Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/10/12

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Subject: Zone System
From: "Charles E. Love, Jr." <>
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 1996 13:13:47 -0400 (EDT)

The zone system concepts don't only apply to black and white, nor only to
sheet film.  If you do color slides, thinking in a simplified zone system
way can help achieve the proper exposure.  Slide film cannot stand to be
overexposed, so meter the highlights, and then decide how dense you want the
various items to be (compromise is often needed here), using the zone gray
scale (a company called "Zone VI" used to sell one to mount on Pentax spot
meters, but now they've been absorbed by Calumet--I am sure the scale is
available in many other forms).  You may then wind up adding or subtracting
stops from your meter reading (simple example: a sunset, where you meter
various areas in the sky, decide what zone the crucial one is in, and then
adjust the meter's recommended exposure to produce the desired effect).
This idea also permits you to look at the consequences for other (not
crucial) areas of the picture of various exposure choices.   I'll admit
right away that I use this to give me the place or places  to start
bracketing--film is cheap in comparison to camera equipment (especially our
favorite) and travel, and small differences in exposure can matter a lot
with transparency film.
Charles E. Love, Jr.
517 Warren Place
Ithaca, New York

Replies: Reply from "jose luis gonzalez" <> (Re: Zone System)