The Zone System was developed by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer in the 1940

The Zone System
The Zone System was developed by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer in the 1940's. Many photographic writers have re-invented the system but the definitive texts on the subject are still Ansel Adams book The Negative, and The New Zone System Manual by White, Zakia and Lorenz. The Zone system is designed for negative film but has applications to any digitally produced images. See also my notes on Digital Cameras By convention, the Zone System divides the range of tones produced by a printing paper into ten Zones. These Zones, by convention, are expressed in Roman Numerals. Zone 0 (no Roman Numeral for 0) is the blackest black the paper will produce and Zone IX is pure white paper with no image tone. The Zone System hinges on the limitations of printing paper. While film will record a wide range of luminance from the deepest shadows to bright highlights in a ratio of about 1:128, printing paper can only reproduce a reflected range of about 1:30. The trick in printing is to fit the wide latitude of the film into the narrow latitude of the paper. In a traditional darkroom we can adjust black and white film development time to increase or decrease the contrast range of the film, or we can select paper grades or Multi-grade filters to increase or decrease the range of the paper. In the digital darkroom, we are limited to one paper grade, but we have the enormous advantage of digital-image-manipulation using programs like Corel's PhotoPaint or Adobe's Photoshop. The choice of ten Zones is based on sensitometric data. ZoneV is a mid grey based on the "average grey"

When I first approached digital darkroom technology, I was frustrated by the inconsistencies between how the image looked on my monitor and printed from my Epson Photo700 printer. Even with my scanner, monitor and printer calibrated

file:///O|/WebStore/Jan_29/The%20Zone%20System%20...Adams%20and%20Fred%20Archer%20in%20the%201940.htm (1 of 2)2/1/2004 11:07:13 AM

htm (2 of 2)2/1/2004 11:07:13 AM . -2. i. Back to index See use of Zone System file:///O|/WebStore/Jan_29/The%20Zone%20System%20. ink and paper. but it may need some tweaking to work with your system. Zone VII is +2 stops.. uniform mid grey tone. Then it occurred to me that the Zone System principles would apply as readily to digital printing as they would to traditional film and paper. The Zones above Zone V correspond to exposure increases of one stop. Similarly. with the correct colour profiles. Zone VI is +1 stop.e.The Zone System was developed by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer in the 1940 obtained by metering any single toned subject. Meter and expose a black card.. results were not what I wanted especially with black and white prints. And you will find it very useful to refer to the Zone references for typical subjects as you manipulate your images. Zone System photographers modify their light meters so that they can meter any Zone and place that Zone as the correct exposure for a scene.. the Zones below Zone V are -1.. -3. You don't really have to be an expert on the Zone system to use it effectively in the digital darkroom but it is important to think about an image as a range of tones that must fit within the limited range of what your printer and paper can reproduce. and so on. You're welcome to download mine.Adams%20and%20Fred%20Archer%20in%20the%201940.. and so on.. a grey card and a white card on 3 different film frames in consistent light and the resulting 3 slides or prints will be the same. The first step in this digital Zone system is to make a Zone scale that truly reflects the printing range of your particular printer.

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