Exposure – Sunny 16 Rule

The Sunny 16 Rule: Or How To Set Camera Exposures Without a Light Meter

1.Find out your film speed – it is written on the box and the film casette – usually like 100/21° or 400/27°.

2.The first of the two numbers is the arithmetical film speed. Use this for determining exposure. e.g. If using HP5, you’ll select 400.

3.If you set the shutter speed to the nearest fraction to 1/film speed you can then use the aperture indicated by the weather conditions below. e.g. with HP5, starting with 1/400, your shutter speed would be 1/500

BRIGHT SUN – f16

HAZY SUN – f11

 SHADE on SUNNY DAY or CLOUDY but BRIGHT – f8

DULL WEATHER – f5.6

 

4. You can use equivalent exposures to these – if you open the lens one stop, you can move to one shutter speed faster – for example 1/500 at f8 gives the same exposure as 1/1000 at f5.6 or 1/250 at f11.  See shutter speed / aperture chart below

Tips:

  •  Get used to checking your exposures with this rule – sometimes called the ‘Sunny 16’ rule and you will then know if your meter has gone wrong.
  •  In the first couple of hours after dawn and the last couple before sunset, give an extra stop of exposure than indicated by this rule.
  •  Shutter speed / aperture chart: each of  the following pairings will render the same exposure

22        16       11         8         5.6         4           2.8          1.7

1/15   1/30   1/60   1/125   1/250   1/500   1/1000   1/2000

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