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The Practical Zone System for Film and Digital Photography

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.
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Fifth Edition How to Read this Book Acknowledgements 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 Index

About the Author

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."

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