Back in the days of film cameras, being able to accurately judge a correct exposure without having to fish around for a light meter was extremely handy. To do this, photographers would use the Sunny 16 Rule. Now that we have light meters and histograms built into our digital cameras it’s easy to dismiss it as a relic of a bygone era. However, knowing a simple and accurate formula to calculate a good exposure can save you time and be very useful. And if you want to try film photography, it’s a must-know rule.
How many times have you been attaching a tripod plate and realised that you need to scrabble around and find a coin to screw it up tight enough? For me, too many times.
But now this Camera Multi-tool from Kikkerland Design could be just the very thing you’ve been missing in your kit bag. It even has the Sunny 16 rule etched into it for those of us that don’t want to commit it to memory.
Do people who take photos today still use the Sunny 16 Rule? Do they even know about the Sunny 16 Rule? I think it might be regarded as a little old-fashioned now. After all, it is firmly rooted in the days of film. If it isn’t being taught (and I’ve taken a quick flick through a selection of recently published photography basics books and can’t find a reference to it) that’s a shame, because I think it’s rather useful.
The Sunny 16 Rule is a great addition to any photographer’s toolbox. Basically it means that when shooting on a sunny day @ISO100 you’d be pretty close if shooting @1/100 and f/16. It is a clever rule because it is very easy to remember. 100 @ 1/100.
Photographer Neil van Niekerk points out that it is pretty easy to complement this rule when trying to overcome the sun with an external strobe. And his method means you can get a great exposure with no metering. The idea is pretty simple: setting your strobe to full power and using the strobe’s GN (Guide Number) to figure out where to place the strobe. This would get a pretty good first exposure.