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Ricoh
17th April 2016, 11:14 PM
Anyone on the forum use the Sunny 16 approach to exposure? Possibly not with the digital OMDs etc given you can't see the shutter speed and aperture without referring to the display or the EVF. But some here still use film, or digital cameras with actual shutter speed dials with numbers and lens mounted aperture control, again with numbers inscribed.

If you do use Sunny 16, do you memorise it with all the variables of different aperture and shutter speed, and possibly, but unlikely, the various ISO values (you would need a brain of the likes of Einstein if you attempt this), or do you carry a look up table with you when you're out shooting?

I'm basically looking for tips, if anyone would like to share their technique.

Zuiko
18th April 2016, 09:40 AM
Anyone on the forum use the Sunny 16 approach to exposure? Possibly not with the digital OMDs etc given you can't see the shutter speed and aperture without referring to the display or the EVF. But some here still use film, or digital cameras with actual shutter speed dials with numbers and lens mounted aperture control, again with numbers inscribed.

If you do use Sunny 16, do you memorise it with all the variables of different aperture and shutter speed, and possibly, but unlikely, the various ISO values (you would need a brain of the likes of Einstein if you attempt this), or do you carry a look up table with you when you're out shooting?

I'm basically looking for tips, if anyone would like to share their technique.

It still holds good if you are using a camera without reliable auto metering, but of course only in sunny weather and during several hours either side of midday. It doesn't really require much remembering, the ISO is your shutter speed when f16 is your aperture. If you want to shoot at f5.6, for example, it's easy enough to calculate a 3 stop faster shutter speed.

I don't bother so much now, with the fantastic metering of Olympus digital cameras, but there was a time in my film days when I would practice estimating light levels by eye and then checking with a hand held meter (sad, I know). I did it a few minutes ago, just for old time's sake and I reckoned that this dull, grey morning would require 1/60th sec @ f4 ISO 100. My Weston Master II recommended 1/60th @ f4.5 so I wasn't too far out. ;)

Ricoh
18th April 2016, 11:34 AM
That's impressive, John, that's the level I wish to attain. I'm wondering if a handheld meter would be beneficial as an instructional aid - I've been looking at the Sekonic 308 as an option. I want to be able to assess the lighting, as you did, and guess with accuracy the EV required. (I'm also learning to guess distance, but that's a different matter.)

I agree about Olympus metering, I'd rate it as top of the bunch from my own experience of using cameras from various manufacturers. I'm sure Panasonic is competent, but the histogram of the Olympus product is more to my liking.

IanB
18th April 2016, 11:54 AM
personally I think it worked better with print film as there was much more exposure latitude to play with

Would pay to bracket if possible with digital

Note new siggy ;); lot of older non oly photos be posted *yes
would certainly appreciate your like to the page to help get off the ground .

Naughty Nigel
18th April 2016, 11:55 AM
I occasionally use the 'Sunny 16' rule when using negative film (colour or B&W), as the exposure latitude allows plenty of margin for error. However, I would be very reluctant to risk exposing Velvia using this method. Likewise, the sensors in digital cameras have very little exposure latitude, and in any case have reasonable exposure meters built in.*

(* None of these match the functionality of the metering systems in the OM3Ti and OM4Ti in my view.)

However, I recently discovered an exposure meter app for my smart phone, which uses the phone's own metering system to calculate exposure values. It offers both incident and reflected light functions by using the forward and back facing cameras.

The app looks rather like a Weston meter, and having checked it against my OM-D EM5 and OM4 Ti it seems to be remarkably accurate.

https://lh3.ggpht.com/2qqPT76p-kmTqkjPAZ6NLwoetF1eFB-t0ZVKyCa95oXUXWNYJf6RHKpqIduVLT4lpBE=h900

Ricoh
18th April 2016, 12:05 PM
Naughty Nigel, may I ask you what the app is called? (I use an iPhone 4s, so it needs to be compatible.)

Ricoh
18th April 2016, 12:11 PM
personally I think it worked better with print film as there was much more exposure latitude to play with

Would pay to bracket if possible with digital

Note new siggy ;); lot of older non oly photos be posted *yes
would certainly appreciate your like to the page to help get off the ground .

One of the many benefits of using film! If I wasn't so lazy (translate this to mean too busy) I'd resurrect my film gear, and take part in DIY film processing - if I think hard enough I can smell those lovely chemicals!
But then I would need to buy a compitent scanner - and all that dust stuff to contend with!

Naughty Nigel
18th April 2016, 12:12 PM
Naughty Nigel, may I ask you what the app is called? (I use an iPhone 4s, so it needs to be compatible.)

As far as I know it is simply called LightMeter ! :)

I went onto the Android App Store and downloaded it to my phone. I would expect there is a very similar or identical app for the iPhone, although having looked online it seems there are fewer exposure meter apps for iPhone and iPad than Android.

In either case the app uses the phone's own cameras and exposure metering systems, so it will be as good (or as bad) as they are.

So far I have only used the free version, but I am trying to find the paid version to get rid of the annoying Amazon adverts.

Ricoh
18th April 2016, 12:19 PM
Thank you, I've downloaded and have it up and running. On the iPhone there's an option to try the pro version. I'll run with the free version and take it from there, but I see what you mean about the annoying adds!!

Naughty Nigel
18th April 2016, 12:28 PM
Thank you, I've downloaded and have it up and running. On the iPhone there's an option to try the pro version. I'll run with the free version and take it from there, but I see what you mean about the annoying adds!!

That sounds like a good start. Is it the same app, or another exposure meter app doing the same thing?

I forgot to mention that sliding the S button at the bottom of the app provides variable spot metering. I only discovered this on Saturday. :D

Ricoh
18th April 2016, 02:24 PM
The app I have looks almost identical to the one you posted a picture of above, apart from the fact the EV is on the left hand side and there's no s button visible.

Naughty Nigel
18th April 2016, 03:33 PM
The app I have looks almost identical to the one you posted a picture of above, apart from the fact the EV is on the left hand side and there's no s button visible.

Apple always has to be different! ;)

How accurate do you think the exposure is?

The buttons you see may depend on the features on your phone, and whether it has front and rear facing cameras. We tried the app on an old Motorola Defy phone that didn't have a front facing (selfie) camera. The app still worked perfectly well but it didn't provide incident metering as it uses the front facing camera for this function.

I have found the app very useful as I like to use the waist level finder on my medium format cameras, and whilst I rarely take an exposure meter with me I always have a mobile phone. Better still, the phone is smaller, lighter and more useful than my exposure meter, so it solves several problems all at once. :)

cariadus
18th April 2016, 09:50 PM
I have several film cameras that don't have built-in light meters and I use the sunny 16 rule quite a bit. You soon get used to working out the appropriate shutter speed/aperture combination.

For example, if you're using 400 film and it's a typical British cloudy day that would be 1/500 and f8 (or maybe 5.6 if it's a typical Welsh cloudy day!). To shoot at 1/125 (2 stops) you increase the aperture by 2 to f16. It's actually easier when you have a camera in front of you as you can count the click stops on the aperture ring of the lens. After a while you don't really have to think about it too much.

With transparency film I do use a hand held spot meter, though, or the built-in spot meter of my OM-4ti. I do also have the Light Meter app on my phone. The only problem is that I don't really trust it, and I also find that the screen of my phone is difficult to see in bright daylight, so I rarely use it.

Ricoh
18th April 2016, 11:12 PM
Thanks Roger,
I think I'm correct in saying you use sunny 16 as your 'anchor', as it were, albeit calibrated for our fabulous British weather. Then use the indents on both shutter and aperture to count the number of stops, up or down, from the anchor point.

I would like to get to the level of skill of John (see his text above) where he more or less knew the exposure by looking at the conditions. I read that Gary Winogrand was able to set his camera as he was walking out onto the street, no light meter, just memory muscle - so impressive. He and others like him were able to set the distance too, just by memory muscle and could get the shot far quicker than any automatic camera.

Naughty Nigel
19th April 2016, 08:50 AM
I do also have the Light Meter app on my phone. The only problem is that I don't really trust it, and I also find that the screen of my phone is difficult to see in bright daylight, so I rarely use it.

I think that may be why there is a 'measure' button on most apps so that you can take the readings in bright sunlight and then view the display in the shade.

It isn't perfect by any means but I always have a phone with me anyway, and it is free!

By making a mental note of exposures in varying conditions, or better still, jotting them down, you soon learn to recognise exposure conditions to a reasonable degree of accuracy, which is more than adequate for colour or B&W negative films.

Edit: I should add that human eyes and brains are very good at adjusting themselves to different levels of light, and to different colour temperatures without us even being aware of it. Hence it is very easy to be fooled into selecting the wrong exposure because our eyes and brains think there is plenty of light when there isn't!

For these reasons it is important to make a note of cloud conditions and the time of day when using the Sunny 16 rule.

Zuiko
19th April 2016, 09:34 AM
I would like to get to the level of skill of John (see his text above) where he more or less knew the exposure by looking at the conditions.

I must confess it was rather an easy one and a bit of a cheat; over the years I have attempted to take photographs in dull, overcast light (due to our climate) more times than I care to remember, so it really is familiar territory.

Same with today. It's nice and sunny with a blue sky and fluffy white clouds, so I've just tested myself with the meter again, based on 100 ISO. This time I reckoned 1/250th @ f8 against the meter's 1/250th @ f7, but this is really just the Sunny 16 Rule. Actually, the meter got it spot on with a reading that equates to 100th @ f11. That's a full stop less than the Sunny 16, but it was taken at 10 am on an April morning rather than midday in midsummer and that is a sensible adjustment.

I may not do so well in raking side light, an hour after sunrise with a slight mist still in the air...... :rolleyes:

Ricoh
19th April 2016, 09:47 AM
John, They're the difficult conditions you mention - this phoblographer blog sheds some light (pun) on the matter: http://thephoblographer.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=c936e6d50a1b870cefefb7762&id=4b2dc83eb1&e=b8a5b56ba0

Nigel, I'm off out on this glorious day to catch the afternoon light, with the Lightmeter App in hand. I'll check accuracy and let you know. But exposure is artistic choice, not that much flow in my veins, unfortunately.

cariadus
20th April 2016, 11:00 AM
Thanks Roger,
I think I'm correct in saying you use sunny 16 as your 'anchor', as it were, albeit calibrated for our fabulous British weather. Then use the indents on both shutter and aperture to count the number of stops, up or down, from the anchor point.

No I don't use the indents on the lens. If you're starting of with sunny 16 doing it on the lens can make it easier but after a while you don't have to think about it too much. And when you get used to taking the same types of photos in similar conditions it becomes second nature.

For example, I was on the beach one day with my Hasselblad and realised I'd left my hand held meter in the car and didn't have any other kind of meter on me except the one on my phone, which as I mentioned I don't entirely trust. I went ahead and took some photos on Velvia anyway just using my judgement. Usually I would carefully spot meter a scene like this but as I take quite a lot of photos in this kind of light I knew it would be somewhere around f22 and 1/2 sec on 50 ISO film with a 2 stop ND grad filter to darken the sky. And fortunately it came out about right.

http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r190/rogerharriso/Mobile%20Uploads/hassy-20160320007_800x600_zpsbg9sfpmb.jpg (http://s144.photobucket.com/user/rogerharriso/media/Mobile%20Uploads/hassy-20160320007_800x600_zpsbg9sfpmb.jpg.html)

The point is, use a manual camera enough and after a while you just get to know what the exposure is going to be without referring to sunny 16.

By the way, since both my Hasselblad and Rolleicord have EV scales I tend to think in terms of EV rather than shutter speed and aperture, but that's another story!

Still not sure I could match John in all light situations though. :)

Harold Gough
29th April 2016, 07:29 PM
Strictly, the principle works only at California latitudes, mid morning to mid afternoon, etc. with half blue sky and half cloud. etc. A spot meter reading, e.g. off grass or red brick, is better, preferably locked until the light changes.

Harold

Internaut
30th April 2016, 05:51 PM
I've tried it. Would work well with a Fuji or Leica, where the shutter speed is displayed on a dial of its own. If you google it, there are tables that use Sunny 16 as a starting point for a variety of conditions (overcast, for example).

Ricoh
30th April 2016, 06:09 PM
Yeah, I have an app called Expositor Lite on my iPhone. If you haven't seen it, you match up the ISO setting against the conditions, i.e. full sun through to interiors with everything in between. Having done so it provides a list of different aperture and shutter speed options - it's like a digital slide rule with an analogue display. It saves having to set an anchor of sunny 16 in terms of aperture and 1/ISO and manually adjusting one against the other.
I'm contemplating the purchase of a standalone light meter, such as the Sekonic L-398A, as an instructional aid. I'm hoping with enough practice I can look at the light and set the camera accordingly, fine tuning when I look through the finder.

Ricoh
4th May 2016, 02:30 PM
I'm finding the Expositor Lite app rather unreliable in gauging exposure, but it was worth trying.

Basically what I want to do is to look at the prevailing light and guess with reasonable accuracy the exposure settings required. As a teaching aid the Sekonic L-398A looks rather appealing in the sense it has an analogue display allowing most of the aperture and shutter combinations to be seen for a given ISO.

Anyone have experience of this meter, or an alternative they could recommend knowing my intended use?

Naughty Nigel
4th May 2016, 02:53 PM
I'm finding the Expositor Lite app rather unreliable in gauging exposure, but it was worth trying.

Basically what I want to do is to look at the prevailing light and guess with reasonable accuracy the exposure settings required. As a teaching aid the Sekonic L-398A looks rather appealing in the sense it has an analogue display allowing most of the aperture and shutter combinations to be seen for a given ISO.

Anyone have experience of this meter, or an alternative they could recommend knowing my intended use?

I don't have the Sekonic L-398A but I do use a Sekonic L-358 (now discontinued); sometimes with the optional Spot Finder attachment.

This is a purely digital device, but by rolling the thumb wheel you get to see all of the possible shutter speed and aperture combinations for the set film speed and measured light value. It is possible to set two film speeds simultaneously for quick comparisons.

I bought the meter because I like using a waist level finder, but my difficulty is in finding the confidence/courage to expose medium format Velvia without first cheating by slipping on the metering prism! :o:D

Ricoh
5th May 2016, 11:21 AM
Nigel, thanks for the info on the light meter.

Regarding medium format, I'd imagine a large waist level finder one of the best tools for developing compositional skills, and the hand held light meter to develop one's ability to expose correctly first time. Sounds a rather contemplative form of painting with light.

Naughty Nigel
5th May 2016, 11:57 AM
Nigel, thanks for the info on the light meter.

Regarding medium format, I'd imagine a large waist level finder one of the best tools for developing compositional skills, and the hand held light meter to develop one's ability to expose correctly first time. Sounds a rather contemplative form of painting with light.

Yes, I love using a waist level finder, the bigger the better!

However, unlike an SLR the image in the waist level finder is reversed, which I find actually improves composition as you tend to look at the whole rather than details in the image.

However, as I said last night, gaining the confidence to use the exposure meter with transparency film is a 'work in progress'. :D

However, I usually take my OM4Ti with me, which has (in my view) one of the best metering systems ever fitted to a camera, so it is easy to obtain reliable exposure values for another camera.

Ricoh
5th May 2016, 01:38 PM
Although it's a long time since I've used a waste level finder, when I did I found the image took on a somewhat abstract value which was great for composion. All to do with the brain, but in the inverted world it seems much easier to see stray objects in the scene you would rather exclude, and moving your feet does the trick - better than relying on photoshop.

Imageryone
5th May 2016, 03:47 PM
An old adage , but true :)

Feet were invented before telephoto lenses. *chr

Naughty Nigel
6th May 2016, 07:49 AM
An old adage , but true :)

Feet were invented before telephoto lenses. *chr

I knew another version of this: "Your feet are the best zoom lens"!