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Beyond the Zone System, 4th Edition

Book Description

This fourth edition of Beyond the Zone System makes the science of photographic sensitometry both accessible and useful to interested photographers. It will appeal to any serious photographer interested in knowing how the materials and processes of black-and-white photography work. Instead of describing rote procedures to be followed blindly, this book provides the basis for understanding what needs to be done and why. This book relates theory to practice in a way that promotes a true partnership of science and art.



Beyond the Zone System bridges the gap between the more theoretical aspects of the photographic process and the popular empirical procedures used by many photographers in the attempt to predict and control the quality of their photographs in practice.

This book is intended primarily for photographers who use large-format cameras and black-and-white sheet film, but the basic information about how the B&W photographic materials and processes work will be useful to users of any B&W film format.

Beyond the Zone System, 4th ed. will appeal to any serious photographer interested in knowing how the materials and processes of black-and-white photography work. Instead of describing rote procedures to be followed blindly, this book provides the basis for understanding what needs to be done and why. This book relates theory to practice in a way that promotes a true partnership of science and art.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Preface
  7. CHAPTER 1 Why Sensitometry?
  8. CHAPTER 2 Learning the Language
    1. What the Numbers Mean
    2. Arithmetic Series
    3. Geometric Series
    4. Stops
    5. Logarithms: Numerical Shorthand
    6. Graphs and Charts
    7. Exercises
  9. CHAPTER 3 How to Read and Interpret Characteristic Curves
    1. Some Terms Defined
    2. The Anatomy of a Characteristic Curve
    3. Film Image Formation
    4. Curve Gradient Measurements: Gamma (γ)
      1. Average Gradient (Ḡ)
      2. Contrast Index (CI)
    5. Curve Gradient vs. Developing Time
    6. Film Speeds
    7. How Development Affects Film Speed
    8. How Film Speeds Are Determined
      1. Effective Film Speed (EFS)
    9. The Paper Curve
    10. Standards for Calibrating Paper Curves
    11. The Useful Limits of the Paper Curve
    12. Review: The Tone Reproduction Cycle
  10. CHAPTER 4 From Theory to Practice
    1. Drawing Tools and Techniques
    2. Analyzing the Paper Curve
    3. Flare Compensation
    4. Analyzing the Film Curve
      1. Locating IDmin
      2. Locating IDmax
      3. Determining the Subject Range
    5. Finding Effective Film Speeds
    6. Preparing the Working Charts
  11. CHAPTER 5 The Densitometer Dilemma
    1. How Densitometers Work
    2. Adapting Your Spotmeter for Densitometry
    3. Setting Up the Spotmeter/Densitometer
    4. The Step Tablet
  12. CHAPTER 6 Testing Your Materials
    1. Testing Paper: Preparation
    2. The Callier Quotient
    3. Contact-Printing Test Procedure
    4. Calculating the Test Exposure Time
    5. Projection Testing
      1. Preparing the Step Tablet
    6. Projection Test Procedure
    7. Testing Film
    8. Determining the Film Test Exposure
    9. Developing the Test Films: Preparation
    10. Tray Development of Sheet Film
    11. Tube Development of Sheet Film
    12. Testing Roll Film
      1. Roll Film Test Exposure
      2. Roll Film Development
  13. CHAPTER 7 Interpreting the Curves for Working Data
    1. Drawing and Analyzing Paper Curves
    2. Drawing Film Curves
    3. Troubleshooting the Film Test
    4. Calibrating Film Curves
    5. Locating the Speed Points
    6. Analyzing Film Curves
    7. Review of Analysis Systems
    8. Review of Zones and Stops
    9. Extracting Zone System Data from the Curves
    10. Extracting Incident System Data from the Curves
    11. Alternative Data
  14. CHAPTER 8 Getting to Know Your Meter
    1. Meter Types: Luminance and Illuminance
    2. The Wide-Field Averaging Meter
    3. The Spotmeter
    4. The Standard Gray Card
    5. The Incident Meter
    6. Meter Calibration
    7. Relating Light Readings to Camera Settings
  15. CHAPTER 9 Exposure/Development Control Systems
    1. The Zone System
    2. The Concept of Zones
    3. Metering and Zone Placement
    4. The N-Numbers
    5. Traditional Test Methods
    6. Using the Working Charts: An Example
    7. An Alternative: The Incident Meter
    8. Determining the SBR with an Incident Meter
    9. Metering for the Incident System
    10. Appraising Results Without a Densitometer
    11. Common Mistakes
    12. Incident Metering of Unusual Subjects
    13. Creative Incident Metering
  16. CHAPTER 10 Image Gradation
  17. CHAPTER 11 The Systems Beyond
    1. Visualization Aids
    2. Computer-Assisted Photography
    3. Computer Software: Plotter and Matcher
  18. CHAPTER 12 Fine Tuning
    1. “Failure” of the Reciprocity Law
    2. Testing for Reciprocity Effects
    3. Testing for Flare
    4. Compensating Your Film Curves for Flare
    5. Film Development Variations
    6. Water-Bath Development
    7. Divided Development
    8. Altering Paper Contrast: Preexposure
    9. Paper Development Variations
    10. Post-Treatment of Prints
    11. Conclusion
  19. APPENDIX 1 Useful Equations
    1. Lens Formulas: f-numbers
    2. Lens Field Coverage Calculations
    3. Ḡ, SBR, N Conversions
    4. Depth-of-Field Calculations
  20. APPENDIX 2 Densitometer Design and Construction
  21. APPENDIX 3 Film Developing Tube
  22. APPENDIX 4 Practice Materials
  23. APPENDIX 5 The PowerDial
  24. Glossary
  25. Answers to Chapter 2 Exercises
  26. Index