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09-12-2016, 08:08 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
As originally proposed, this was the case. That being said, it is obvious that Zone 0 is absolute, while the scale itself is open-ended from the standpoint of luminance. Ansel Adams used it in that sense. In practical terms, Zone X is the limit in terms of perception (most people can't tell the difference between Zones X and XI) and definitely in terms of display medium.
Okay, I think I get it. This is especially the case seeing as the book I have on it states (rightly or wrongly) that every zone is also worth a stop of exposure (which greatly simplified the understanding of the whole thing for me).

I guess the issue then is as much my understanding that whitest whites and blackest blacks (freshly whitewashed walls versus black cats in coal cellars) continue to exist in and of themselves regardless of how much ACTUAL LIGHT is shining on them. If it is an argument of tonality and "shades of grey", then the Zone system - like Star Trek's warp factors - has to end at ten; if it is an argument as to how bright something is, well yeah, that's another matter.

I will hypothetically go to the surface of Sirius B and point my camera downwards and get a picture at something approaching Zone Gazillion; I will get as close as I dare to Cygnus X-1 to do the same thing and I will get Zone Zero (and if I go too close then even an LX or a K-1 will not stand up to what happens next).

09-12-2016, 09:11 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
that every zone is also worth a stop of exposure (which greatly simplified the understanding of the whole thing for me).
Yep! One stop per step and 18% gray at Zone V are the keys as far as metering and placing exposure go. Keeping all pertinent zones in the linear response range on the negative is where film choice, exposure index, and processing come in.

I find it helpful to consider that the Zone System is a perceptual system and was conceived working backward from a monochrome print where the darkest tones are determined by the silver-based emulsion (or ink as the case may be) and the lightest tones are determined by the reflectivity of the paper base. There is no detail at dMax for silver/ink or at paper white. Assuming linear response and dynamic range of 9 stops, an 11-step exposure wedge may be used to visualize the sequence. Since there is a mathematical relationship between tones, Zone V falls to a middle gray (18% in printer's parlance). The middle gray corresponds to the calibration point of most light meters. Note that the 9 stops of dynamic range is perceptual and somewhat arbitrary. Zones I and IX are assumed to have detail, but no texture. Unless reduced texture is desired (e.g. high key work), critical areas of the subject should be placed within zones II to IIX. Note the emphasis on the word "placed". Appropriate exposure and processing places the the subject's tones within the limits of the photographic system.

I think you can see why questions regarding meter accuracy often result in snarky comments from knowledgeable users on this site. I try not to be snarky, but give a standard response that the metered exposure will return a centered histogram (middle gray) for an exposure on an evenly-lit blank wall. Appropriate exposure, OTOH, will reproduce a reasonable range of texture for the subject and will account for the dynamic range within the frame.

More than you needed, eh?


Steve
09-12-2016, 09:53 AM - 1 Like   #18
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I had never heard of zone XI and I have to say it makes me chuckle and think of This is Spinal Tap.
09-12-2016, 09:53 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I will get as close as I dare to Cygnus X-1

Of course, Larry Niven would remind you not to let tidal forces turn you into a thin, gummy residue...


Steve--I'm curious, does the quick-and-dirty, "put any shadow detail you want to keep in Zone III" approach work out in the field, or do more considered approaches usually give better results? If there's enough DR inherent in modern negatives, I'd be tempted to use a GR II as a light meter and hope for the best.

09-12-2016, 10:18 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by CreationBear Quote
Steve--I'm curious, does the quick-and-dirty, "put any shadow detail you want to keep in Zone III" approach work out in the field
I am unfamiliar with that approach. I am a little lazy and will confess to using incident metering (equivalent to gray card metering with your GR II) and assuming the shadows will place at Zone II or higher. I use that method almost exclusively when shooting color.


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09-12-2016, 10:30 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I am a little lazy

Thanks! I'm usually lazy and not-a-little gassed when out and about, so the fewer things to worry about, the better. (FWIW, I realize the 67ii has a nice meter available, but the 67--especially with a chimney finder--is probably at a better price point for me.)
09-12-2016, 11:56 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by CreationBear Quote
Of course, Larry Niven would remind you not to let tidal forces turn you into a thin, gummy residue...
Final PF forums post as I drop beyond the Event Horizon: "Having problems with zoom creep on Cygnus X-1 mission, can anyone he...."

No.

No, they can't.

I must admit my use of the Zone system is currently limited to making sure my camera's internal meter doesn't make a fool of me; for objects I can actually approach, I have taken to using an older Sekonic incident meter and this rarely steers me wrong. How exactly I am supposed to "place" shadow detail in a particular zone, I am currently unsure... but after due reflection, I think I am beginning to understand.
09-12-2016, 02:08 PM - 2 Likes   #23
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It can't be scanned by my Pakon F135+ film scanner.

Chris

09-16-2016, 12:32 PM   #24
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The reason I like color slide film for landscapes is because of its tiny dynamic range. Low-contrast scenes captured on high-contrast film (which is another way of thinking about color slide film) tend to look gorgeous with little or no post-processing. Shooting color slide film makes me look for especially beautiful light. A DSLR can also produce gorgeous images in that light. But if I have a DSLR I know I can get away with less interesting light, and maybe I don't try so hard. Most of my favorite color landscapes are high-contrast renderings of relatively low-contrast scenes, whether captured with film or digital. Shooting color slide film forces me to think in those terms.

And shooting b/w film forces me to visualize b/w images. A DSLR is a fantastic tool for making b/w images, but I think differently when I have a DSLR in hand, knowing I can defer the color or b/w decision till later.

I'm not dissing digital -- I love the technology and what it offers. Just saying that limitations can change one's perspective in useful ways.
09-16-2016, 01:15 PM - 1 Like   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
Low-contrast scenes captured on high-contrast film (which is another way of thinking about color slide film) tend to look gorgeous with little or no post-processing.

That's really nicely put--I don't think I've ever taken a shot on a blue-sky day, so it sounds as if film will certainly fit what I'm looking for...here in the Smokies, ten shots on Velvia 50 coming through the holler and another roll of Portra up on a misty bald might make for a good morning's work.
09-21-2016, 07:30 PM   #26
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Used competently, there is not a lot that film cannot do. Very easy to become carried away on the digital camera gravy train. Much more fun to stay put in analogue and learn the craft of photography rather than let a camera do all the work on P for Professional for you...

I would never ever use anything other than transparency film for my landscape work, and I have been doing this since 1977, initially with Ektachrome and Kodachrome. For portrait work in the studio I'm pretty well settled, for a very long time, on TMax 100 or Portra 160, run through a Hassie 503cxi.

Nor would I use anything less than a multispot meter with today's emulsions, so I can work in a lot of lighting conditions, but generally those favoured by the film in use. I don't give a stuff about floss and fanfare about the Zone System (it was unheard of when I started my classic training in '77, only becoming fashionable as a conversation piece among chardonnay socialists).

baron-ite
is correct about low-contrast scenes photographed on high contrast film, such as Velvia, and the less contrastier brethren of Provia 100 and 400X. Scanning done, I don't schedule any work in post, other than replacing a smidgeon of sharpness lost in the scan step and (sometimes) adding brightness of 0.5 to counter printer loss. These last details are left to the lab's discretion, not mine. Their only other duty is to present a finished RA-4 print that will sell.
09-22-2016, 06:54 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
Used competently

DSLR's have definitely made me sloppy with exposures--I think I'll have a steeper learning curve with the light meter than anything else. Always being a half stop away from disaster with slide film back in the day was one of the reasons I set aside my SLR for couple of decades.
09-22-2016, 09:45 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by CreationBear Quote
DSLR's have definitely made me sloppy with exposures--I think I'll have a steeper learning curve with the light meter than anything else. Always being a half stop away from disaster with slide film back in the day was one of the reasons I set aside my SLR for couple of decades.
The 645Z has made me horrendously sloppy with exposures, all I do now is check whether the histogram is clipping or not, and figure out the rest in post. I'm not sure I could go back to even having to constantly double-check the exposure on my Canon to maintain ETTR, never mind the guessing game that is film. I'd have to keep a digicam with me all the time to meter with.
09-22-2016, 09:56 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kolor-Pikker Quote
I'd have to keep a digicam with me all the time to meter with.

Ha, I've contemplated keeping a GRII with my MF kit for the same reason--though at my age the temptation on a long hike to cache the 20 kilos of gear and just take the Ricoh to the summit might be too great...
09-22-2016, 12:38 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by CreationBear Quote
... if you take it as a given that you're giving away some DR over digital, are there any landscape applications that are hard to pull off even with a properly exposed slide/negative?
Only on positive film is DR less than digital right now; otherwise, it's not. Do you believe that the, say, 14 EV "Engineering" DR advertised by the manufacture is really the DR you'll use in your print in a single exposure on digital?
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