In many discussions about zone system that I have seen (including this thread), it seems that the starting point is to meter the important shadow and reduce exposure by 2 stops. So this implicitly indicates that one is using a reflective meter on camera. A handheld meter only tells the exposure of 18% gray. If you put a handheld meter in front of an important shadow area and take the reading, you cannot simply reduce the exposure by 2 stops. Imagine that we have a scene that includes a building under sunlight. The shadow of the building include some light, grey, and dark objects. If one takes a reading of the shadow with a handheld meter, and reduces the exposure by 2 stops, it means that the grey objects in shadow are put in zone III, and any objects darker than grey are lost. But if one uses a reflective meter and takes a reading of the dark objects in the shadow, that becomes a different story. I guess my questions is how much shadow details does one want to preserve then.

Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
Hi newtorf,

Zone System is meant to be used with a handheld meter! So just describe your meter or tell what model it is and someone here can tell you how to use it with the Zone System. Many of them work with a sticker that you can make yourself.

Spotmeters are best but if it is not a spotmeter, then you can walk right up to the thing you are metering and read very close to it (try not to put your shadow in the meter reading).

ps welcome erick and newtorf!