Cameras: How long has the sunny 16 rule been around? Does anybody still use it?

6 Answers

Relevance
  • qrk
    Lv 7
    6 months ago
    Best answer

    Probably goes back at least 100 years. With digital cameras it's not necessary since matrix metering is built in. However, when I shoot manual with my digital cameras, I will set my exposure close to what I think it should be (sunny 16 rule is somehow etched in my head without thinking about it) and fine tune the exposure using the built-in light meter. I'm usually pretty close unless it's low light.

    • Frank
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      I was out shooting and my film camera was giving me some weird exposures. It was because of my understanding of the Sunny-16 rule that I was able to detect a problem with my camera. So while digital cameras are great, knowing the Sunny-16 rule is still relevant for film users.

  • Frank
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    The Sunny-16 rule states that your exposure is 1/your film's ISO/ASA at f/16 on a sunny day. This rule applies to any film camera ever produced including the very first camera used in 1826. This worked because film ASA/ISO was standardized. Regardless of which brand of film you used, using the Sunny-16 rule worked because every manufacturer made their film to meet industry standards. However today's cameras aren't always made this way. Many cameras, specifically those in smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras, don't always adhere to the ISO/ASA standards. For example, one could set the ISO to, say, 100. The camera will provide an exposure and produce an acceptable image. However, using a hand-held light meter at the same ISO can show a totally different combination of shutter speed and aperture. Manufacturers do this to trick the consumer into thinking that their camera goes down to a low ISO of, say, 100, but in reality the sensor has the same sensitivity of ISO 200 or even ISO 400. Tony Northrup did a YouTube video addressing this issue on his "Tony & Chelsea Northrup" YouTube channel

    • Alan
      Lv 6
      6 months agoReport

      Ferdinand Hurter & V.C. Driffield H& D soeed 1890 --1930's Weston & GE speed (light meters) American Standards Association and the British Standards Association followed ASA and BSA. German DIN and Russian GOST.In 1974 ASA and DIN combined via ISO of Geneva Switzerland. First took 8 hr. exposure.

  • Alan
    Lv 6
    6 months ago

    The earliest photographers were forced to experiment on their own, and from these experiments came tables, charts and the Sunny f/16 rule. The first such table was published in 1840 in the instruction book that accompanied the Daguerreotype Camera. This was the first practical camera. Photography was invented in France by Joseph Niepce who took the first picture in 1826. Watkins Bee Exposure Meter, a pocket circular slide rule called an Actinometer, circa 1900 was popular.

    It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the electric exposure meter was invented and marketed. One of the most popular early meters was made by Western Electric -- called the Weston Light meter.

    Yes the Sunny f/16 Rule still works.

  • John P
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Probably it has been around since the 1920s if using a camera with the usual controls. Indeed many digital compact cameras go down only to f8, so a bit of mental maths is needed.

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • keerok
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    ...for the longest time since apertures settings were placed on cameras.

    I still use the Sunny 16 Rule at times when I'm using old film lenses (choosing to ignore my dSLR's lightmeter). I'm forcing myself to do so, lest I forget the technique.

  • 6 months ago

    LOL! A lot of cameras these days won't even go down to f:16!

    I started out with film cameras that had no light meter. In those days you had to BUY a separate light meter and they were kind of expensive. So we learned all about EV numbers and all that. Sunlight was f:16, 'bright' shade was two stops more open, 'dark shade' was 3 stops. Under artificial light you were totally on your own.

    Now I'm not sure but I think digital cameras have more 'latitude' than film did, especially color film. Plus cameras today will automatically set your ISO speed! (Which we used to call ASA speed, and then it was USASI speed). Even cheap cameras have fifteen metering patterns., so the time you used to spend learning how to set your shutter and aperture, you now spend learning how to choose your metering pattern.

    • Frank
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      Some interesting points, but none actually address the OP's question.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.