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Subject: Re: Exposure to the right and tone placement



> Well stated, but didn't you know that digital is different and the Zone System does not apply to digital. :)

This point appears to be, ah, controversial. I brought it up in an e-mail exchange with someone I consider to be a master printmaker, and he snapped back that the Zone System was developed to previsualize a black-and-white print while shooting black and white film, and cannot be applied to digital capture.

It wouldn't make sense for me, a simple bumpkin living in the provinces, to argue with that guy. But, I thought...if I have a meter calibrated correctly to expose a medium-grey object such that it is rendered as a medium grey object without excessive fiddling within the raw image converter...then why would an area of tonality two stops brighter than that not be "previsualizable" as Zone VII -- at least in some way that's vaguely analogous to "real" Zone System thinking -- and even if I'm working in color and not in black and white? What am I missing here? Is there simply no analogy at all -- even if someone is shooting with the intent of making a black and white print from a color digital original?

Whatever the objectively correct answer to the controversial questions, one thing's for sure: that Sekonic meter of mine, which is not a super-cheapie and which I seriously doubt is way off the mark calibration-wise (its "take" on studio flash exposures is almost right on the money), gives me nasty underexposure when I use it for incident readings outdoors. This having happened often enough, I am wondering if the meter-for-the-highlights / develop-for-the-shadows approach is going to be the only one that's practical in extreme lighting conditions. Or, perhaps the metering technique has to change. As in: don't point the thing directly back at the camera, as is typical. Point it downward as if the light source were coming from the ground. Sounds completely ridiculous, but the ridiculous-sounding approach to incident metering would surely have given me better exposures at times when I did it in the conventional way.

Maybe "digital" really is only Kodachrome-25-On-A-Chip. :)

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