The Sunny 16 Rule


DSC_0041Sunny 16 rule
The sunny 16 rule is a nice reference for the right exposure when you want to use manual mode and don’t have a light meter or other diagnostic tools on hand with you.
The sunny 16 rule was developed in the day of film cameras to help approximate settings on your camera to get an image that wasn’t too dark or too bright.

With the Sunny 16 rule,  Set your aperture to F/16 and your shutter speed to match you ISO. If your ISO is 100 set you shutter speed to 1/100th and you F stop to F16 and you will have a very close exposure.

So if you shot with your camera in manual mode like I do, this is a good way to get your exposure very close quickly.

I have found that in some situations that the Sunny 16 rule will get you closer to the correct exposure than your in camera light meter.

So here are some other rules that work in similar way.

The Snowy / Sandy F22 Rule

The Overcast F8 Rule

The Slightly Overcast F11 Rule

The Heavy Overcast F5.6 Rule

The Sunset F4 Rule

Okay so you want to shoot a sunset but you don’t want the shallow depth of field that F4 will give you. Close the F Stop down to say F11 which is 3 stops from F4. So adjust you shutter speed 3 stops so if you ISO is 100 at f11 your shutter speed would be 1/15th

From these rules you can calculate an exposure for just about any situation. Shoot a test shot and check you histogram.

Lily above was shot at ISO 200  F16 @ 1/250 sec

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One Response to The Sunny 16 Rule

  1. Pingback: The Sunny 16 Rule | Bruce Wunderlich Photography

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