Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
09-14-2021, 12:23 AM - 1 Like   #61
GUB
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
GUB's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Wanganui
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,555
QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
But isn't that simply manipulating...uh, adjusting? the exposure solution to suit the scene regardless of the type of 'sensor'? We did that when evaluating for film too.

It was called using the Zone System -- that Ansel Adam's thing -- which is just a sophisticated SS process with lots of spot readings to mess with during both exposure and PP.

Today we have TTL metering (thanks Pentax Spotmatic) with three modes for reading SS lighting values:

- 1) There's Spot mode: a tightly focused, OEM-selected SS exposure solution with selective, optional +/- exposure biasing based on, guess what, your personal preference and experience.

- 2) Center Averaged mode: which is a w i d e r spot with simple biasing toward the center of the scene, say ~2x or 3x bias, which today is an automated SS solution with selective, optional +/- exposure biasing based on, again, your personal preference and experience.

- 3) Matrix mode: which is dozens of tiny 'spot sensors' arranged in a matrix that can be assigned variable, computer-driven bias values for each piece of the jigsaw puzzle -- with selective, overall +/- exposure biasing.

'Scene' modes are just a proprietary set of appropriate matrix biases assigned to various zones of the puzzle to satisfy different scenes with logical aperture and shutter speed choices favoring action or DOF. Which is exactly what I do when evaluating exposure without a meter.

- 4) Program mode's a SS solution programed for the middle of the variables with selectable ISO, often with the ability to select for speed (action) or DOF (landscape) scenes -- like on some older film bodies.

- 5) Green mode's an Auto, OEM-chosen, SS solution that's locked-down enough you can't screw up the basics and blame it on the camera. Fool-proof, right? Only if there's not an overly energetic fool around!

The biggest problem with understanding the Sunny Sixteen rule is its name.
Yeah but for all those modes the camera still just comes up with a simple single Exposure Value applied to all the image. And given in the general world we shoot in most of our exposures are over a range of merely about 8 stops - not that hard to guess within a stop which is all we need.
The only thing confusing about the "sunny 16" name is the fact that while it is referring to an aperture of f16 the actual Exposure Value of that sunny day is EV 15.
QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
But isn't that simply manipulating...uh, adjusting? the exposure solution to suit the scene regardless of the type of 'sensor'? We did that when evaluating for film too.
As Zombie said earlier - film doesn't clip like digital. And the concept of SS just like camera metering is to put mid grey in the right place. If you think of this in histogram bell curves the film one runs forever to the right and clips the left while we know digital clips the right and tails off to the left. So if you want to retain that sky in digital you need to underexpose from SS and correct in post. The converse of that with film was the general view that you underexpose at your peril.

09-14-2021, 12:24 AM - 2 Likes   #62
Pentaxian
Dartmoor Dave's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Dartmoor, UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,816
QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
Today we have TTL metering (thanks Pentax Spotmatic) with three modes for reading SS lighting values:

The way I see it, if I use any sort of a meter then I'm not using Sunny 16. Today it's sunny here, with occasional fluffy white clouds, so if I manage to get out for a walk I'll just use Sunny 16 with no need to meter at all. I know that where I live f/11 at 1/125 at ISO 100 will expose the brightest parts of the clouds just below clipping (as long as the sun isn't in the frame) so that's what I'll use. If it clouds over as the day goes along then I can usually judge from forty years of experience how many stops to open up without metering, so I'll still be using Sunny 16. But if for some reason I decide to get my incident meter out then I won't be using Sunny 16 anymore.

Modern cameras create the illusion that only multizone metering and a computer can possibly get you anywhere close to a good exposure, but in most cases the human eye and brain are more than enough.
09-14-2021, 12:29 AM - 1 Like   #63
GUB
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
GUB's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Wanganui
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,555
QuoteOriginally posted by Dartmoor Dave Quote
The way I see it, if I use any sort of a meter then I'm not using Sunny 16. Today it's sunny here, with occasional fluffy white clouds, so if I manage to get out for a walk I'll just use Sunny 16 with no need to meter at all. I know that where I live f/11 at 1/125 at ISO 100 will expose the brightest parts of the clouds just below clipping (as long as the sun isn't in the frame) so that's what I'll use. If it clouds over as the day goes along then I can usually judge from forty years of experience how many stops to open up without metering, so I'll still be using Sunny 16. But if for some reason I decide to get my incident meter out then I won't be using Sunny 16 anymore.

Modern cameras create the illusion that only multizone metering and a computer can possibly get you anywhere close to a good exposure, but in most cases the human eye and brain are more than enough.
Exactly. It is funny isn't it that once you get into the simple ol guessometering you realise how overthought the whole modern metering thing is.
Having said that I have to admit to keeping an eye on the histogram as I go whereas it appears that you totally freestyle it!
09-14-2021, 12:50 AM - 1 Like   #64
Pentaxian
ZombieArmy's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,704
QuoteOriginally posted by GUB Quote
Exactly. It is funny isn't it that once you get into the simple ol guessometering you realise how overthought the whole modern metering thing is.
I actually think that spot metering for me is faster than matrix metering when using color negative film. Just point at the brightest object in a scene and I'll know what I need. No fuss.

09-14-2021, 02:01 AM   #65
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
BigMackCam's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North-East of England
Posts: 16,501
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote
I actually think that spot metering for me is faster than matrix metering when using color negative film. Just point at the brightest object in a scene and I'll know what I need. No fuss.
Doesn't that result in under-exposure, given that the metering is expecting a mid-tone? Or do you compensate for that in your settings?
09-14-2021, 05:55 AM - 2 Likes   #66
Pentaxian
photoptimist's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2016
Photos: Albums
Posts: 4,708
All of the methods for setting the exposure have their advantages and disadvantages:

"Sunny f/16" is probably more accurate than most TTL systems because it's based on ambient light levels but it doesn't work well indoors or in complex indirect lighting scenarios.

Basic TTL is easy to use but has the fundamental flaw that it assumes we live in a world where every scene is 18% gray. (It requires the photographer to use exposure compensation for non-gray scenes.)

Advanced TTL (so-called 3D/matrix/evaluative metering) uses buzz word technology (expert systems, fuzzy logic, AI, etc.) to usually correctly guess when the scene isn't 18% gray but sometimes fails. (And makes exposure compensation harder because the photographer does know how much compensation the advance TTL system has already added or subtracted.)

Spot metering and the Zone System really are the correct way to get the perfect exposure to suit the scene, the photographer's goals, and the limitations of the film/sensor except that it takes extra time and thought.

Histogram methods (ETTR) do a decent job of getting as much of the image data as possible but can be wrong if the scene has tiny highlights, really high DR (clipping is needed), or strange white balance.


Overall, getting the "right" exposure still depends on the photographer understanding the scene, the lighting, and the film/sensor and using their brain and experience to achieve their goals.
09-14-2021, 06:17 AM - 3 Likes   #67
Pentaxian
Dartmoor Dave's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Dartmoor, UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,816
QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Overall, getting the "right" exposure still depends on the photographer understanding the scene, the lighting, and the film/sensor and using their brain and experience to achieve their goals.

That's as good an analysis as I've ever read of the advantages and disadvantages of different methods.

But I'd like to add a little bit of love for the good old-fashioned incident meter. Used properly, I think it's second only to the zone system and much, much more accurate than any of the TTL based methods.

09-14-2021, 08:03 AM   #68
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Twickenham & Munich
Posts: 25
Weird synchronicity. I was sitting on the underground this morning with my (fully manual) camera and set it ready for emerging into the sunlight using Sunny 16. Then when I got there I checked with the exposure meter App on my phone which also suggested one stop more. I chalked that up as “near enough” given the exposure latitude of film. Certainly compensating for being 1 stop out when scanning isn’t a problem (and modern shop printing would easily cope with it too - I don’t print myself).
09-14-2021, 09:25 AM - 1 Like   #69
New Member




Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 22
QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I'm a little embarrassed to say that until today, I've never tried shooting using the "Sunny 16" rule, and I figured it was high time to try it out; especially since, in the coming weeks, I'll be doing some film photography using a camera with no light meter.

For my first attempt, I used my old Pentax *ist DL and Pentax-F35-70f/3.5-4.5, since that was the camera immediately to hand.

It's a very bright, sunny day here, with cloudless skies... perhaps just the tiniest hint of haze, but really nothing to speak of. In terms of UK weather, I'd say it's about as good as we ever get. The time of my test was 1pm in the afternoon, with the sun not far past its peak. On that basis, I understand that at ISO 200 (the *ist DL's base ISO) and the lens set to f/16, a shutter speed of 1/200s should give more-or-less accurate exposure...

But it isn't. I'm seeing about one stop under-exposure. Indeed, if I shoot at f/11, exposure is pretty much spot-on.

What gives? Is this an inaccuracy in the camera's supposed ISO 200 sensitivity? Or perhaps f/16 on my F35-70 isn't actually f/16?

I vaguely recall a post some time ago - I think, perhaps, by @stevebrot - that mentioned how the "Sunny 16" rule doesn't quite work the same as you move further away from the equator. That might be a false memory, but if not, I'm wondering if the one stop difference I'm seeing could be due to that?

I intend to repeat the tests with other lenses and bodies, but won't have a chance to do so today, as we've family guests arriving later this afternoon and I have too many non-photography chores to address

UPDATE: I have an incident light meter app on my smartphone that works very well and is pretty accurate. It's giving almost identical exposure results to the *ist DL and F35-70. For ISO 200 and f/16, it's reporting a shutter speed of 1/80s, and changing aperture to f/11 gives shutter speed as 1/160s (close enough to 1/200s). So maybe the very, very slight haze is having more of an effect than I give it credit for? Questions, questions...


Any insight and/or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks
unfortunately, many of the early pentax digital cameras suffered from a consistent tendency to underexpose slightly. I found this out with my first digital Pentax, the k20D. It was a great camera, and I still have it as a backup to my K-3, which in some reviews has the same tendency in some situations under bright light conditions.
The way that I got around that was to put my exposure compensation dial up a stop and leave it there. The rule works ok for most digital cameras, but it works better on film, which has more forgiving exposure latitude than digital, which is more like slide film.
Pentax dslr shave gotten better over the years, but they have not up till now been able to shake the slight under exposure quirk. Not sure about the new k3 mark lll. But, if I had to choose living with slight under exposure or slight over exposure, under exposure it better, because it can be easily adjusted in post, without blowing highlights.
09-14-2021, 01:08 PM   #70
Pentaxian
ZombieArmy's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,704
QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Doesn't that result in under-exposure, given that the metering is expecting a mid-tone? Or do you compensate for that in your settings?
You're absolutely correct, my thinking was backwards. Though sometimes I will shoot like that to make a super high contrast scene like with black and white film.
09-14-2021, 04:56 PM   #71
GUB
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
GUB's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Wanganui
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,555
QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Spot metering and the Zone System really are the correct way to get the perfect exposure to suit the scene, the photographer's goals, and the limitations of the film/sensor except that it takes extra time and thought.
I haven't studied the zone system since my film days and my own colour darkroom. But a quick look at the wiki on it confirms my suspicions that it was about creating a negative that was the best raw material for darkroom manipulation. Many of us today create a raw file that is exactly the same - the best building block for the final image.
But that negative was still created with a standard global exposure wasn't it ? He didn't attempt to selectively dodge zones in camera did he? Or used custom graduated filters?
If so wasn't the zone system just a really really complicated way to arrive at the optimum exposure which in his landscapes probably sat within a 6 stop range.
(Hint - I have always thought the zone system was a bit overrated!)
09-14-2021, 06:47 PM - 3 Likes   #72
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 41,201
QuoteOriginally posted by GUB Quote
But that negative was still created with a standard global exposure wasn't it ?
Global exposure, yes (is there any other way?), but not a standard exposure.

The essence of the Zone System is placing* exposure to a key element of the subject based on reflected light readings, often with a spot meter. Say you want to ensure shadow detail in a portion of a landscape; you would meter that element and place exposure to Zone III, meaning two stops below the spot meter reading. The rest of tonal range is left to be dealt with during development of the negative and in the final print.

(Hint: Most people who think the Zone System to be overrated don't understand that it is about visualizing the end result and applying your craft to that end.)

For those that want to know more, I strongly recommend, Ansel Adams, "The Negative", it's is not just about film. It is about seeing. Regarding the book...

QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Yes, it's about film, but it changed my approach to photography. Setting up the exposure while thinking about the end result in a print, including what can be corrected via digital post processing.

Steve

* Placing the exposure, as opposed to simply metering from a gray card, an incident meter, or doing a reflected measurement on some element deemed a good middle value for the scene.

Last edited by stevebrot; 09-14-2021 at 07:24 PM.
09-14-2021, 07:02 PM - 1 Like   #73
Pentaxian
photoptimist's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2016
Photos: Albums
Posts: 4,708
QuoteOriginally posted by GUB Quote
I haven't studied the zone system since my film days and my own colour darkroom. But a quick look at the wiki on it confirms my suspicions that it was about creating a negative that was the best raw material for darkroom manipulation. Many of us today create a raw file that is exactly the same - the best building block for the final image.
But that negative was still created with a standard global exposure wasn't it ? He didn't attempt to selectively dodge zones in camera did he? Or used custom graduated filters?
If so wasn't the zone system just a really really complicated way to arrive at the optimum exposure which in his landscapes probably sat within a 6 stop range.
(Hint - I have always thought the zone system was a bit overrated!)
Yes, the Zone System ends up with a global exposure. And you are right that it is intended to create the best possible negative for the darkroom and printing. You could think of the Zone System as a double-ended version of ETTR for digital cameras.

To me, the key insight of the Zone system is in the photographer's thought process and decision about how the scene should be rendered on some range from formless black to formless white.

The problem with TTL metering is that the meter does not know if it is looking at a polar bear on a snow field (most of the scene should be near the nearly-white end of the Zone range) or a black cat on a coal pile (most of the scene should be near the nearly-black end of the Zone range). The photographer does know these things and can meter the subject, decide what zone it should be in, and adjust the exposure setting accordingly. That's useful not only for scenes and subjects that aren't 18% gray but also for high-key and low-key work where the photographer might want to intentionally push or pull the range in the scene to densify the shadows or blow the whites.

Finally, the Zone System and spot metering also give the photographers some insight into whether a given scene can be easily captured in a 8-bit JPEG, 14-bit RAW, or requires some fancy HDR work.
09-14-2021, 07:18 PM - 1 Like   #74
GUB
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
GUB's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Wanganui
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,555
QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Yes, the Zone System ends up with a global exposure. And you are right that it is intended to create the best possible negative for the darkroom and printing. You could think of the Zone System as a double-ended version of ETTR for digital cameras.
Yes -conversely you can think of metering via the histogram as the digital equivalent of the Zone System. The histogram is precisely laying out the tonal range - it is just that it is not physically locating a given tone in the image - it leaves that to your visualisation.
09-14-2021, 07:48 PM   #75
GUB
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
GUB's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Wanganui
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,555
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Global exposure, yes (is there any other way?)
Arguably yes especially with the large format he was using. A graduated filter is an example. No reason why you couldn't do custom versions - it would need an understanding of the cause and effect of size of blob on your filter and distance of filter from lens.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
*ist, article, brian, camera, f/16, f8, film, flickr, iso, mind, photography, post, rule, technique, time, under-exposure
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sunny 16 rule with Kodak Tri-x 400 Harbaror Pentax Film SLR Discussion 64 11-26-2020 08:36 AM
Rain under a sunny sky 😀 bisolet Monthly Photo Contests 29 04-12-2020 08:13 PM
Sunny 16 rule and my Pentax K1000..... PjayPages Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 30 04-30-2019 08:52 PM
Sunny 16 rule hit the APS-C limit biz-engineer General Photography 33 04-01-2015 08:16 PM
The Sunny 16 Rule. gaweidert Photographic Technique 26 04-03-2012 01:01 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:40 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top