agree with the fourth one.

    I have always thought the .1 over f+b for Zone I benchmark to be absurd. In the first place, even films which do not exhibit pronounced shoulders have pronounced toes and Zone I is always way below the straight line portion of the curve. If you're wrong, how do you adjust it? Even when you get it exactly .1 over f+b, you have acquired exactly zero information about any portion of the pictorial scale which will have tone. If you're going to use a densitometer to determine your film speed, at least shoot for a density which gets Zone III up off of the toe, like around 0.4. Then you'll have a speed which is above the straight line threshold and your adjustments will be close to linear. (i.e., +1 stop adds 1 zone). At Zone I you have no idea what you're doing.

    I no longer agree with Adams' statement that "the correct exposure is the minimum exposure necessary to yield sufficient shadow detail". As often as not it's the maximum exposure one can give the film without blowing the highlights. But in any case Zone I tells you absolutely nothing about shadow detail. Meaningful shadow detail is at least two zones higher.

    Making a good print is mostly about matching the contrast of the paper to that of the negative. I don't see how it has anything to do with whether or not the film is new or old. 400TMax has a very straight line response curve out to a density of well over 2.5, much like that of Super XX. With both films the key is still matching the CI of the paper (or printing process) to that of the negative.

  2. #22

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    For some time I've wondered if AA (and whatshisname) would have "invented" the Zone System if he'd lived in the Northeastern US or Europe rather than in the West where the extreme contrasts of the clear high altitude light almost necessitate exact contrast control. Having photographed in the East for over 50 years (even in the days of Kodachrome I), I can count on my fingers the number of times when simple exposure bracketing didn't give me a fully printable negative.

  3. #23
    Stephen Benskin's Avatar
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    If we stick with the topic that Chuck started with, I'd say he is right. Many people simply say if Ansel said so, it must be right. Chuck is only bring up an observation. I don't think this is limited to Adams either. Almost everybody imitates their mentor at one time. How many posts are questions about how this photographer works or what film that photographer uses? At one time artists were required to copy the masters before they were allowed to paint subjects of their own choosing. There is nothing wrong with imitating artists that inspire you when you are learning. You just need to find your own voice at some point. Those who do become artists. What I think Chuck is wondering about is those who never find their own voice, may be limited to simply copying the masters.

    For all the others who are questioning the merits of the Zone System, it's a simplification of tone reproduction theory. Anytime anything is simplified, information is either lost or compromised. If you want to understand how photography really works, read about tone reproduction.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Les McLean
    Jan is absolutely spot on. The ZS is simply a tool and can be mastered in 1 day. It will help your confidence and free the mind to deal with the important issues of seeing and making meaningful images.
    Absolutely! I have often been astonished at how difficult some people make it in their convoluted explanations....which leads me to suspect that those doing the explaining probably do not understand it that well themselves. If they did, the simplicity would be blindingly obvious and their explanations much simpler.

    Tom

  5. #25
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Mitchell
    For some time I've wondered if AA (and whatshisname) would have "invented" the Zone System if he'd lived in the Northeastern US or Europe rather than in the West where the extreme contrasts of the clear high altitude light almost necessitate exact contrast control. Having photographed in the East for over 50 years (even in the days of Kodachrome I), I can count on my fingers the number of times when simple exposure bracketing didn't give me a fully printable negative.
    On the other hand, I find the bright sunny - and the bright rainy - days in Norway quite often require at least a passing thought to the ZS. A 14 stop contrast range is not uncommon at all around here.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  6. #26
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Mitchell
    For some time I've wondered if AA (and whatshisname) would have "invented" the Zone System if he'd lived in the Northeastern US or Europe rather than in the West where the extreme contrasts of the clear high altitude light almost necessitate exact contrast control. Having photographed in the East for over 50 years (even in the days of Kodachrome I), I can count on my fingers the number of times when simple exposure bracketing didn't give me a fully printable negative.
    If you bracket you are half way there, for all you have done is move the contrast up or down and as you say you are certain to have made a correct exposure. However, in many lighting conditions controlling contrast by development is essential if you are to arrive at a correctly processed negative, hence the need to spend a morning testing exposure and development and the afternoon putting the results of the tests into practice. Clearly, over a period of time you learn to use the ZS as second nature but that first day establishes the principles as to how it works,ad consequently starts to remove doubts of how to expose and develop for the prevailing lighting conditions.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Mitchell
    For some time I've wondered if AA (and whatshisname) would have "invented" the Zone System if he'd lived in the Northeastern US or Europe rather than in the West where the extreme contrasts of the clear high altitude light almost necessitate exact contrast control. Having photographed in the East for over 50 years (even in the days of Kodachrome I), I can count on my fingers the number of times when simple exposure bracketing didn't give me a fully printable negative.
    Well, I have some shots that took up to 35 minutes to expose, bracketing is not an option. Or if you are using 8x10 and larger. Having a system so that one can be sure to get all the information is better than nothing. But then it is just a system, it should not replace the "art" of making a photograph.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Les McLean
    If you bracket you are half way there, for all you have done is move the contrast up or down and as you say you are certain to have made a correct exposure. However, in many lighting conditions controlling contrast by development is essential if you are to arrive at a correctly processed negative, hence the need to spend a morning testing exposure and development and the afternoon putting the results of the tests into practice. Clearly, over a period of time you learn to use the ZS as second nature but that first day establishes the principles as to how it works,ad consequently starts to remove doubts of how to expose and develop for the prevailing lighting conditions.
    This is why I'm looking forward to Les workshop with Lee in May...to hopefully put the exposure part behind me and not have always jumbled up while trying to take a reading. What I would like to do is look at a potential photograph, find the areas of importance (to me) shadows and highlights, determine the exposure, be able to make an intelligent note about developing if needed and go off to find another. Know it's not always that simple, but darn should it always be so complicated.
    Mike C

    Rambles

  9. #29
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    As a way of getting back to the original posting about toners and the Zone movement --

    "Making a Photograph; Amsel Adams; 1948; pg.68-

    "The author is very conservative in his use of toners,preferring only the enrichment of the print values, and not being desirous of producing obvious
    color.

    ...The author prefers a print of cold blue-black tone as yielding the richest values when treated with the above-mentiond toners."

    the toners he mentions are KRST and Nelson Gold Toning formula.

    You also must keep in mind the photo-history of the time. He was of the "straight" photograpgy movement and a founder of Group F/64. Toners, other than for archival or value enhancement, and textured papers and
    fancy mounting were considered "pictorialism". :o Tools of the "fuzzy school" of photography- which Adams was crusading against.

    MHO,

    Garry
    "Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect."

  10. #30

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    I recently purchased a copy of the Adams book 'The negative'

    I have to say, having read it cover to cover, it covers the Zone system admirably, but that is something that can be learned in one day, he rest of the book is simply about placement and common sense.

    Graham.

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