Zone System/Darkroom Book Recommendations : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have restricted most of my LF phtots so far to color because of the mediocore or expensive results I've had from commercial B+W processing/printing. I'd like to while away a few cold evenings reading more about the zone system and processing/developing. There are certainly some basics on the web but I'm looking for a little more. Any recommendations. Considering - The Negative, Beyond the Zone System, The Practical Zone System. Can't afford them all. Recommendations appreciated.

-- Roger Rouch (, January 23, 2000


I don't know 'The Practical Zone System'. Of the first two, if you can only afford one, it's a tough choice. Have you a library near you, where you can read both?

Overall, I think I prefer The Negative, although my own use of the ZS more closely follows BTZS. BTZS has better science, The Negative has better, well, everything else.

-- Alan Gibson (, January 23, 2000.

Roger: Adam's "The Negative" rates high on my list as one of the best photography books written. There is a world of information there that doesn't get hung up on unnecesary jargon and formulas. It is also a good guide to shooting in black and white and the use of filters, etc. to make the negative look right. Recommend it highly, even though its overpriced like many photography books. Doug

-- Doug Paramore (, January 23, 2000.

Roger, I also strongly recommend The Negative, it covers the topic beautifully and is very easy to read. If you are considering purchasing another book I would also recommend that you purchase Adams' other book, The Print. It will show you different printing techniques to bring out what you have in your negatives. They are offered in soft cover now and they go for about $20 each. Good Luck.

-- Dave Anton (, January 23, 2000.

Thanks for the thoughts all of you. Looks like its The Nnegative. I was able to locate a used hardback copy (on the web) for $15. Look forward to pondering a few evening away. Roger

-- Roger Rouch (, January 23, 2000.

Another good one (if it's not too late) is The New Zone System Manual, an update on the original Zone System Manual by Minor White. The New manual is by White, Zakia and Lorenz and my paperback copy was written in 1976. I'm not sure if it's still in print. I like it because it has some very simple and practical testing procedures and vizualization exercises in it. Also has instructions on how to make a Zone "ruler" to take with you into the field to help you see how a given value will translate in the final print. Worth picking up if you're into Zone stuff and can find it.

-- Bruce Pollock (, January 23, 2000.

Whatever you want is found through you local library. If they don't have them, get the titles and request they add them to the photography section. If there is a request, many libraries will add the titles. Even if they don't get a permanent copy for their collection they can get them through Interlibrary Loan. Possibly a small fee for some libraries, but any title will be available if you can afford to wait a bit for it to come in.

-- Dan Smith (, January 23, 2000.

I have all three, and I'll put in a vote for "The Practical Zone System" (there's a new edition out recently). Although the other two are excellent, I think TPZS is the best for someone just setting out to learn about the subject. I understood The Negative a lot better after I'd read TPZS.

-- Chris Patti (, January 23, 2000.

Fred Picker's Zone VI Workshop is a very good book for understanding the Zone system, and his other book, The Fine Print is excellent for understanding printing. Pat

-- pat j. krentz (, January 24, 2000.

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