Doremus, I agree with much of what you've written. In fact the part that's quoted above is basically the point of this thread. The quantifiable aspect of the paper that is important is the LER. Along with the the subject luminance range this determines the processing. This is something that Adams doesn't discuss, although he has target negative density ranges for both diffusion and condenser enlargers which indicates he knows that there needs to be a way of defining the parameters of the materials. Why doesn't he just take it a step further and connect the negative density range to the paper in a more direct way?
Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder
Individual Zones, either in the negative or print, are not possible to accurately peg in most circumstances. Flare and curve shape are two of the primary reasons. Yet there is a false sense of precision among Zone System practitioners. I believe part of the reason is because the Zone System is vague on the relationship between the negative and the print. Expression in the print making stage is very important. For me, the idea of testing is to define the working range and everything in between is fair game for printing. The world tends not to organize the relationship between scene luminances just to fit my creative needs. This is fixed in the printing. All the Zone System can do is to help determine how to fit the scene luminance range onto the paper log exposure range and that is basic sensitometry. The Zone System's innovation is providing a intuitive visual tool to help combine artistic expression with sensitometry.
Negative Zones are about defining the luminance range and consequently the processing. Remember in my original post about placing a scene luminance on Zone III? Other than determining where the point of exposure is within the context of the luminance range, what does this really mean if there isn't a meaningful connection with the print. What I'm suggesting is not about attempting to quantify the print Zones, but exactly the opposite. The fact that there are a number of equally plausible examples is proof of that. There is no specific negative density for Zone III that has a corresponding reflection density on the print. A lot of people don't understand this and strive for, or believe in a precision that doesn't exist.
Bill, something that I find very interesting is how the compression of the shadows is the opposite of what is desired visually. Munsell's studies found that the eye compresses darker tones, so in order for them to appear equally spaced, they needed to have more separation than the luminances alone would indicate.
Last edited by Stephen Benskin; 04-27-2013 at 01:26 PM. Click to view previous post history.