Sunny 16 rule ... not optimal at 16?

Started Jul 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
mike winslow
Contributing MemberPosts: 506Gear list
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Re: Sunny 16 rule ... not optimal at 16?
In reply to SQLGuy, Jul 3, 2013

SQLGuy wrote:

The last three posts or so all ignore the fact that I mentioned earlier: the camera's meter reads reflected light.

I'm not going to disagree with anything, but the above.  The camera reads differently by where you tell it to look. I can see where it is looking in the viewfinder..  After that I have to trust Sony.  But I have a good idea where it's looking. I get good exposure. I worry more about composition than exposure, for the most part, but am aware when I have to take control.  When you discuss a lightmeter, I think of the analog one that my grandfather had.. Just a single dial meter, and some scales..  Maybe you have something better, but unless it has a viewfinder on it, then you are shooting from the hip, as to what light that it's seeing.

Also - reflected light - it's all around us... Photons leave a light source and may or may not be polarized, but light waves reflected change polarity.  What does this have to do with exposure? And my camera will also read light when I point it at a light bulb where there are no reflectors.. try it, it really sees it. I'm assuming that you really meant something more subtle here..

I'm OK with the rest..

The camera does not know (although it sometimes guesses correctly in iAuto) whether your subject is a bank of snow, or a small dark object on a bank of snow, or a black car, etc. It assumes your subject is 18% gray. The result, if you just follow what the camera's meter tell you, will be a gray bank of snow, or a gray black car. That's one of the reasons you have exposure compensation settings: you know whether your subject is darker or brighter than 18% gray, and have to compensate accordingly.

The Sunny 16 rule does account for incident light. It may not be the fastest, most accurate, or most convenient way to set exposure, but for subjects that are very different than 18% gray, it will often be quite a bit more accurate than the default exposure suggested by the camera. Knowing that rule, and why it's useful will make you a better photographer.

The histogram and clipping indicators are also useful, but you need to use them to ensure you're not losing much at the low or high end, not to guess the correct exposure by centering the graph (unless you want to correct the exposure in post to move the blacks back to black or the whites back to white).

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Nex-7 with kit lenses, Contax G 35, and a number of legacy lenses (mostly Canon FD)

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