[SURVEY] The zone system for 35mm

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Stu, Apr 23, 2004.

  1. Stu

    Stu Guest

    Just a quick poll too see how everyone feels about the zone system for 35mm.

    [ ] I think the zone system is awesome

    [ ] I share Michael Scarpitti's views about the zone system and think it SUCKS.
     
    Stu, Apr 23, 2004
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. Stu

    Bandicoot Guest

    Awesome - insofar as its creation was an awesome achievement.

    However whilst I'm very glad that I understand it, I almost never apply it
    fully. An understanding of zones is enormously helpful in metering a
    difficult scene - doubly so with colour slide film - but I almost never use
    the adjusted development part of the system, not because it isn't a good
    idea, but because it is a complex way of achieving results I can get close
    _enough_ to without it most of the time.



    Peter
     
    Bandicoot, Apr 23, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. Stu

    Lewis Lang Guest

    Subject: [SURVEY] The zone system for 35mm
    [x] I share Michael Scarpitti's views about the zone system and think it
    awesomely
    SUCKS.

    [x] Its a tool turned into religion --- no, wait aminute, religion is less dry
    and more fun and some are even less toxic and boring (than the zone system).

    [x] Shutup and by me a roll of Kodachrome! (...orSensia or E100VS.

    [x] Hello, does anybody out there take pictures anymore?
     
    Lewis Lang, Apr 23, 2004
    #3
  4. I conceed that a complete, exposure-by-exposure, implementation of the
    Zone system is impractical. That doesn't mean I can't use zone
    principles and a spot meter to expose my film in a systematic way. By
    taking multiple readings, I can predict what zone various subject areas
    will 'fall' on. Very handy - no braketing or guessing involved.

    -Greg
     
    Greg Campbell, Apr 23, 2004
    #4
  5. Stu

    columbotrek Guest

    The right tool for the job:

    If you want to practice the zone system with 35mm to see how it works,
    then by all means have at it. 35mm film is cheep enough though that
    bracketing off a few extra to be sure is a great way to go. Don't have
    to take multiple readings and figure ratios. On the other hand if you
    are paying for sheet film for large format bracketing off a few extra is
    going to impact your bottom line quite a lot. So taking the time to get
    it right the first time make a lot of sense. Kinda of have to ask
    yourself which is worse. Knowing how to do something you don't need. Or
    needing to do something you don't know how to do?
    --
    "How can there possibly be liberty and justice for all, when, in the
    name of justice, people claim rights to income, food, housing,
    education, health care, transportation, ad infinitum? We can't. Positive
    rights to receive such things, absent an obligation to earn them, must
    violate others' liberty, by taking some of their income without their
    consent. They are really just wishes, convertible into benefits for some
    only by employing the government to violate others' rights not to have
    what is theirs taken." --Pepperdine Professor Gary Galles
     
    columbotrek, Apr 23, 2004
    #5
  6. Stu

    Alan Browne Guest

    Neither. It is not awesome, it is a tool and an approach to photography.

    Understanding the zone system is useful in exposing the film such as to
    fit the scene range within the capability of the film. Perversely, I
    find understanding this useful for the films least well suited for the
    zon system: slide.
     
    Alan Browne, Apr 23, 2004
    #6
  7. Stu

    Frank Pittel Guest

    Interesting troll.

    It's a well accepted fact amoung those that have any ability at photography knows
    that the zone system is the best way to go.


    : Just a quick poll too see how everyone feels about the zone system for 35mm.

    : [ ] I think the zone system is awesome

    : [ ] I share Michael Scarpitti's views about the zone system and think it SUCKS.


    --




    Keep working millions on welfare depend on you
     
    Frank Pittel, Apr 24, 2004
    #7
  8. Stu

    Bandicoot Guest

    Isn't that an oxymoron?

    ;-)



    Peter
     
    Bandicoot, Apr 24, 2004
    #8
  9. Stu

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I tried it and got firmer, longer lasting . . . photos . . . yeah, photos . . .
    that's what we're talking about . . . what was the question?
    Definitely agree about that . . . and maybe he even spent too much time playing
    with all those chemicals . . . . anyway, thanks Mr. Scarpitti for contributing to
    the Massive Developer Chart . . . now where was I . . . . . . . . . . oops, time's
    up . . . see you next session . . . . . . . .

    Remember kids, don't try this at home . . . it makes a mess of the carpet.
     
    Gordon Moat, Apr 24, 2004
    #9
  10. Stu

    Bob Hickey Guest

    system of some kind, any kind, to get what you are looking for. The ZS has
    saved me more film and paper than I can imagine. As far as developement
    goes, most days stay pretty much the same for the few hours I spend shooting
    on Sunday, so adding or subtracting dev time isn't hard to figure. Of
    course, I never leave film in. Bob Hickey
     
    Bob Hickey, Apr 24, 2004
    #10
  11. Stu

    Mike Guest

    Just a quick poll too see how everyone feels about the zone system for
    35mm.
    I typically adjust contrast through VC printing. However I'll use Zone
    System principles to occasionally extend/reduce development time if I know
    that most of the exposures on the roll are N-1, N+1, etc.
     
    Mike, Apr 24, 2004
    #11
  12. Stu

    Lewis Lang Guest

    Subject: Re: [SURVEY] The zone system for 35mm
    It is a well accepted opinion. And calling it a fact via your opinion makes it
    no les of an opinion. The zone system is merely a tool, it is no the best way
    to go, just an approach that helps some people get where they're going and to
    others its useless for their approach to photography, even to those others who
    understand it its still useless. As a point of analogy, just because I know how
    to use filters doesn't make it a necessity or even useful. Depends on the
    photographer and the situation. Same with the zone system. It has its uses...
    and not.
     
    Lewis Lang, Apr 24, 2004
    #12
  13. Stu

    UrbanVoyeur Guest

    I thin the one system is awesome. I use it in every photo I make.
     
    UrbanVoyeur, Apr 24, 2004
    #13
  14. Stu

    Frank Pittel Guest

    : >Subject: Re: [SURVEY] The zone system for 35mm
    : >From: Frank Pittel
    : >Date: Fri, Apr 23, 2004 7:38 PM
    : >Message-id: <>
    : >
    : >Interesting troll.
    : >
    : >It's a well accepted fact amoung those that have any ability at photography
    : >knows
    : >that the zone system is the best way to go.

    : It is a well accepted opinion. And calling it a fact via your opinion makes it
    : no les of an opinion. The zone system is merely a tool, it is no the best way
    : to go, just an approach that helps some people get where they're going and to
    : others its useless for their approach to photography, even to those others who
    : understand it its still useless. As a point of analogy, just because I know how
    : to use filters doesn't make it a necessity or even useful. Depends on the
    : photographer and the situation. Same with the zone system. It has its uses...
    : and not.

    What good is troll if it doesn't cause a flame war? :) With very few exceptions
    I work with 4x5 exclusivly<SP?> and then of that most of it is done in B&W. In
    that regard the ability of increasin or decreasin negative contrast is trivial.

    Of course the most important aspect of the zone system is previsualizing what the
    final image will look like before making the exposure. Unlike Ansel Adams who
    used the term visualizing or vivisualization<SP?> I use the term previsualize because
    it's something you do before making the exposure.

    When you make an exposure do you see "in your mind" what the final image will
    look like?
    --




    Keep working millions on welfare depend on you
     
    Frank Pittel, Apr 25, 2004
    #14
  15. Stu

    Lewis Lang Guest

    Subject: Re: [SURVEY] The zone system for 35mm
    :)

    With very few exceptions
    Well if you work in 4x5" b&w it would seem to me that the ability to increase
    and decrease contrast on a per sheet basis of film is not trivial but just the
    oppositte, did you mean "not trivial" and forget to type the "not"?
    Sure, but with (color) slide film its (the zone system) not a factor and with
    b&w (which I rarely do anymore) its also not a factor as I usually burn and
    dodge anyway for contrasty situations to get what I need, don't shoot
    landscapes and/or when a landscape or sky is in a shot with too much of a
    contrast range for the film to handle I either would expect that I will
    burn/dodge sometime later, move onto another background (if its contrast was an
    overwhelmingly negative factor) or shoot under flatter light (wait for clouds
    to roll by or an overcast day). But this is just supposing on my part - I
    usually luck out and get a great sky/lighting or work around what I have by
    coming in close to the subjct and have them fill up most of the frame, use fill
    flash and/or or move them to the shade. I can see how someone who shoots
    landscapes in 4x5" b&w would find use in the zone system but its not all that
    useful for my needs/purposes as I used to overexpose slightly and possibly
    under develop, pick the best contrast filter(s) for the scene when enlarging
    onto paper then dodged and burned as required.
     
    Lewis Lang, Apr 25, 2004
    #15
  16. Stu

    Deathwalker Guest


    Its now called matrix metering
     
    Deathwalker, Apr 25, 2004
    #16
  17. Stu

    TP Guest


    Alas, no, it isn't.

    Matrix metering takes no account of film latitude/dynamic range. It
    gives you the same reading whether you are using low contrast or high
    contrast film, black-and-white or colour, negative or slide.

    Matrix metering cannot possibly reproduce the accuracy - and
    sophistication - of the Zone System, properly applied. Whether there
    is any *need* for the Zone System is a moot point, but you cannot use
    matrix metering as a substitute for it.
     
    TP, Apr 25, 2004
    #17
  18. Stu

    Frank Pittel Guest

    : >
    : >"Stu" wrote:
    : >> I think the zone system is awesome
    : >
    : >Its now called matrix metering


    : Alas, no, it isn't.

    : Matrix metering takes no account of film latitude/dynamic range. It
    : gives you the same reading whether you are using low contrast or high
    : contrast film, black-and-white or colour, negative or slide.

    : Matrix metering cannot possibly reproduce the accuracy - and
    : sophistication - of the Zone System, properly applied. Whether there
    : is any *need* for the Zone System is a moot point, but you cannot use
    : matrix metering as a substitute for it.

    The nice part about the cameras that "automatically" set the exposure is
    that the automatically get it wrong every time. :) On the positive side
    it is predictable and a good camera lets you shift the exposure.

    --




    Keep working millions on welfare depend on you
     
    Frank Pittel, Apr 25, 2004
    #18
  19. Stu

    Frank Pittel Guest

    : >Subject: Re: [SURVEY] The zone system for 35mm
    : >From: Frank Pittel
    : >Date: Sun, Apr 25, 2004 12:56 AM
    : >Message-id: <>
    : >
    : >: >Subject: Re: [SURVEY] The zone system for 35mm
    : >: >From: Frank Pittel
    : >: >Date: Fri, Apr 23, 2004 7:38 PM
    : >: >Message-id: <>
    : >: >
    : >: >Interesting troll.
    : >: >
    : >: >It's a well accepted fact amoung those that have any ability at photography
    : >: >knows
    : >: >that the zone system is the best way to go.
    : >
    : >: It is a well accepted opinion. And calling it a fact via your opinion
    : >makes it
    : >: no les of an opinion. The zone system is merely a tool, it is no the best
    : >way
    : >: to go, just an approach that helps some people get where they're going
    : >and to
    : >: others its useless for their approach to photography, even to those others
    : >who
    : >: understand it its still useless. As a point of analogy, just because I
    : >know how
    : >: to use filters doesn't make it a necessity or even useful. Depends on
    : >the
    : >: photographer and the situation. Same with the zone system. It has its
    : >uses...
    : >: and not.
    : >
    : >What good is troll if it doesn't cause a flame war? :)

    : :)

    : With very few exceptions
    : >I work with 4x5 exclusivly<SP?> and then of that most of it is done in B&W.
    : >In
    : >that regard the ability of increasin or decreasin negative contrast is
    : trivial.
    : >

    : Well if you work in 4x5" b&w it would seem to me that the ability to increase
    : and decrease contrast on a per sheet basis of film is not trivial but just the
    : oppositte, did you mean "not trivial" and forget to type the "not"?

    It's actually very simple. When I go out I meter the "important" shadows and
    highlights and I make a note on the film for readyloads or in a notebook for
    filmholders the amount of development needed to give me a "standard" contrast
    for the negative in terms of N+ or N-. When I develop the negatives I develop
    the film needing the same amount of development together. It's not hard at all.


    : >Of course the most important aspect of the zone system is previsualizing
    : >what the
    : >final image will look like before making the exposure. Unlike Ansel Adams
    : >who
    : >used the term visualizing or vivisualization<SP?> I use the term previsualize
    : >because
    : >it's something you do before making the exposure.
    : >
    : >When you make an exposure do you see "in your mind" what the final image
    : >will
    : >look like?
    : >--

    : Sure, but with (color) slide film its (the zone system) not a factor and with
    : b&w (which I rarely do anymore) its also not a factor as I usually burn and
    : dodge anyway for contrasty situations to get what I need, don't shoot
    : landscapes and/or when a landscape or sky is in a shot with too much of a
    : contrast range for the film to handle I either would expect that I will
    : burn/dodge sometime later, move onto another background (if its contrast was an
    : overwhelmingly negative factor) or shoot under flatter light (wait for clouds
    : to roll by or an overcast day). But this is just supposing on my part - I
    : usually luck out and get a great sky/lighting or work around what I have by
    : coming in close to the subjct and have them fill up most of the frame, use fill
    : flash and/or or move them to the shade. I can see how someone who shoots
    : landscapes in 4x5" b&w would find use in the zone system but its not all that
    : useful for my needs/purposes as I used to overexpose slightly and possibly
    : under develop, pick the best contrast filter(s) for the scene when enlarging
    : onto paper then dodged and burned as required.

    : >Keep working millions on welfare depend on you
    the film needing the same amount of development together. It's not hard at all.

    In the case of slide film and color film the in my never humble opinion the most
    important aspect of the zone system comes into play. The previsualization and the
    ability to ability to decide where to place the shadows and highlights of the image.

    In the case of slide and color negative film this is again in my opinion very important
    given the limited range of the film and the inability to control the contrast. Once
    again when you make an exposure can you see in your mind what the final image will
    look like? Have you ever come across a situation with slide film where you knew
    that the contrast of the scene was beyond the range of the film and shifted the
    exposure to give you the result that you want?
    --




    Keep working millions on welfare depend on you
     
    Frank Pittel, Apr 25, 2004
    #19
  20. Stu

    TP Guest


    That presupposes that there is *only one* correct exposure for every
    shot. There isn't, but we should perhaps forgive the unthinking Zone
    System aficionados for believing that there is ...

    ;-)
     
    TP, Apr 25, 2004
    #20
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.