The “Sunny 16” Rule Explained


The “Sunny 16” Rule explained.
Whenever I post an image and give the exposure information as the “Sunny 16” Rule, I get lots of questions. So, I will explain the rule to you and how it can help you to do an exposure under certain circumstances without metering.
The “Sunny 16” rule states: “On a clear non-polluted day, with the sun behind you and front lighting a subject, and the sun above your shoulder height, with a subject that is larger than 10 inches by 15 inches, the exposure will be a shutter speed of 1/ISO of the film(digital sensor) at f16.” Variations of the rule are, for haze you will need to add a stop, for side lighting you add a stop, for back lighting you add 2 stops. Lastly any reciprocal value will work as well. Reciprocal values are if you go to f11, you speed up the shutter speed one stop. An example is if you are shooting in the conditions listed above at ISO 200, your shutter speed is 1/200th of a second at f16 or 1/400th at f11, or 1/800th at f8. Slight variations are possible but with digital you will be very close to the correct exposure using this rule under those conditions.
Having grown up using this old school rule, I used to be able to walk out during the day and estimate the correct exposure within a stop easily. I had friends that used to think it was “freakish” that I could do that, but I bet most all film shooters that put a lot of film through their cameras could do the same, even on a cloudy day or hazy. The really cool thing was when you bought a roll of film there was a piece of paper that most people threw away. However, on that piece of paper was a little drawing that told you what your exposure would be under different lighting conditions. Yep, I admit it, I am Old School. #WithMyTamron, #TamronImageMasters, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiPro

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