In recently purchasing a 4x5 camera, I will take the LF plunge soon. I have been contemplating the best and most fool proof method to develop negatives so I have an easier task printing.

The Zone System seems to be the logical approach. If it was good enough for Ansel Adams, then why not me? I also like what Weston did with developing by inspection, once again - good enough for Weston, why not for me?

I try to study up on the Zone System, but find a lot of extremely complicated advice. It can't be that hard to record light on film in an effective manner.
What I have discerned is that I should use the Zone system to expose for the shadow details, because whether I under- or overdevelop, the low values will pretty much remain the same. On top of that, if I develop for the highlights, which the 'develop by inspection' method calls for, I should be covered?

I realize that nothing is as easy as one, two, three. But perhaps with a little trial and error this would be quite a successful way. Based on my own research, how can I go wrong? Is there something I'm missing?

With this post I am merely trying to discern the most effective way to make good negatives. I am not experienced with the Zone system, so my theory could be dead wrong.

Thankful for advice and information,

- Thomas
Saint Paul, MN