Metering for zone system : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Could anyone please tell me how to meter for zone syatem , i am using incident / reflected plararis flash meter and zoneVI 4x5 field camera. should i go for incedent or reflected metering and how should i calculate zones. please help. thank you all.

-- Sajjad (, December 28, 2000


This is a very complicated thing to try to explain in a single post on a BBS, but we were all beginners once, so there's no harm in giving a few pointers.

Start with a book like Ansel Adams' _The Negative_. It will explain how to test your materials, determine a personal film speed for your equipment and technique, figure out the contrast range of your film and paper, how to meter a scene (spot metering is the preferred mode) so that it will fit into that contrast range, and how to compensate for scenes that have too narrow or too broad a range of tones for your materials.

-- David Goldfarb (, December 28, 2000.

Yes, The Negative is the best book, but if you have any special Q., please e-mail me ( Alex

-- Alex (, January 01, 2001.

Another really good reference is Phil Davis' Beyond the Zone System. In there he explains an alternate system of metering using incedent light measurements that you already have the capability to do. He also describes the calibration of your materials very nicely.

-- Fritz M. Brown (, January 02, 2001.

Phil Davis' book, Beyond the Zone System, is really an alternative method of lighting based on ZS theory to produce negatives with full tonal range. Pages 62 ff. discuss incidence meter readings (which he prefers). True Zone System metering visualizes a particular shade/zone of grey for and object or part of the photograph. Typically, you "place" a shadow area on Zone III. Then the other areas of scene "fall" into other zones, and development is determined by the readings taken on them. This system requires a reflected spot meter of 1 degree. You really cannot do true ZS readings with an incidence meter. In a way, both systems get you to the same place, sort of.

-- D. Meriwether (, May 28, 2001.

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