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Old 27th January 2024, 07:28 AM
beetcleaner beetcleaner is offline
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Default OM4Ti zone system

I am trying to get to grips with the zone system using my Olympus OM4Ti. In manual mode I take a spot meter reading from the darkest area I wish to retain detail in. I then adjust the shutter speed or aperture to move the diamond spot to the central arrow on the readout so that the initial spot reading is now in zone V. I then readjust shutter or aperture to move the diamond to minus two stops to put the reading into zone III. Is this the correct way to do it? Thankyou for any advice.
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Old 30th January 2024, 03:57 PM
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Martin Aislabie Martin Aislabie is offline
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I'm not too familiar with the OM4 metering system but I am OK with the Zone System.

If I read your post correctly :-
  • You are spot metering the darkest shadow you want to retain detail in.
  • Then manually adjusting the camera settings to make that spot read at the central point of your exposure scale.
  • Then closing the camera shutter/aperture by 2 stops and exposing the scene.
If that is what you are doing then that is correct way to expose that shot.

While it is not in the true sense using the full Zone System, you are at least partially using it.

I hope you are managing to produce negatives which are nice to print from.

Good luck.

Martin
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Old 31st January 2024, 07:10 AM
beetcleaner beetcleaner is offline
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Default OM4Ti zone system

Martin
Thankyou for confirmation on the zone system. as you say its a start as I am not pulling or pushing development times in film processing but baby steps etc. I really should invest in a hand held spot meter if I want to get serious about it I think.
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Old 31st January 2024, 01:03 PM
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Martin Aislabie Martin Aislabie is offline
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Originally Posted by beetcleaner View Post
Martin
Thankyou for confirmation on the zone system. as you say its a start as I am not pulling or pushing development times in film processing but baby steps etc. I really should invest in a hand held spot meter if I want to get serious about it I think.
A couple of spare bodies too.

They don't need to be OM4s - OM1s or OM2s will do.

For landscapes I tend to cluster my subject brightness ratios in to 3 categories :-

7 Stops (normal) - which covers 95+% of my work
9 Stops (high or very high contrast situations)
5 Stops (Low or very low contrast situations)

So, a body to shoot each of the subject brightness ratios - and you can use the Zone System in 35mm.


There is an excellent book "Beyond the Zone System" by Phil Davis, if you really want to get in to the Zone System.

Good luck.

Martin
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Old 31st January 2024, 02:56 PM
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Have you tried the built in facility on the OM4Ti? Take the darkest area as a spot reading press the shadow button and the camera adjusts to give correct exposure. I think it adjusts a by 2 2/3 stops according to the manual. It has also a highlight button as well. I find they work well for me with my OM4Ti. If you still want to do the mental calculation it will confirm if you are in the right ball park if nothing else.

Have fun

Bill
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Old 1st February 2024, 07:24 AM
beetcleaner beetcleaner is offline
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Default OM4Ti zone system

Bill
I have tried the highlight and shadow buttons with good results. I think what I'm trying to do is take a spot of the darkest area I want to keep detail in and then take a spot of the brightest area in the scene as well. I then place the darkest reading on zone III and see if the highlights are within zone VII or VIII.
As much of this is mastering the metering system of the OM4Ti as I feel I am not making full use of it and I have been taking photographs for a long time albeit on Canon cameras in my youth.
Martin, I will take your advice as I own several OM bodies and will pick up a copy of the book you mentioned. I find some of the websites explaining the zone system very confusing but to be fair they are going into it in far greater detail and also discussing development times as well. I just need to practice and persevere
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Old 1st February 2024, 02:22 PM
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Bill
I have tried the highlight and shadow buttons with good results. I think what I'm trying to do is take a spot of the darkest area I want to keep detail in and then take a spot of the brightest area in the scene as well. I then place the darkest reading on zone III and see if the highlights are within zone VII or VIII.
As much of this is mastering the metering system of the OM4Ti as I feel I am not making full use of it and I have been taking photographs for a long time albeit on Canon cameras in my youth.
Martin, I will take your advice as I own several OM bodies and will pick up a copy of the book you mentioned. I find some of the websites explaining the zone system very confusing but to be fair they are going into it in far greater detail and also discussing development times as well. I just need to practice and persevere
I think the Zone System is quite straight forward.

Some people like to make it far more complicated than it needs to be.

Remember Ansel Adams developed the Zone System as a tool to be able to manage his exposures in order to produce great prints.

For some people the Zone System becomes the reason for taking photographs.

My philosophy is don't over think it - Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS).

Martin
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