Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 52

Thread: Zone System (book)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    503

    Zone System (book)

    Hello. Is there a good book to learn the Zone System? I hear the Ansel Adams book is not good because it is not easy to understand. Are there any good books out there? Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Zone System (book)

    Adams "the negative" is very understandable. I would go to the source.

  3. #3
    Scott Walker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Okotoks (rural), Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    955

    Re: Zone System (book)

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Langham View Post
    Adams "the negative" is very understandable. I would go to the source.
    +1

  4. #4
    Preston Birdwell
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Columbia, CA
    Posts
    1,577

    Re: Zone System (book)

    I also recommend Ansel's photography series books; The Camera, The Negative, and The Print. The Zone System is a systematic approach to obtaining the results you want without trial and error. As one would expect, some of the technical details have changed over the years, but the basic tenets of the system remain true.

    Some folks do find the Adams' series difficult, but that is mainly due, I believe, to trying to rush it. The books really are a course of study in photography and a commitment to see it through is required. If you invest the time, the benefits will be obvious.

    --P
    Preston-Columbia CA

    "If you want nice fresh oats, you have to pay a fair price. If you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse; that comes a little cheaper."

  5. #5
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,442

    Re: Zone System (book)

    I read some book on applying the Zone System to small-format applications, and got wrapped around the axle several times. (This was in the 70's.) For several years after that, I avoided the topic. Finally, about 1980, I obtained Adam's book, The Negative. After reading it just once, I wondered 1.) why the previous author had made a simple concept so difficult, and 2.) why I'd taken so long to just go to the source. Adams does a good job of explaining what it's for and what it achieves before ever bringing up details like characteristic curves or densitometry. As such, his approach makes it possible to make use of the Zone System without undergoing all the testing that many write about so lovingly. The point of the exercise is to get predictable results despite the lighting conditions of the scene. Testing increases precision, but the basic goals are possible with only minimal testing.

    Rick "thinking the AA series is a required part of any well-educated photographer's library" Denney

  6. #6
    Octogenarian
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Frisco, Texas
    Posts
    3,526

    Re: Zone System (book)

    Fred Picker did a fine job of explaining AA's Zone system in his book: "The Zone VI Workshop".

    That book, along with Ansel Adams: "The Negative" will help you to better understand the Zone System

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    3,114

    Re: Zone System (book)

    Quote Originally Posted by macandal View Post
    Hello. Is there a good book to learn the Zone System? I hear the Ansel Adams book is not good because it is not easy to understand. Are there any good books out there? Thanks.
    I don't think you'll find a better book than The Negative by Ansel Adams.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  8. #8
    jadphoto
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Solvang, California
    Posts
    465

    Re: Zone System (book)

    I agree that the AA book is the best, but Ansel wasn't always the best at expressing his ideas. I teach the zone system at a community college and the tex we use is The Practical Zone System by Chris Johnson. It's thorough without being too technical. Although we use densitometers Johnson's approach doesn't require it.

    For a quick and very simplified approach the Fred Picker book mentioned above is also good, they sometimes show up on Ebay or Amazon.com at ridiculously inflated prices. Fred also produced a series of three videos that cover the zone system, although I doubt he called it that.

    JD

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    8,485

    Re: Zone System (book)

    Here's a link to Fred Picker's Zone VI Workshop. I like it

    Amazon has it for a few dollars. It will probably cost more to ship it to you, than to purchase it.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Location
    Baraboo, Wisconsin
    Posts
    7,694

    Re: Zone System (book)

    I have both the Zone VI Workshop book and The Negative. I also used to have the three Picker videos and the Chris Johnson book.

    The videos aren't about learning the zone system so I'd forget them for that purpose though they're interesting for other reasons.

    Any of the other three would probably do fine though I think The Negative does the best job of combining theory with practical knowledge in a relatively few number of easily understandable pages. It's also still in print AFAIK and so can readily be bought new if you prefer new books to used.

    Many of the complexities people find in the zone system are due to writers other than Adams writing about it, putting their own spin on it, and mucking it all up. Minor White and the other two guys with whom he co-authored his book was one of the worst offenders. Stick with The Negative and you can't go wrong, plus it has a lot of other good information in it beside the zone system.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

Similar Threads

  1. zone system record book
    By Terence Falk in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 31-Jul-2010, 03:48
  2. Which Zone System book?
    By Sammy_4293 in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 27-Dec-2005, 09:54

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •