Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-25-2014, 06:28 AM - 1 Like   #1
Senior Member




Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Watertown, NY
Posts: 267
Forgotten Basic Exposure Technique

I had all but forgotten the Sunny f16 rule. This technique was used with great success by photographers for decades.

I'm not going to explain the rule it's done on the link provided above. I Can say that if a beginner wants to learn how to manually set exposure, using this rule will move you in that direction very quicky. This rule isn't infallible it is however a great starting point for manually controlling exposure settings.


Above all it's very simple to understand and use:
  1. Recognize the type light you're photographing in
  2. Set you aperture according to the light you recognize
  3. Ensure your shutter speed and ISO match

There are considerations such as DOF, higher ISO needed, or a faster shutter speed to stop action but making those adjustments are as easy as counting clicks.

Example on a sunny day taking a portrait you may wish to have a shallower depth of field. If you just set your aperture to F4 to get the DOF you want without changing your other settings you'd get a beautifully blown out image.

Normally the rule is:
  1. ISO - 100
  2. Shutter Speed : 100
  3. f Stop - 16

Adjusting the rule to get a proper exposure will give you the same exposure as the rule above (for sunny) but with the DOF you want. if you change one adjustment you must move another in the opposite direction to maintain the same exposure.

Sunny F16 rule changed for DOF
  1. ISO - 100 (no change)
  2. f Stop - 4 (DOF)
  3. Shutter Speed to 1600
The above settings are the same exposure at ISO 100 (f16 & Tv 100 = f4 + tv 1600) you've just added DOF for the portrait. There is chart at the link above. As well there may be times when you need to increse or decrease exposure setting by a stop or partial stop to obtain proper exposure using the cameras meter.

As I said the rule isn't set in stone but it provides an excellent starting point as well as the opportunity to see how each adjustment interacts with the other.

Here are two samples both using this rule the sky photo required an adjustment to the ISO by 1/3 stop (my K30 is set up to allow the 1/3 adjustment) to ISO 125 to get the camera meter to the center position. These photo's are JPEG straight out of camera, resized, and a partial exif posted with a script.

They are for illustration purposes only: Very bright and cold day- the first just after noon and the second around 1:15 PM. In both cases I made the initial sunny and bright sunny settings in my home before going out to shoot.





03-25-2014, 07:30 AM   #2
Pentaxian
MD Optofonik's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: California
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 900
Wow, I had for gotten the Sunny 16 rule entirely. Probably one of the first things I learned (and forgot) some 35 years ago in Jr. High.
03-25-2014, 07:55 AM   #3
Pentaxian




Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: North Bohemia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,065
Don't forget about the diffraction.
03-25-2014, 09:32 AM   #4
Site Supporter
6BQ5's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Nevada, USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,064
There's definitely diffraction at f/16 for an APS sized sensor. Thankfully, the Sunny 16 guide is scalable to other apertures and ISO settings.

At the same time though, if you don't have enough time to set everything up for optimum performance then at least you'll get the shot using Sunny 16. You can make up for some deficiencies with post processing if you shoot in raw.

03-25-2014, 09:37 AM   #5
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 6,929
QuoteOriginally posted by geru2000 Quote

...This technique was used with great success by photographers for decades.
Yeah, but one thing to remember too is that rule needs to be adjusted for time of day, time of year, sunny beach/snow vs land with foliage. And the latitude of negative film is much greater the digital sensor ( ie can tolerate exposure being less than perfect). The digital sensor is sensitive to 1/3 stop but with negative film, you could be off by a stop or more and still get a usable images with many films and especially BW film.
03-25-2014, 10:50 AM   #6
Veteran Member
FrankC's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 318
I would surmise that the Sunny-16 rule was devised for those using cameras without meters. Over time, the rule has become antiquated unless that is of course you're using a camera without a working light meter.
03-25-2014, 11:02 AM   #7
Pentaxian
PPPPPP42's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Wisconsin
Photos: Albums
Posts: 845
It's definitely worth knowing, but I would agree that sunny 16 is the pencil and paper on the flight deck of a Boeing 777, good to know how to use and handy for some things but if its all you have left you have a serious problem.
03-25-2014, 11:10 AM - 1 Like   #8
Veteran Member
FrankC's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 318
Instead of the Sunny-16 rule to get a starting point on your metering, I'd suggest learning to recognize items that are at or near 18% gray such as healthy green grass. Although many carry 18% gray cards, I find that to be rather unnecessary. The idea behind the card is that its reflectance value is 18% and all meters (handheld too) are calibrated to provide an exposure to render the light that it reads as an 18% gray tone. So it goes without saying that if you're metering off something that isn't 18% gray, your meter may be fooled. So a lot of beginning photography students carry gray cards.
Instead of carrying one more thing in my bag, I learned that the exposure taken off the palm of my hand is exactly 1 stop below what it should be to properly render the value of my hand. So I just spot meter off my hand to get a base exposure and then set things in manual one stop over the indicated expsure. Now, not all meters are exactly the same nor is the reflectance value of everyone's hand, so your mileage may vary. The reason I do this is to make sure my highlights are reasonably recorded correctly. Remember, just like slide film, you want to meter for the most important highlights with digital cameras. Print film (color or B&W) you will want to meter for your shadow areas and let your highlight fall where they may.

03-25-2014, 01:38 PM - 1 Like   #9
Loyal Site Supporter
AquaDome's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: New Carlisle, IN
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,399
Your camera's light meter is at least as accurate as a hand-held, and if it fails, your camera is probably dead too. Plus, you can chimp your way along without ever looking at the meter, or even use Auto. So the point of knowing Sunny 16 isn't "in case of emergency". The point is to do it enough times that you calibrate your eyeballs and brain to the same metric the camera is using. When you and your camera are sympatico, the light meter becomes more like a thermometer and less like a slide-rule.
03-29-2014, 04:11 PM   #10
Senior Member




Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Watertown, NY
Posts: 267
Original Poster
I posted this with the sole intent of providing the beginner with a starting point for using manual settings. It's easier to remember 5 numbers than 35 combinations of numbers to get the proper exposure.

I thought the Sunny f-16 rule to be an easy way for a beginner to move to full manual operation. They can change any setting they want, if they want to close the aperture from f16 to f10 then all they need to do is increase their shutter speed to a point where their internal meter is at the center point.

As far as diffraction goes it's nothing more than a trade off not unlike others we make in photography. Many pro landscape photographers will sacrifice sharpness for the greater depth of field if needed.

---------- Post added 03-29-2014 at 07:23 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
Your camera's light meter is at least as accurate as a hand-held, and if it fails, your camera is probably dead too. Plus, you can chimp your way along without ever looking at the meter, or even use Auto. So the point of knowing Sunny 16 isn't "in case of emergency". The point is to do it enough times that you calibrate your eyeballs and brain to the same metric the camera is using. When you and your camera are sympatico, the light meter becomes more like a thermometer and less like a slide-rule.
The camera meter is good but by no means perfect and IMO it's not as accurate as a hand held meter in many circumstances such a portraiture. There are many situations when the cameras meter is fooled the most common is when a subject is back-lit or a subject in light/dark clothing can throw the cameras meter off.

Last edited by geru2000; 03-29-2014 at 04:24 PM.
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!
adjustment, beginner, camera, cameras, change, dof, exposure, f16, iso, light, meter, pentax help, photography, rule, settings, shutter, stop, subject
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Abstract Forgotten dressing. pavpen Post Your Photos! 4 01-09-2014 09:38 PM
Machinery My almost forgotten lens. charliezap Post Your Photos! 16 10-18-2013 09:27 AM
Black & White Forgotten jnguyen Post Your Photos! 7 02-21-2013 09:40 AM
Long Exposure Technique easytiger Pentax Film SLR Discussion 42 07-30-2011 01:50 PM
Has anyone got any success doing this multi exposure procedure technique? shaolin95 Pentax DSLR Discussion 5 09-13-2009 03:37 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:07 AM. | See also: NikonForums.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