With the decline of film photography, it seems that there is no use for "The Negative" anymore. But what about "The Print" and other books where Adams teaches about light, technique and, well... photography? Are these still useful today?

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    \$\begingroup\$ In reality people should be reading this series more today than 20 years ago. People pick up their camera today, shoot in auto mode, and ship prints off to some online lab or social network - without ever knowing what is going on. That wasn't possible 60 years ago when the texts came out. Pick them up, they are great texts to read, and great texts to study. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 0:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Is the Zone System useful with a DSLR? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 1:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ thinking they're not is just thinking "it's old THEREFORE it's no good", which is sadly all too common. \$\endgroup\$
    – jwenting
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 6:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Negative is not really about negatives, but about capturing the photograph in-camera (as opposed to The Print, which is about post-processing and printing). The only things that have become obsolete are the titles of the books ;) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


There certainly is a use for his The Negative. It covers light, exposure and the zone system which are relevant to digital. And The Print, which covers post-production in a darkroom has relevance to digital post-processing - can still dodge and burn in Photoshop to bring out the best in a digital "negative"

Not to mention those of use who still shoot film and have darkrooms!

But even those shooting digital can learn a lot from Adams.


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