Can the Zone System Go Digital?

In a word: YES! The Zone System (ZS) can be an integral and important part of any digital photographer’s workflow because it allows you to plan and predict an image’s tonal values rather than letting the camera make the decision. The computerized metering systems in modern cameras are really amazing, and a lot of the

Film Testing, Testing, Testing

In a recent newsletter, I mentioned wanting to do some testing – something I feel I ought to do regularly.  One of Ansel’s favorite quotes (attributed to Pasteur) was “chance favors the prepared mind.” Having started his creative life as a musician, he brought that musician’s discipline to his photography – the equivalent of a

Meter Calibration

According to Ted Orland’s poster Photographic Truths:  “No two light meters agree.”  Sadly, that does seem to be pretty much the truth – unless you do something about it.

For years I had a pair of supposedly “matched” Pentax digital spot meters that were never closer than 1/3 of a stop from each other – so I had to remember which meter I used for film tests and which one I had in the field.  One of these meters had an accident and got sent off to its maker for a rebuild – and came back 2/3 of a stop away from where it had been, now 1/3 higher than the meter it had been lower than!  So I sent the other meter off to its maker and after two months got it back about the same as when I had sent it.  Which meter was right?

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