Quote Originally Posted by newtorf View Post
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.
Which is why some folks have migrated to Phil Davis's Beyond the Zone System and rely on an incadient meter. I use a modified Zone System for sheet film so I dont have much experaince with Davis's system but much of the work I have seen is quite good. I think both are very useful and have strong and weak points, what works, works.