Quote Originally Posted by Usagi View Post
If you use Zone System only for capturing as much of subject brightness (scene) as possible on the film, you could just skip Zone System and use BTZS or similar. As there's no use for zones, just the the both ends of the (zone) scale.

Where is visualization which should be core of Zone System as I understand?

As for print having always 11 zones.. I don't agree with that.

If I have subject, say caucasian people and some important shadows. The skin is usually at VI. My visualization may differ, but if in this case I place important shadows to III. The skin fall's to V which is too low.
If there's not any important highlights, I can expose and develop by using N+2 and I will have negative which (in theory) is easy to print grade 2 paper so that shadows are detailed and rich, the skin has right value. Highlights may require some burning, depending on situation.
That print doesn't have 11 zones.

First, the issue you are describing (the spacing between subjects) is not really a zone system issue; it is a lighting issue, it can be solved with a touch of artificial light on the skin or when printing by using some judicious burning or dodging.

Second, yes, changing contrast rate does shorten the range of what prints from the film allowing the skin to print lighter. That's not always a good choice though. Micro contrast and skin texture may look right at normal development and easily look strained at +2.

Third, there are 11 print zones in the classic zone system, those zones have 11 corresponding zones in the scene, they all exist regardless of how many stops wide the scene is; if you doubt that, I suggest you go to the horses mouth and read "The Negative" by Ansel Adams.

That is not to say that the classic zone system is the only good way to think about visualization. People apply zone system principles in various ways.