Quote Originally Posted by kbrede View Post
OK, I've been reading about all these different testing methods, and I realized I wasn't exactly sure what the purpose was. I was hoping to follow a testing method, and during the process all would become clear. So I thought about it last night. Please let me know if I'm on track, or where I'm going astray.

1. Testing for personal film speed is essentially learning how to accurately record dark parts of a scene, on film, with your personal equipment. Usually people pick zone III to calibrate to, but zone II could also be used if a person prefers that.

2. Finding your personal film development time, teaches you how long to develop, in order to print both darks and highlights in the range that you desire. Usually people pick zone VII as the upper highlight range to capture, but you could use zone VIII if you so desired.

3. Paper-black density test. Unexposed, developed film has some density, film base + fog. This test determines how many seconds it takes for a particular aperture/magnification to print near maximum black, or zone 0, on the paper you're using. These exposure settings allow us to standardize our print testing.

4. After discovering your EI for shadows and developing time for highlights, you should be able to efficiently record on film, and print, a normal contrast scene containing zone III through zone VII.
Yes I would say you about summed it up. If you want to delve deeper into this subject check out Adams, Phil Davis or Ralph Lambrecht. Ralph post here a lot.
Just don't end up testing too much just remember that.