Densitometer : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I picked up a book (recommend by several on the net) on the Zone System by F. Picker called Zone VI Workshop. In it he recommends shooting a roll of B&W film using a gray card and varying the ASA. He then says to develop film and have it checked with a Densitometer. I called a local lab and they said that was a waste of time and that I should be going by the print and not the negative. Picker has a second step dealing with the print but according to him I should first do this film density step. I was wondering if others with more experience in the Zone System disagree with Picker or with my local lab. My first goal in all this is to calibrate my film and light meter. thanks,

-- anthony (, February 12, 1999


Your lab is misleading you, to put it mildly. If you give me a grey negative, I can print that grey anywhere from pure white to pure black, so looking at the print tells you very little, especially for photos of a grey card.

If you have a spotmeter, you can use it as a densitometer. Instructions are in "Beyond the Zone System" by Phil Davis, or quite possibly in this forum somewhere.

You can get less precise results without a densitometer, but in any case you certainly must look at the negs, not the print.

-- Alan Gibson (, February 12, 1999.

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