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113 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Negative is all Positive
This is the book I turn to for the heavy duty technical data on the most important aspects of photography, but guess what? This is probably one of the most readable and easy to digest technical books on photography you are ever likely to read or need. Adams has a way of making mysterious worlds within Photography accessable. I will admit though that this book is not for...
Published on July 15, 2002 by S. White

versus
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars learn the zone system
Ansel Adams was a master of photography but not the most exciting storyteller , in my opinion.

This book is one that you should read as part of a complete education in photography, but there are some long sections in it. The parts of the book explaining Adams' zone system are very worthwhile and great stuff. Much of the rest of the book is only interesting if...
Published on May 30, 2007 by JD in So Cal


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113 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Negative is all Positive, July 15, 2002
By 
S. White (Sydney, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2) (Paperback)
This is the book I turn to for the heavy duty technical data on the most important aspects of photography, but guess what? This is probably one of the most readable and easy to digest technical books on photography you are ever likely to read or need. Adams has a way of making mysterious worlds within Photography accessable. I will admit though that this book is not for the absolute beginner, though having said that those who want to stretch a little could find much that is of use without having too much knowledge off the mark.
When I looked at the three books of this series, The Camera, The Negative and the Print, I waded into each wanting to choose only the best one from the series. I quickly realised that neither of the other two had what The Negative had and I have subsequently realised that this was by far the best choice for me. The negative deals with Visualization and image values, Light and Film, Exposure, The Zone System, Filters and Pre-Exposure, Natural Light, Artifical Light, Darkroom processes, Dark Room equiptment and procedures and value control in processing.
This book is an absolute must for intermediate photographers who have mastered the basics and want to take a step up into the world of greater control over their imaging with an eye to developing and processing their own film and prints. Everything you need to know about getting your images right before you even hit the shutter is in this book, all you need to do now is accentuate the positive by going and buying The NEGATIVE!
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Phenomenal Book that is meant to be both Read and Studied, September 27, 2004
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This review is from: The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2) (Paperback)
There are a number of good reviews here, and I recommend to you especially the one by S. White. This is a great book, a classic that is important both historically, because it defines the zone system as no other work can, and practically, because it gives you the best combination of practice and theory available in print (at least that I have found). For the uninitiated, in the "zone system" you stop thinking about "the" one correct exposure for a photograph (which is usually the correct exposure for a single subject in the photograph) and instead think about the range of exposures needed across a scene with a variety of subjects with different colors, textures, and light characteristics. This approach is made possible by the observation that a one-stop shifts in exposure, in black and white photography, ultimately create 10 "zones" for aesthetic purposes - that is, the full range of grays between black and white can be associated with 10 stops of exposure.

I don't want to make this review just an echo of the praise offered by others, so let me point out several things about this book that may be helpful if you haven't yet decided to purchase it:

First, the zone system advocated by Ansel Adams is the most influential approach to taking black and white photographs out there. There are advocates and detractors, and this book is inspired in part by Adam's advocacy of this technical and painstaking technique. Because he is an advocate, he works very hard to make the system comprehendable, while retaining fidelity to its technical and intellectual side. He also does not give you the full story on the criticism of his method.

Second, even if you are not going to "follow" the system, this book will give you an understanding of the process by which light becomes a photograph, and insight into how meters (whether built into the camera or not) and film interact with objects that are colorful and textured. This insight is indispensible, and better explained that anywhere else I have read. Whatever you think of the zone system as a method for taking photographs, it is a fantastic educational method.

Third, some have commented that the information is most useful to those using view cameras and not working with 35 mm roll film. I disagree. While view cameras can give you the ability to deal with each negative separately in a darkroom, today's automatic and, yes, digital cameras can give remarkable flexibility once you understand the ins and outs of the zone system and how exposures work. With today's camera's capable of giving you a honeycomb display of exposures over the entire photograph, taking multiple exposures on one roll can get you much the same impact as manipulating exposures in the darkroom. Today's cameras also allow you to re-roll and switch films mid-roll, so it is now possible to do astonishing things in the darkroom using Adams methods and a 35 mm camera.

Digital SLR cameras can be even more readily adapted to these methods than View cameras, since they give instantaneous displays as well as the ability to make a detailed analysis of an exposure. Because Ansel Adams fully explains his method and its technical underpinnings, it is possible to really apply his teachnings to modern technology. At some point, we need to revisit Adams' contributions in the modern world, but I suspect we will discover when we do so that he was well ahead of his time.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master speaks!, September 5, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2) (Paperback)
Ansel Adams expressed more with B&W then most can even DREAM of doing with color...
This is my second foray into learning the basics of exposure through the Zone System, and who better then The Master himself to lead. He has taken a fairly technical system and made it a breeze to grasp. No misleading sidebars or relationships here. Just the facts. Much better then my first indoctrination. No matter how deeply you wish to delve into his techniques, even a redimentary understanding of previsualization before exposure will improve ones photo making, even in color. An outstanding reference. The entire series, Book 1: The Camera, Book 2: The Negative, and Book 3: The Print are invaluable additions to a personal photography library.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the three book series, November 28, 2001
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2) (Paperback)
The book were Ansel Adams explains his well known zone system.
It is the best book of the three books of the series "the camera", "the negative", "the print". The camera book is more interesting to someone using a view camera. The print is more interesting for someone doing a lot of photography printing. But the negative I found it interesting for someone interested in advance photography and that wants to learn how to better control exposure. In that area this book is a classic.

It is not a simple book for a beginner, so if you are picking a camera for the first time and just want to know how to load the film there are better books in the market to fulfill with that purpose.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ONLY deep & comprehensive guide to excellent photography, November 29, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2) (Paperback)
Ansel Adams' experience, talent and visualization come together in this book to describe (with relative ease) even the most complex aspects of photography. His comprehension of the matter is wildly beyond most (if not all) other authors. I would especially recommend this book to intermediate photographers who have had fairly enough experience in the field. Amateurs will no doubt find it useful yet a bit complex in some technical issues. This book is a must for the serious photographer as it enlightens doubts.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best technical book on photography, September 20, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2) (Paperback)
This is the only book I've ever read that explains a concrete scientific system for controlling film exposure and processing. This book does not cover the artistic process, but instead the chemical/physical process. Ansel Adams explains in great detail the process of visualization of the desired image and a scientific method for achieving that goal through use of the Zone System.
A must read for any aspiring b/w photographer.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zone System still relevant in digital age, August 22, 2001
By 
This review is from: The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2) (Paperback)
Despite the heavy emphasis on chemical negatives, this book's essentially a clinic on Adams' Zone System for contrast control. As such, it's still totally relevant for the digital age. If you're using chemical negatives, this book's an absolute must have.
Adams' attention to detail in testing contrast and resolution in various lighting situations forms the core of the Zone System and of this book.
Issues such as filtration remain the same today as they did with negatives. Although pushing and pulling film is carried out differently in the digital age, it's not impossible if you have even a modicum of exposure control (for instance, overexposing and lowering brightness will still yield lower contrast). And if you are into digital, you'll gloat at your full control of exposure tweaks beyond the one-dimensional control you get with timing chemicals in solution.
One thing that may be disappointing is the emphasis on black and white. There's a brief description of color, but it really deserves a book of its own. This is especially true for filtration and contrast control.
The three books in this series can be read independently, but together provide a complete clinic from positioning the camera to displaying a final print.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons from the Master in Technique, December 16, 2002
By 
This review is from: The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2) (Paperback)
Simply put: The best out there.
Make sure of a few things:
a)you are an advanced amateur
b)you love B&W
and it woundn't hurt if
c)you can do your own B&W work.
Wonderfully written, if you have the talent this book could make the difference
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars learn the zone system, May 30, 2007
By 
JD in So Cal (deep in the suburban jungle) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2) (Paperback)
Ansel Adams was a master of photography but not the most exciting storyteller , in my opinion.

This book is one that you should read as part of a complete education in photography, but there are some long sections in it. The parts of the book explaining Adams' zone system are very worthwhile and great stuff. Much of the rest of the book is only interesting if you are shooting film (not digital), as it deals specifically with darkroom processing.

Read about the zone system here or somewhere else, but learn it. If you are a film photog, read this whole book. For digital shooters, you might want to read only the sections of interest.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you wanted U wanted to know about photograhy!!!, May 25, 1998
This review is from: The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2) (Paperback)
Being a mere amateur, I had never really devoted any time to a serious reading of books on the theory of exposure until I bought Ansel Adams "the camera", "the negative" and "the print" a few weeks ago. I haven't finished reading them, but I have already read enough about the zone system to find it tremendously interesting. The way Adams explains things is well structured, accurate, deep and wide! It takes you through all the aspects of photography, gives real answers to all the questions (which do of course bear a certain level of complexity), even those you haden't thought about! Everybody should receive these books with any camera in my opinion, they are just great!!! Don't look for it any longer somewhere else, it's all here!
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The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2)
The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2) by Ansel Adams (Paperback - June 1, 1995)
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