The Sunny 16 Rule & Film

Oct 31, 2021 5:50:07 PM | Photography The Sunny 16 Rule & Film

The Sunny 16 Rule helps film photographers to approximate correct daylight exposures without a light meter.

The Sunny 16 Rule helps film photographers to approximate correct daylight exposures without a light meter. 

Sunny 16 Explained

Set the Shutter Speed to the closest match to the film ISO on a sunny day and select an Aperture from the table below.

Aperture
Conditions
f/22 Snow or Sand
f/16 Sunny
f/11 Slight Overcast
f/8 Overcast
f/5.6 Heavy Overcast
f/4 Shade or Sunset

For example, on a sunny day:

  • With ISO 100 film, set the Aperture to f/16 and the Shutter Speed to 1/100.
  • With ISO 400 film, set the Aperture to f/16 and the Shutter Speed to 1/500.

Practical Uses

You can use The Sunny 16 Rule to help you choose the suitable ISO film to use or if you should even shoot at all, depending on what equipment and film you have. 

Chris Ruiz

Written By: Chris Ruiz

Hi, I'm Chris, a photographer, inbound enthusiast, and social media know-it-all. When I'm not working, I enjoy Texas-style BBQ, classic cars, and bourbon.