Metering a scene with your camera and the naked eye

Posted by Bryan Dunn on


As of today, light meters are a popular option among the professional photographers across the globe. Before the invention of light meters, however, photographers used a specific way to figure out how to configure the camera’s exposure settings. Interestingly, this old school method is used by some of the film photographers and street photographers.

This special strategy is known as Sunny 16 Rule and here’s how to determine it.
Assuming that you have a sunny day with a clear sky, you should set the aperture to f/16. Irrespective of the ISO you are using, the shutter speed is reciprocal value of the ISO value you use. You can put it together as a formula; ISO X = 1/X shutter speed.

If the ISO value 300 at f/16, the shutter speed should be 1/300 seconds. If the ISO is 200, the shutter speed will be 1/200 seconds.

Depending on the amount of brightness, you will have to change the shutter speed. For instance, if it is slightly cloudy out there, make it f11. The shadier the surrounding, the lesser the shutter speed should be.

By practicing this rule, you will not have to depend solely on the camera’s metering.

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