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13-14 stop latitude and the 11 stop Zone System


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#1 Bryce Lansing

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 09:32 PM

Since color motion picture film has about 13-14 stops of latitude, where do the extra 2-3 stops lie in the zone system?

If Zone V is f5.6...

Zone 0 - f0.7
Zone I - f1.0
Zone II - f1.4
Zone III - f2
Zone IV - f2.8
Zone ? - f4
Zone V - f5.6
Zone ? -f8
Zone VI - f11
Zone VII - f16
Zone VIII - f22
Zone IX - f32
Zone X - f45
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#2 Chris Millar

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 11:30 PM

Zone system zones are zone system zones - they aren't zone system 'stops' ... I'm sure someone else will come along shortly, correct me then explain it more clearly... ^_^
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#3 Bruce Greene

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 12:12 AM

Since color motion picture film has about 13-14 stops of latitude, where do the extra 2-3 stops lie in the zone system?

If Zone V is f5.6...

Zone 0 - f0.7
Zone I - f1.0
Zone II - f1.4
Zone III - f2
Zone IV - f2.8
Zone ? - f4
Zone V - f5.6
Zone ? -f8
Zone VI - f11
Zone VII - f16
Zone VIII - f22
Zone IX - f32
Zone X - f45


I think you should think of it like this: 2.5 stops above your base exposure is "white, with slight detail". 3 stops below your base exposure is near black.

So really you only use about 5-6 stops of exposure latitude when the goal is to reproduce a "realistic" portrayal of the scene. I would map these 6 stops over your 11 zones when making an optical film print.

All the exposure latitude above +3 stops is to roll off highlights. Anything below -3 stops is just grainy noise, even if detail can be seen on the negative.

You can use more of the exposure latitude of the film when making a low-contrast scene during the computer color grading. Something like a bright sky and shaded landscape. An electronic graduated filter might even be added to boost the contrast of the scene, while maintaing detail in the bright sky and shaded land for example.

Since the contrast of the digital negative can be manipulated in the computer in the DI, there is no hard and fast relationship from the camera negative exposure to the final print negative (or print) created through the digital intermediate process.
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#4 K Borowski

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 08:05 AM

Even if each "Zone" isn't a stop, I'm sure Ansel Adams eventually assigned a stop or corresponding densitometer value to each zone. He did live into the '70s, you know, so had an opportunity even to work with early digital imaging (video).

I'm sure there is an equivalent, but remember that the Zone system is like Christianity, it has different sects and followers who interpret the great AA's work in different ways. ;-)
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#5 Tom Jensen

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 10:29 AM

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Zone_system
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