Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin View Post
- ... Doremus doesn't require the Zone System to understand his materials nor is it only possible to understand the materials using the Zone System. The Zone System is a good way to help visualize this process, but exposure is place and fall, and there is a tendency to believe there is more control with the Zone System than there really is. As with most things, the reality is somewhere in the middle.
Stephen,

Just to set the record straight: I do use the Zone System, just do the calibration without a densitometer ( la Minor White, Zakia, et al.). I think that applying sensitometry in an uncomplicated way helps make the system what it is, but its greatest advantage for me is as a visualizations tool. Extending that tool to include print controls seems only logical to me. Michael says it very well below.

Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
... The Zone System (Adams/Archer) is an introduction to visualization, spot metering and sensitometry with the goal of eliminating some of the guesswork involved in making negatives that contain the information required to make a print that carries the desired effect. Print controls are then they key to extracting the information from the negative, which is why they should be considered when making the exposure in the field. A careful reading of Adams and this becomes clear. You can't make great prints by trying to make negatives that print themselves.

Considering the Zone System is an introduction to the system of controls and sensitometric transitions from subject to print, to me the logical extension of it is tone reproduction theory. If one truly wants to be able to "place" subject luminances on expected print tones (and we can debate the utility of that), I believe a study of Jones, tone reproduction diagrams etc. is the way to go. That is how to extend the Zone System. Of course, that inevitably involves gaining a better understanding of exposure as well (film speed for example).
But, Micheal, I must differ with you that the Zone System is "an introduction." It is a simplification, intended to do away with much of the numerical data, Cartesian graphs, curve mapping and logarithms that are such a part of sensitometry. It works to help make adequate negatives, and that's all we need it for. One does need the ability to target areas of a scene for particular print values if one is serious about visualizing and making finely-crafted prints. The Zone System is complete and adequate to the task. If one wants to study sensitometry and tone reproduction on the other hand (worthy endeavors by all means), one doesn't need the Zone System.

Best,

Doremus