The Practical Zone System for Film and Digital Photography
Classic Tool, Universal Applications, 5th Edition
In this fifth edition of The Practical Zone System, Chris Johnson updates his classic manual on Ansel Adams's landmark technique for the digital age. Whether you are a beginning, large-format, or professional photographer; whether you work with digital or film; and whether you shoot in black and white or color, the simple visual language called Previsualization will help you to control contrast in order to create beautiful photographs.
Entirely new to this edition is a chapter applying Zone System concepts to studio photography. Using Bill Brant's "Nude, Campden Hill London, 1949, May" (cover image) as an inspiration, Johnson demonstrates how the Zone System, traditionally considered to be a methodology limited to the uses of films and developers, is actually a universal visual and conceptual language that dramatically simplifies the problem of creating and rendering complex studio lighting setups.
Chris Johnson studied photography with Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, and Imogen Cunningham. His photographic and video works have been widely exhibited and he has conducted workshops and lectured on the Zone System in the United States and Japan. He is currently a Professor of Photography at the California College of Arts and Crafts and has recently served as Chair of the Cultural Arts Commission for the City of Oakland.
AMAZON REVIEW FOR PREVIOUS EDITIONS:
"I wish I had this book 30 years ago. I knew of the Zone system, but heard people talking of measuring densities and base fog and it sounded like a lot of effort. Chris is that rare teacher who can take a subject and make it accessible to all levels. I tell all my photographic friends- GET THIS BOOK. I have given it as a present. My copy is getting dog eared already. This is not just for film. He relates this to the digital world as well. If you aspire to move beyond PHD-(push here dummy) photography, this is essential reading."
"This is one of the easier books to understand on the zone system. It does not get too tied up in the details of the system but describes enough detail to allow the reader to understand the basics of the system. It takes the complex issues of the zone system and removes the calculations and just gives you what you need to know. Think of it like the difference between an art teacher who says 'Color the grass green' versus one who says 'The grass must be green because chlorophyll absorbs the green portion of the light spectrum and so reflected light appears that color.'"
"This book is the current bible of the zone system. Everything you want and need to know about it for both film and digital."
"I never developed a film in my life, but despite the fact that the original edition did not deal with digital photography and this book still talks a lot about film photography, this is one of the best most useful books on photography I've read so far."
"I liked the book. Just after I read it, I saw Annie Leibovitz's exhibition "A Photographer's Life", and the book gave me a much greater appreciation for her work."
Preface to the Fifth Edition
How to Read this Book
Chapter 1 "Will It Come Out?"
Chapter 2 Print Quality and Negative Contrast
Chapter 3 The Control of Negative Contrast
Chapter 4 The Zone
Chapter 5 Exposure
Chapter 6 Development
Chapter 7 An Overview of the Zone System
Chapter 8 Zone System Testing: Method 1
Chapter 9 Zone System Testing: Method 2
Chapter 10 The Zone System and Digital Photography
Appendix A Color Management, Profiles and Color Spaces
Appendix B A Primer on Studio Lighting Photography
Appendix C What is a Pixel?
Appendix D Bit Depth
Appendix E Exposure and the Digital Linear Effect
Appendix F Digital Light Meters and the Zone System
Appendix G Films, Developers, and Processing
Appendix H The Practical Zone System Film/Developer Testing Method
Appendix I Film and Developer Commentary by Iris Davis
Appendix J Alternative Methods for Extreme Expansion and Contraction Development
Appendix K Contrast Control with Paper Grades
Appendix L Developer Dilution
Appendix M Compensating Developers
Appendix N Inspection Development
Appendix O Condenser and Diffusion Enlargers
Appendix P ASA/ISO Numbers
Appendix Q Filter Factors, The Reciprocity Effect, and Bellows Extension Factors
Appendix R A Compensation Method for Inaccurate Meters
Appendix S Zone System Metering Form
Appendix T Exposure Record and Checklist For Zone System Testing
Appendix U Suggested Reading
Appendix V A Brief Directory of On-Line Digital and Photography-Related Resources
Appendix W Examples: Zone System Applications
A Primer on Basic Film Photography
A Brief Glossary of Zone System and Digital Terminology