I've shot portraits and people scenes as I've mentioned before for a lot of year s. All this time I've used a amb meter and its spot attachment. Whenever I use d my meter spot attachment(5 deg.) it was either to read off of a 18% grey card or read off of the highlights and shadows in the scene in which I wanted detail. Having made the move up to LF, I understand that I've got a lot to learn so I' m trying to make an effort to understand the basics of the zone system.
I've been reading "Using the View Camera" by Steve Simmons for quite some t ime and along with everything else I've audited which includes this forum I've b ecome aware of the basics of the zone system. I don't pretend to completely und erstand it but I'm starting to get the idea. I've got some questions, and I ask these questions not in an effort to demean or belittle the zone system but to g et some other folks slant on it advantages.
It never fails that when I shoot anything of any importance I meter several kinds of ways and invaribly shoot more polaroids than I intended to shoot. My meter could be off a stop, My shutter/lens/film combination could be off a stop, all these variables could result in a cumulative error of 2 stops or more, whic h along with checking my lighting set-up is why I shoot polaroids. I get the im pression from auditing this forum that a lot of veteran LF shooters utilize pola roids for the same reason which of course only makes sense. I've also brought u p the polaroid because many times during a shoot no matter what I calculate mete rwise, I will after seeing the polaroid just decide to bias the exposure one way or the other because I think it will 'look' better. I'm wondering if a lot of you veteran LF folks do the same thing.
The Zone system seems very methodical and seems to leave nothing to chance. Is this the real strong point of the zone system? I also get the impression t hat you plan out a detailed exposure for how you plan to develop the film. It s eems to be similar to what learned along time ago but it was stated another way. That is in terms of Neg/transparency film, I always understood that with one y ou exposed for the shadows and developed for the highlights, with the other one you exposed for the highlights and developed for the shadows. I could be missin g the whole point which is why I'm asking.
My question is this, is the Zone system a refinement of metering and develop ment technique(and everything we've learned up to now), or is that being simplis tic?