Sunny 16

Since using my Braun Paxette, I’ve had to learn about the Sunny 16 rule to get the exposure right. The details on this page are shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia.

The rule is simple.

  • Set your shutter speed to the inverse of your film speed.
ISO Shutter
100 1/100 (or 1/125)
200 1/200 (or 1/250)
400 1/400 (or 1/500)
  • Pick your aperture according to these conditions.
Aperture Lighting Conditions Shadow Detail
f/22 Snow/Sand Dark with sharp edges
f/16 Sunny Distinct
f/11 Slight Overcast Soft around edges
f/8 Overcast Barely visible
f/5.6 Heavy Overcast No shadows
f/4 Open Shade/Sunset No shadows

I’ve shot a couple of rolls of film in the Paxette now, with good success when it comes to exposure. Unfortunately the Paxette has a fixed shutter speed of 1/40 so it’s more a case of choosing the ISO to match the shutter. Fortunately Ilford produce a film with ISO50.

For a laugh, I also spent a day practising with my DSLR in full manual, exposing with the Sunny 16 rule. It worked!

I think all photographers should be aware of it, because it’s extremely useful. Give it a go!

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