How do *you* use LF exposure records? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Up to now, I've been pretty relaxed when taking negatives with my 4x5. Basically I just note down the range of zones, and how I should process the negative (+/- development).

I've decided that I should be a bit more diligent, and keep as much info as I can. In 'The Negative' there's an exposure record; I've also found various other ones on the net. The forms themselves are pretty straight forward, but I'm a bit confused as to what I should put in the zone 'boxes' on the form.

My guess is this:

1. Meter the important shadow area, and place that on whatever zone you want (say III). Mark down the meter reading in the box. 2. Meter the important high values, and then decide which zone you want those to be placed in. Fill in that box on the chart.

Then, if the difference between the boxes doesn't equal the actual number of stops difference in the scene, then you've got a +/- situation.

Is this right, or am I way off in left field?

Thanks very much!


-- Ken Miller (, November 10, 2001


Ansel was a very precise individual and wrote down all the info on the shot he could think of. Others just want to know the contrast range and that's it. I write down the name of the image and the contrast range. N, N+1, and so on. But sometimes I write down filters used, and color of light. Bright high sky, blue light, dusty sunlight. It makes a difference sometimes. But contrast range is really all you need. James

-- james (, November 11, 2001.

I use them to write down a bit of stuff for a short time after I get a new batch... then it peters off & I misplace them again. A never ending cycle that seems to repeat itself over the years. If you are the type who keeps good records & likes doing it you will use the info and keep up your files. If you are like so many of us the books, pages & stuff you buy will eventually end up going in a photo swap meet or getting lost somewhere.

-- Dan Smith (, November 11, 2001.

I used to keep elaborate records but found out that all I need to do is record + or - development on the film holder. I have all the information I need to make a decision about development at the time of exposure. Of course this is with film that I have tested with my equipment and know how it corresponds to my chemistry and methods. I

-- James Chinn (, November 11, 2001.

Don't evolve backwards. You are doing just fine with what you have been doing. Unless you are willing and able to do a complete evaluation of each exposure you record (measure transmission density against your exposure)and study the results, recording any information beyond plus or minus development takes valuable time away from what you are supposed to be doing in the field - making photographs.

-- Joe Lipka (, November 12, 2001.

Ken, My exposure record has columns for each zone (0-XI) and lines for four different meter readings/placements. I use a Pentax spot meter, and enter the EV number from the meter in the appropriate box, much as you describe. I find that knowing where the mid-tones will end up is just as important as overall contrast range. My forms also include a small "worksheet" for determining exposure compensation for filters and bellows extension as well as spaces for title, place, date, lens used, exposure (holder) number, film, planned development, development given, film used, film size and, of course, f-stop and shutter speed. I fill out a form for each pair of negs (I usually make two identical shots on different film). The form gets filed in my negative file along with the negative and is my best reference for date and place. Having the information is helpful when problems arise, especially light leaks from defective holders, etc. The forms might be a bit "busy", but one doesn't have to fill them out completely every time. Hope this helps, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, November 12, 2001.

I just have a notebook. I record date and time, meter reading(s), and the exposure I choose. If I think I want N plus or minus development, I record that. All this information gets transferred to the negative sleeve, along with development information.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, November 13, 2001.

Further to my post, here's the link to the forms that I found online, in case anyone wants to use them.

Thanks to all for their comments.


-- Ken Miller (, November 13, 2001.

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