--> Skip to main content

The "Sunny 16 Rule" and Analogue Photography

When I first started photographing, as a teenager in the early 1980's literally everybody used a film camera. All sorts of films, color and black and white could be purchased from convenience stores, drug stores, supermarkets, by mail order, or most likely at one of the ubiquitous One Hour Photo shops. You could get Disc film, 110, 127, 120, 220, and sheet film locally in San Jose where I grew up, as well as in most any city of a certain size.

For those of you just getting in to photography, you might find the notion of metering light for exposure difficult. Your iPhone's camera not only do a great job of metering and exposing, but you also have the advantage of being able to instantly see the results and correct if needed.

But in the century plus of history where film was king, there were a lot of tricks folks came up with to make exposure easy. Back in the 1980's there would typically be a small sheet of paper folded up in the film box with a bunch of information. Typically this sheet would have some variation of the "Sunny 16" rule, complete with a drawing.

A summary of this rule goes like this: you set your shutter speed to match the film speed (or as close as your shutter speed gets to it.) Then in normal, sunny daylight situations (not way up North in winter or anything, but where most of us live) set the aperture to f16. So if you were using an ISO 100 or 125 (or ASA as it was known back in my day) you'd set the shutter speed to 125/th and aperture to f16. It's almost fool-proof, especially if you're using negative films that typically have a lot of exposure latitude.

When the weather isn't sunny, the exposure table typically will have you open up the aperture and leave the shutter speed alone.

Some examples:

For 400 speed films

(like Tri-x, HP5 plus, Tmax 400, Kentmere 400, etc)

Sunny day (non-backlit subject)
1/500th @ f16
Light overcast
1/500th @ f11
1/500th @ f8
Heavy overcast or open shade
1/500th @ f5.6

For 100 and 125 speed films

Sunny day (non-backlit subject)
1/125th @ f16
Light overcast
1/125th @ f11
1/125th @ f8
Heavy overcast or open shade
1/125th @ f5.6

By the way, if you happen to find other film data sheets, I'd love to add them here. Please email me a link or scan. 


Popular posts from this blog

Linhof Serial Year List - Salomon Says

Recently I've acquired a few Linhof cameras. I got a 5x7 view camera from Oakland Museum's White Elephant Sale. Later I stumbled upon a Color Kardan 90 Jahre Jubalaeum edition on Craigslist. And more recently, I found a "baby Technika" 2x3 (6x9) at Oakland's East Bay Depot for Creative Re-use. Not knowing much about Linhof large format cameras, I tried getting more info online, and came across a strange thread on the Large Format Photography Forum . Basically on this thread various Linhof owners ask a guy named Bob Salomon what year their Linhof was made. And the thread is over 100 pages long! Sifting through that thread is mindnumbing. Why Bob doesn't just publish the list of serial numbers is beyond me. Maybe it's just nice to feel needed. So I started compiling a spreadsheet of the serial numbers and the answer Bob gives. If you don't feel like spending a couple days reading this thread to get a hint as to the age of your Lin

Lossy DNG File Sizes by ISO.

Fairly recently I discovered the magic of lossy DNG's. My stock photo library is ever growing. Though JPG's might really be enough for my archive, I've been keeping my raw files. RAW files take up lots of space. And RAW files can't typically keep user generated EXIF data in the file. RAW files keep their keywords and other metadata in a sidecar, that is if you regularly save the EXIF data to file. So recently I've been converting all my RAW files to lossy DNG's. After testing the highest ISO setting on the new-to-me A7R IV, I converted the files to lossy DNG's only to find a surprise. The very high ISO lossy DNG's were much larger than the original Sony RAW files! Lossy ARW vs Lossy DNG full image sample So I thought it would be a good test to shoot from the lowest to highest ISO, convert to lossy DNG and see where the file size savings invert. Here's the data as seen in the above screen shot: ISO Lossy Sony ARW Raw file size (MB) Lossy DNG file siz

How to stop annoying Corel pop-up ads

Corel has done something extra sleazy. For those not familiar, Corel has been making image editing software for as long as I can remember. The Canadian based company is known for budget graphics software including Corel Draw! (Similar to Adobe Illustrator) and Paint Shop Pro (Similar to Lightroom) as well as some other products. The price of their software makes it hard to resist. I bought a few of their products years ago. Recently ads started popping up in Windows (not on a web browser, but just in the right corner of my monitor. Those ads were for Corel products and would float over all other panes in my Windows. How sleazy is that?! So I found a way to get rid of the ads for good. Or at least until you install another Corel product. If this happens to you, and you find it as annoying as I do, follow this instruction. First, hit control (+) alt (+) delete and select task manager at the bottom. If you look at your task manager, you'll see something called "background