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The Zone System for 35MM Photographers: A Basic Guide to Exposure Control Paperback – January 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0240802039 ISBN-10: 0240802039 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 2nd edition (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240802039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240802039
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

My congratulations to Mr. Graves for a worthwhile contribution in a field where so much that is written only muddies the waters. --Bob Shell, Shutterbug

Here is the Zone System without tears. --Popular Photography

[N]ow there is a book available that tells exactly how the zone system can be used in smaller format photography, and how uncomplicated it actually is. What better motivation can there be for a photographer. --Walter Frost, The Boston Globe

From the Publisher

Graves' approach is based on the experiences and successes of hundreds of students. Special attention is given to the needs of roll film users with methods adapted especially for 35mm cameras. Over 80 illustrations, including full pages of color, provide clear examples of the techniques described. You won't need to learn logarithms or buy special equipment. This is not just the easiest to understand explanation of the Zone System available; it is a way to change your whole perception about the photographic image.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey J Buckels on December 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
Carson Graves' The Zone System for 35mm Photographers is both more and less than its title suggests, but mostly more. I'm an amateur photographer who has been using his best understanding of the Zone System for a few years. I don't use my view camera as much as my Leica, though, so my ears definitely pricked up when I heard tell of a book about adapting the System to roll-film. I've always been frustrated by the difficulty of that. Anyhow, I got the book through Amazon. The "less" is that there really isn't an overwhelming amount of information about squeezing the Zone System into the 35mm format. Some of it is commplace (e.g., shoot the whole roll in more or less identical light circumstances, and to make this easier, use 24 rather than 36 rolls, etc.). Some of it is not commonplace and is very useful indeed (maybe worth the price of the book). But what really makes the book worth it is that it is a very clear and concise overview of the Zone System itself. I've read Adams, Minor White, John Schaeffer, and others, and this may well be the best explanation I've read to-date (I can't say to what extent this is so because I have in fact read the others). Graves' explanations are really usefully different from the others'. A specific example: I've always been EXASPERATED by the Adams-White-Schaeffer explanations of how to test film for EI and development for times and so on. It's like you need either a densitometer (reach for $500+) or a PhD in calculus. I have neither. Graves describes -- clearly -- a very practical method for testing film speed and development times. That part of the book is outstanding and worth the price without a doubt.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By John Cowgill on December 18, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book. I went from a "4" to a "9" (on a scale of 1 to 10) in terms of my ability to control exposure and get the results I wanted after reading this book. It's clearly written and a person can cover the major topics in just one day. A+
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you intend to be serious about manual photography, you'll need to have an understanding of the zone system, and if you intend to have an understanding of the zone system, this book is for you.

While not circumventing the science of the zone system, Carson Graves prudently focuses more on application of its principles. Basically, this book will give you a clear understanding of what the zones are, how to relate them to real-life objects, how to understand what your light meter is telling you, and a lot more...

Do ya like pictures, Sonny? This book is full of 'em! The technical points about previsualization, judging contrast, etc. are really driven home by informative photos, drawings, and graphs.

On top of the basics, Mr. Graves "takes it to the hole" when he deftly explains advanced stuff like finding your exposure index and adjusting your development times...This book is an easy (and educational) read with just enough seriously technical stuff in it to warrant flaunting it in front of all the ladies (or guys) to show them what a brainiac you are. But YOU would never do that, you're way too cool...

All jokes aside - this book will give you knowledge, and through knowledge, control. Don't miss it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
I count this as one of the most useful books on photography one can own. Its strength is in its explanation of the Zone System and how a photographer at any level can put it to use. Though the information is quite accessible there are a number of calibration tests which can seem a bit tedious. But if one follows through it will pay off in allowing the photographer to put to film and paper what one visualizes in one's mind.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By x-con ron on January 10, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have only one complaint to make about this book. All the examples Carson Graves uses to illustrate the nine zones appear in black and white photographs. What I would really like to see in order to previsualize the various zones as I see them, which is in color, would be a side by side comparison of the same photos in black and white, in color. Is a light blue sky zone III? What zone is a light yellow leaf? A dark yellow leaf? A simplified pantone chart translating the various color tonalities into the various zones would be very helpful. Otherwise, the book is a marvelous learning tool. If any of you reading this know of such a book, please let me know.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Boehm on September 18, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been taking Black and Whites for about a year now, and every chapter I read my pictures improve. While the Zone system can be presented as hard core math, Grave uses Black and White images to define the Zones and help you think in grey scale. His book is extremely practical and is based on using the light meter in the camera. This means that you are not forced to buy extra equipment such as spot meter or hand held meters unless you want them for convience. The book really is good in making you think about the black and white print that will be produced. The proper exposure give you or your developer maximum latitiude in making prints. As well great effects can be made by adjusting your preceptions an adjusting the camera to capture what you precieve. The part on developing looks good also. There are film test and exposure test to determine if your camera is fuctioning normally or if needs work. If you are not getting good results then I suggest using these test to determine if your camera is functioing correctly the test seem unnecessary if you are getting good results. The Pictoral examples in this book are great. The text is about seeing a picture in your mind and then telling you how to create it on film for priinting. This book will greatly improve your black and white skills if you are a beginner without creating a great deal of confusion. Some of the lessons translate well to color photos. And there is a chapter onthe zone system for color.
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