Sunny 16 rule?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ken Scharf, Aug 29, 2004.

  1. Ken Scharf

    Ken Scharf Guest

    Does the "sunny 16" exposure rule apply to
    digicams? That's where on a bright sunny day
    if you shot at f16 the exposure will be correct
    if the shutter speed is equal to the ASA rating
    of the film. So if you shot with ASA200 film,
    you'd set the camera for 1/200 sec (closest match
    would be 1/250 on most cameras).

    Since many digicams don't stop down more than
    F8, you'd double the shutter speed. IE:
    set the camera at ASA200 and use 1/400 sec
    (probably 1/500 is nearest setting).

    Oh and here's a neat fact, the rule also applies
    to taking photos of the full moon (since the moon
    is in bright sunlight!). With a telescope having
    an F8 objective lens shooting with ASA 100 film,
    shutter speed of 1/200.

    That's with film though, I assume digicams follow
    the same rules.
     
    Ken Scharf, Aug 29, 2004
    #1
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  2. Ken Scharf <> wrote in news:lbpYc.40252$%
    :

    > Does the "sunny 16" exposure rule apply to digicams?


    Yes.

    > That's where on a bright sunny day
    > if you shot at f16 the exposure will be correct
    > if the shutter speed is equal to the ASA rating
    > of the film. So if you shot with ASA200 film,
    > you'd set the camera for 1/200 sec (closest match
    > would be 1/250 on most cameras).
    >
    > Since many digicams don't stop down more than
    > F8, you'd double the shutter speed. IE:
    > set the camera at ASA200 and use 1/400 sec
    > (probably 1/500 is nearest setting).


    Nope - F8 is two stops so you have to multiply with 4
    or rather divide :) as 1/800 is a quarter of the time
    of 1/200. But even better is to shot at ISO100, F5.6
    and 1/800 or ISO50, F4 and 1/800. The compact digicams
    (with small sensors) are not optimally sharp at F8.

    > Oh and here's a neat fact, the rule also applies
    > to taking photos of the full moon (since the moon
    > is in bright sunlight!). With a telescope having
    > an F8 objective lens shooting with ASA 100 film,
    > shutter speed of 1/200.
    >
    > That's with film though, I assume digicams follow
    > the same rules.


    Yepp.


    /Roland
     
    Roland Karlsson, Aug 29, 2004
    #2
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  3. Ken Scharf

    Alan Browne Guest

    Ken Scharf wrote:
    > Does the "sunny 16" exposure rule apply to
    > digicams? That's where on a bright sunny day
    > if you shot at f16 the exposure will be correct
    > if the shutter speed is equal to the ASA rating
    > of the film. So if you shot with ASA200 film,
    > you'd set the camera for 1/200 sec (closest match
    > would be 1/250 on most cameras).


    It should if the camera follows the ISO convention correclty.


    >
    > Since many digicams don't stop down more than
    > F8, you'd double the shutter speed. IE:
    > set the camera at ASA200 and use 1/400 sec
    > (probably 1/500 is nearest setting).


    Er, f/16 -> f/8 is two (2) stops. So, you would need 1/800
    instead of 1/200. (1/750 for most 1/2 stop cameras.

    For negative film, an overexposure is always preferable to an
    underexposure, given a choice of 1/500 or 1/250, always take the
    slower speed. For slide film (you should use a camera with 1/3
    stops in the first place...) a 1/3 slower shutter will result in
    a slightly "thinner" slide and this is often acceptable.

    As digital sensors behave somewhat like slide film wrt exposure,
    a slight overexposre (1/3) is acceptable... an underexposure of a
    stop is easilly rectified in PS if the original file was saved
    RAW ... assuming you have the plugin.


    >
    > Oh and here's a neat fact, the rule also applies
    > to taking photos of the full moon (since the moon
    > is in bright sunlight!). With a telescope having
    > an F8 objective lens shooting with ASA 100 film,
    > shutter speed of 1/200.


    If the moon is low, the setting should be "Lunar-leven
    (Lunar-11)". Eg: f/11 @ shutter speed = ISO.

    f/11 -> f/8 is one stop, so a doubling of the speed is fine.

    But if the moon is high, then "sunny-16" applies, and that is a
    two-stop (2 stop) difference, not one.


    >
    > That's with film though, I assume digicams follow
    > the same rules.


    From time to time you will see postings that suggest the
    manufacturers do not follow the ISO sensitivity very well.

    Cheers,
    Alan.


    --
    -- rec.photo.equipment.35mm user resource:
    -- http://www.aliasimages.com/rpe35mmur.htm
    -- e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.--
     
    Alan Browne, Aug 29, 2004
    #3
  4. Ken Scharf

    Chris Brown Guest

    In article <lbpYc.40252$%>,
    Ken Scharf <> wrote:
    >Does the "sunny 16" exposure rule apply to
    >digicams?


    Yes.

    >Since many digicams don't stop down more than
    >F8, you'd double the shutter speed. IE:
    >set the camera at ASA200 and use 1/400 sec
    >(probably 1/500 is nearest setting).


    Quadruple. f/8 is two stops faster than f/16, so if 1/200 is correct at
    f/16, then 1/800 is what you want for f/8.
     
    Chris Brown, Aug 29, 2004
    #4
  5. "Roland Karlsson" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns9554E2A0EBA1Dklotjohan@130.133.1.4...
    > Ken Scharf <> wrote in news:lbpYc.40252$%
    > :
    >
    > > Does the "sunny 16" exposure rule apply to digicams?

    >
    > Yes.


    No. It applies to negative films where there's enough latitude that the
    printer can rescue your incorrect exposures. It's advisable to use the meter
    (and the histogram) with slide films and digital cameras, or with negative
    films if you care about getting the most from the film.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Aug 29, 2004
    #5
  6. Alan Browne <> wrote in news:_ZqYc.14049
    $:

    > From time to time you will see postings that suggest the
    > manufacturers do not follow the ISO sensitivity very well.
    >


    Yepp - the ISO sensitivity for film is rather easy to define.
    You can build a brand independent test equipment for the film
    you want to test. There are differnet definitions for negative
    and positive film though.

    But - how do you test that a digital camera follows the ISO
    specification? Compact digital cameras have a non removable
    lens. How do you know what F-stop the camera really chooses?
    How are you sure that the camera really chooses the correct
    exposure time? Then - a digital camera may make some "hokus pokus"
    when doing the actual translation from charges to digital values,
    and it probably does. It might apply some levelling of the
    values before converting to e.g. JPEG.

    Now - you can of course test wether the camera's exposure
    meassurement system gives the same result as a well callibrated
    exposure meter. But, cameras have never been so good att doing
    that - that was the case even for film based cameras. And,
    even worse, modern cameras have some kind of "intelligent"
    exposure meassurement, evaluating the picture. Now we are
    talking about serious "hokus pokus".

    So - in short. Yes there might be problems with what the camera
    call ISO 100. The G2 I have have ISO 50. Most other compact
    dicicams have ISO 100 as lowest. But tests - e.g. at www.dpreview.com -
    shows that this is the same sensitivity. So - either G2 lies about
    being too bad or the other lying about being too good. What do
    you think is the case?


    /Roland
     
    Roland Karlsson, Aug 29, 2004
    #6
  7. "David J. Littleboy" <> wrote in
    news:cgtefp$n6g$:

    >> > Does the "sunny 16" exposure rule apply to digicams?

    >>
    >> Yes.

    >
    > No. It applies to negative films where there's enough latitude that
    > the printer can rescue your incorrect exposures. It's advisable to use
    > the meter (and the histogram) with slide films and digital cameras, or
    > with negative films if you care about getting the most from the film.


    The sunny 16 rule is very dependable in bright sunshine as our
    Sun is a very dependable source of light. If it was not, we would
    be in great trouble.

    Of course, a meeter is needed for the shadows. But for well lit parts,
    nope not at all.


    /Roland
     
    Roland Karlsson, Aug 29, 2004
    #7
  8. Ken Scharf

    grim Guest

    "Roland Karlsson" <> wrote
    >
    > The sunny 16 rule is very dependable in bright sunshine as our
    > Sun is a very dependable source of light. If it was not, we would
    > be in great trouble.


    Well, the brightness of the sun at the Earth isn't a constant. It's 7%
    brighter in January than in July (the Earth is 3.5% closer to the sun in
    January). Might not make much of a difference to what shutter speed you use,
    but it's just one variable (among many other more important ones) that can
    vary the intensity of sunlight in a picture.
     
    grim, Aug 29, 2004
    #8
  9. Ken Scharf

    Alan Browne Guest

    Roland Karlsson wrote:

    > Now - you can of course test wether the camera's exposure
    > meassurement system gives the same result as a well callibrated
    > exposure meter. But, cameras have never been so good att doing
    > that - that was the case even for film based cameras. And,
    > even worse, modern cameras have some kind of "intelligent"
    > exposure meassurement, evaluating the picture. Now we are
    > talking about serious "hokus pokus".


    For one thing, I would expect that if I light a grey card such
    that an incident meter gives me a reading (let's say f/5.6 @
    1/15) and that I shoot the the image with that setting... when I
    look at the image rgb channels, they should:

    1) each show an equal level (or very nearly so) (R=G=B) AND

    that level should be 18% grey... which according to at least
    http://astro.umsystem.edu/apml/ARCHIVES/JUN04/msg00561.html
    is R=G=B=115 (scale of 0..255).

    (One fellow in the link above scanned a grey card and got
    121,121,121 which is pretty close).

    http://www.aim-dtp.net/aim/calibration/middle_gray/ near bottom
    suggests that the mid point (R=G=B=128) is the correct value.

    In any case, if R,G,B are each in the range 110 - 130 for a
    properly exposed shot of a grey card, then it is likely the
    metering of the camera is correct.

    Cheers,
    Alan


    --
    -- rec.photo.equipment.35mm user resource:
    -- http://www.aliasimages.com/rpe35mmur.htm
    -- e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.--
     
    Alan Browne, Aug 29, 2004
    #9
  10. Ken Scharf

    Mark M Guest

    "Ken Scharf" <> wrote in message
    news:lbpYc.40252$%...
    > Does the "sunny 16" exposure rule apply to
    > digicams?


    Only as a rough guide.
    You will discover that it is often too dark with either digital or slide
    film.
    You'll have to experiement with your camera.
    As for my 10D, 16 is usually too dark.
    F11 is closer--but then it varies a lot due to atmospheric conditions and
    other factors.
     
    Mark M, Aug 29, 2004
    #10
  11. "Roland Karlsson" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns9554E8D8112C3klotjohan@130.133.1.4...
    > "David J. Littleboy" <> wrote in
    > news:cgtefp$n6g$:
    >
    > >> > Does the "sunny 16" exposure rule apply to digicams?
    > >>
    > >> Yes.

    > >
    > > No. It applies to negative films where there's enough latitude that
    > > the printer can rescue your incorrect exposures. It's advisable to use
    > > the meter (and the histogram) with slide films and digital cameras, or
    > > with negative films if you care about getting the most from the film.

    >
    > The sunny 16 rule is very dependable in bright sunshine as our
    > Sun is a very dependable source of light. If it was not, we would
    > be in great trouble.


    If you care about your exposures, you'll find that Sunny 16 is rarely
    correct.

    > Of course, a meeter is needed for the shadows. But for well lit parts,
    > nope not at all.


    It's not just shadows: sunny 16 simply is simply wrong too much of the time
    to use for slides and digital.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Aug 29, 2004
    #11
  12. << Oh and here's a neat fact, the rule also applies
    to taking photos of the full moon (since the moon
    is in bright sunlight!). With a telescope having
    an F8 objective lens shooting with ASA 100 film,
    shutter speed of 1/200. >>

    Ken-

    Others caught the apparent discrepancy in shutter speed. However, there is
    another factor to consider. While the moon appears white to the eye, it is not
    100 percent reflective. In other words, it is a big gray rock.

    For the moon to look the way you expect (more white than gray), an additional
    stop would be appropriate. Therefore your 1/200 second would be right on!

    Fred
     
    Fred McKenzie, Aug 29, 2004
    #12
  13. "Mark M" <> wrote in message
    news:ZisYc.110794$Lj.34249@fed1read03...
    >
    > "Ken Scharf" <> wrote in message
    > news:lbpYc.40252$%...
    > > Does the "sunny 16" exposure rule apply to
    > > digicams?

    >
    > Only as a rough guide.
    > You will discover that it is often too dark with either digital or slide
    > film.
    > You'll have to experiement with your camera.
    > As for my 10D, 16 is usually too dark.
    > F11 is closer--but then it varies a lot due to atmospheric conditions and
    > other factors.


    Yup. That's what I find with slide film as well.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Aug 29, 2004
    #13
  14. Ken Scharf

    Peter Irwin Guest

    grim <> wrote:
    > "Roland Karlsson" <> wrote
    >>
    >> The sunny 16 rule is very dependable in bright sunshine as our
    >> Sun is a very dependable source of light. If it was not, we would
    >> be in great trouble.

    >
    > Well, the brightness of the sun at the Earth isn't a constant. It's 7%
    > brighter in January than in July (the Earth is 3.5% closer to the sun in
    > January). Might not make much of a difference to what shutter speed you use,
    > but it's just one variable (among many other more important ones) that can
    > vary the intensity of sunlight in a picture.


    You do realise that 7% is just under one tenth of a stop?
    If you compare two good lightmeters you will probably find
    twice that much difference between them. A high quality
    mechanical shutter fresh from a CLA will typically have
    errors near a sixth of a stop. Slide film can vary up to
    one third stop from its rating on a batch to batch basis.

    A seven percent variation in light is really pretty tiny.

    Peter.
    --
     
    Peter Irwin, Aug 29, 2004
    #14
  15. Ken Scharf

    grim Guest

    "Peter Irwin" <> wrote
    > grim <> wrote:
    > > "Roland Karlsson" <> wrote
    > >>
    > >> The sunny 16 rule is very dependable in bright sunshine as our
    > >> Sun is a very dependable source of light. If it was not, we would
    > >> be in great trouble.

    > >
    > > Well, the brightness of the sun at the Earth isn't a constant. It's 7%
    > > brighter in January than in July (the Earth is 3.5% closer to the sun in
    > > January). Might not make much of a difference to what shutter speed you

    use,
    > > but it's just one variable (among many other more important ones) that

    can
    > > vary the intensity of sunlight in a picture.

    >
    > You do realise that 7% is just under one tenth of a stop?

    ....
    > A seven percent variation in light is really pretty tiny.


    Yeah, which is why I said it's just one variable among other more important
    ones to consider when using the "sunny 16" rule. Atmospheric haze, altitude,
    dryness of the air, angle of the sun above the horizon, reflections, etc.,
    etc., etc.

    7% here, 10% there, 20% elsewhere... it all makes for a "rule" that is a
    pretty poor "rule". The sun isn't nearly as dependable as Roland implies.
    I'd throw out the rule and use the camera's light meter.
     
    grim, Aug 30, 2004
    #15
  16. Ken Scharf

    Guest

    In message <lbpYc.40252$%>,
    Ken Scharf <> wrote:

    >Does the "sunny 16" exposure rule apply to
    >digicams? That's where on a bright sunny day
    >if you shot at f16 the exposure will be correct
    >if the shutter speed is equal to the ASA rating
    >of the film. So if you shot with ASA200 film,
    >you'd set the camera for 1/200 sec (closest match
    >would be 1/250 on most cameras).


    Doesn't work with my 10D. Even on the brightest, sunniest days, with
    the bluest skies and low humidity, I need sunny f10 to get a good
    exposure. The only time sunny f16 has worked for me is in midtown
    Manhattan, where you get both direct sun and sun bouncing off of
    buildings. Out in an open field, sunny f16 gives results like this on a
    histogram, of foliage and blue sky:


    | ***** |
    | * * |
    | * ** |
    |* ** |

    >Since many digicams don't stop down more than
    >F8, you'd double the shutter speed. IE:
    >set the camera at ASA200 and use 1/400 sec
    >(probably 1/500 is nearest setting).
    >
    >Oh and here's a neat fact, the rule also applies
    >to taking photos of the full moon (since the moon
    >is in bright sunlight!). With a telescope having
    >an F8 objective lens shooting with ASA 100 film,
    >shutter speed of 1/200.


    With my 10D, "Sunny f8" is needed for a full moon, even in a relatively
    clear sky.

    >That's with film though, I assume digicams follow
    >the same rules.


    I would think so too. The metering on my 10D exposes a grey card under
    the sunny f16 sun at about 128 (out of 255). If I use sunny f16 out in
    the open, it registers around 90. In midtown-Manhattan, it registers
    around 120.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
     
    , Aug 30, 2004
    #16
  17. Ken Scharf

    Guest

    In message <_ZqYc.14049$>,
    Alan Browne <> wrote:

    > From time to time you will see postings that suggest the
    >manufacturers do not follow the ISO sensitivity very well.


    Which could mean that claims of noise at specific ISOs are meaningless.

    If camera A has the same noise at ISO 200 that camera B has at ISO 100,
    who's to say that they both not really ISO 140, and have the same noise?
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
     
    , Aug 30, 2004
    #17
  18. Ken Scharf

    Guest

    In message <ZisYc.110794$Lj.34249@fed1read03>,
    "Mark M" <> wrote:

    >"Ken Scharf" <> wrote in message
    >news:lbpYc.40252$%...
    >> Does the "sunny 16" exposure rule apply to
    >> digicams?

    >
    >Only as a rough guide.
    >You will discover that it is often too dark with either digital or slide
    >film.
    >You'll have to experiement with your camera.
    >As for my 10D, 16 is usually too dark.
    >F11 is closer--but then it varies a lot due to atmospheric conditions and
    >other factors.


    The best-looking unaltered exposures of the embedded JPEGs (and
    default-processed RAW files) of scenes taken under seeming "sunny f16"
    conditions with my 10D work out to be "sunny f10", on the average.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
     
    , Aug 30, 2004
    #18
  19. Ken Scharf

    Guest

    In message <>,
    (Fred McKenzie) wrote:

    >Others caught the apparent discrepancy in shutter speed. However, there is
    >another factor to consider. While the moon appears white to the eye, it is not
    >100 percent reflective. In other words, it is a big gray rock.
    >
    >For the moon to look the way you expect (more white than gray), an additional
    >stop would be appropriate. Therefore your 1/200 second would be right on!


    f8 @ 1/ISO is what works best for me, shooting a high full moon in clear
    skies.

    Of course, a low red moon on the horizon takes so long to expose at ISO
    100 that it streaks.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
     
    , Aug 30, 2004
    #19
  20. Ken Scharf

    Peter Irwin Guest

    grim <> wrote:
    > "Peter Irwin" <> wrote
    >> You do realise that 7% is just under one tenth of a stop?

    > ...
    >> A seven percent variation in light is really pretty tiny.

    >
    > Yeah, which is why I said it's just one variable among other more important
    > ones to consider when using the "sunny 16" rule. Atmospheric haze, altitude,
    > dryness of the air, angle of the sun above the horizon, reflections, etc.,
    > etc., etc.


    It is remarkable how often the rule is within a half stop of the
    reading from an incident light meter. The angle of the sun
    above the horizon makes less difference than you would think
    except for the first two hours after sunrise and the last two
    hours before sunset. Haze is something you have to judge and allow
    for. Reflections are covered under the "light sand or snow" f/22
    part of the rule, of course the same correction must be applied
    to cloudy bright, so cloudy bright on light sand or snow should
    be f/11.

    > 7% here, 10% there, 20% elsewhere... it all makes for a "rule" that is a
    > pretty poor "rule". The sun isn't nearly as dependable as Roland implies.
    > I'd throw out the rule and use the camera's light meter.


    Using a light meter is a really good idea, but I think if you
    gave the rule a fair test you would be surprised how close
    it will get you under bright sky conditions.

    Peter.
    --
     
    Peter Irwin, Aug 30, 2004
    #20
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