Beyond the Digital Zone System—Summary

To apply the zone system to a new medium, we start with the basics:  find out how the medium responds to exposure.

—To determine the dynamic range of your system, use the camera’s light meter to determine Zone V placement.  Then make exposures at one-stop intervals above and below this value.

—Use these exposures to find out where your highlights blow to white, and where your shadows become too noisy to be useful.  Your dynamic range lies within these extremes.

—Process the RAW images to find out how far each end may be extended by manipulation.


There is only one way to find out where these values are.