Photography Cheat Sheet: Sunny 16 Guide Wheel

No budget for a fancy light meter? Today’s handy photography cheat sheet has you covered.

One of the most useful tools for your shoots is an ever-reliable light meter. This is especially the case when shooting with a vintage camera without a built-in light meter. However, if it’s not possible for you to have one at the moment, we think today’s cheat sheet makes a good substitute. If you have a shoot planned, this could be one of the things you can prepare beforehand.

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Sunny 16, Seeing Light, and Improving Your Digital Photography with Analog Techniques

Pro Tip: The Sunny 16 rule dictates that, on a perfectly shadowless sunny day, you set your aperture to f16 and your shutter speed becomes the reciprocal of your ISO to get the perfect light meter reading.

In our digital world, being able to see our images on an LCD or EVF screen moments after pressing the shutter, the art of being able to see light, to know the approximate exposure of a scene prior to taking a shot, is all a dying art. But back in analog film days this was an essential piece to a photographer’s process. Continue reading…

The Ultimate Guide to the Sunny 16 Rule: Part 2

This blog post was syndicated by Emanuele Faja. It and the images here are being used with permission. Check out Part 1 here.

So, you read Part 1 of the Ultimate guide to the Sunny 16 Rule and you are hungry for more?
That was just the starter, now, onto the main course…

Btw, if you have just landed on this page, you probably want to read Part 1 of this guide first, or even my Exposure 101 Guide before you tackle this article.

You have pretty much all information you need to get started using the Sunny 16 Rule  in Part 1. Part 2 is the advanced course for those who types who want to know everything and want to nail their exposures every time, without using a light meter. This is probably complete overkill for most people, but here we go…

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The Ultimate Guide to the Sunny 16 Rule: Part 1


This blog post was syndicated from Emanuele Faja. It and the images here are being used with permission.


The Sunny 16 rule is actually simple set of rules to help you shoot without a light-meter but we are going to take it much further than that. In this article you will find all the information you will ever need to take photos without using light meters – whether handheld or in-camera. 

I decided to write this guide after having gone through the arduous process of mastering the Sunny 16 rule without really knowing what I was doing. I tried finding information online but most of it was just generic, run-of-the-mill information about the Sunny 16 rule that has been copied and pasted all around the web.

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Review: Leica M6 TTL (The Best Film Camera They Ever Made)

The Leica M6 TTL has everything that a photographer could possibly want in a Leica camera.

There was a time when I believed the Leica M4-P to be the best camera that Leica ever made–and in some ways I believe it to still be superior over the Leica M6 TTL. The Leica M6 TTL is just easier. But if you’re a photographer that is a true master of the Sunny 16 method, then the Leica M4-P could be all that you need. With the Leica M6 TTL the ability to shoot at events with a flash becomes much easier due to the TTL flash capabilities. And for that reason alone, most photographers will probably stick with the original Leica M6.

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Vintage Camera Review: Leica M4-P (Leica M Mount)

The Leica M4-P is one of the most beloved Leica cameras and it isn’t too expensive either!

If you ever happen to stumble on a deal like I did with the Leica M4-P, then snag it as soon as you possibly can. In many ways, the Leica M4-P is one of the most perfect analog cameras. Although the Leica M6 goes a step further and incorporates the inclusion of a working light meter while allowing the camera to operate completely and totally mechanically at all shutter speeds, the Leica M4-P is essentially the Leica M6 without a light meter. And if you’re like me, you don’t always need a light meter because you’ve shot so often that you know and understand how Sunny 16 works, or you’ve got an app on your phone that will help you figure out your lighting with ease.

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Useful Photography Tip #138: How to Meter a Scene Just by Looking at It


Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

Years before light meters were invented and used by photographers, they used a specific set of rules to figure out what their camera’s exposure settings should be adjusted to. Today, this method is still used by some film photographers and very much so by street photographers.

What are we talking about? It’s called the Sunny 16 rule–and it’s the basis for how the Phoblographer tests a camera’s metering system.

So how do you do it? The Sunny 16 rule states that on a bright sunny day with little shadows your scene will be exposed at f16 and your shutter speed will be the reciprocal of your ISO. So that means that if my film is ISO 100, then I’ll be shooting at 1/100th and f16 on a bright sunny day with little shadows. From there, you figure out the other parameters based on how much sunlight is affecting the scene. Is it getting a bit cloudy? Then open up to f11. Even more shade? Then go down to f8. In the NYC subway system? Well, you’re going to have to get really low down in the settings.

So why would you do this? By simply looking to a scene and knowing what the exposure will be, you won’t need to fully rely on a light meter or your camera’s metering and instead you’ll be able to figure out what the exposure will be. In turn, this will get you the image that you want in a much faster process.

Useful Photography Tip #82: The Best Skill You Will Learn As You Become More Advanced Is Metering

Chris Gampat Shooting Landscapes (9 of 10)

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Check them out here.

As you become a more advanced photographer, you’ll learn quite a bit. For example, composition can always be changed in the post-production phase–as can tilt, saturation or nearly anything else. But what you’ll really begin to see is just how well your camera’s meter works. On average, I feel that my aging Canon 5D Mk II underexposes by around one stop; in fact, lots of other owners feel the same way. And even though the camera’s meter will say that it is balanced, I find myself brightening the image by a full stop all the time. Over time, this led me to just overexpose in the camera; but it would also mean that my highlights eventually were destroyed in some cases.

Choosing Spot metering over evaluative helped at times, but not all the time.

So what is the solution?

All reviewers on the Phoblographer staff are required to be proficient in the tried and true Sunny 16. It’s how we test the metering of cameras. According to this rule: in a bright sunny scene with nary a shadow around, your f-stop will be f16 while your shutter speed will be the reciprocal of your ISO. So with that said, we mean that it will be 1/100th, ISO 100 and f16 in a bright sunny scene with barely any shadows. You’ll need to pay very careful attention to the scene and also figure out how dark and light the shadows are too.

By using this method, you can tell how much detail your camera can pull from the highlights and shadows in the post-production phase. This is known as the dynamic range. The dynamic range then can help you determine the individual color levels to give you the best image you can possibly get.

And once you know how to meter with your camera in order to get the right idea, your entire workflow will be much faster. How much faster? I’ve perfected it to the point where I can get exactly what I need in a single shot–which translates into a lot less work in post and a much less full hard drive.

TTL vs Manual Flash: What Photographers Need to Know

Many folks don’t know the difference between TTL vs manual flash, or how it will change the way they create.

Most photographers realize that flash output is still better than constant lighting. But the biggest struggle is with TTL vs. manual flash output. Most people don’t understand it. And to be honest, most experienced photographers are also frustrated with it. But in time, you learn to tell it what to do. Think about it this way. You use your camera in manual mode, right? And if you don’t, then you at least know how to do so. The strobe and flash output that you can get is similar.

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6 Fixed Lens Cameras That Make Everyday Shooting Easy

If you like to get out of the door quickly and shoot with minimal fuss, these fixed lens cameras will be perfect for you.

Sometimes, the thought of having to load up your camera bag with accessories and lenses so that you can go and shoot can put a stop to your photography plans. This is where small fixed lens cameras can be game-changers. The thought of heading out with a tiny camera and just one lens can be exciting. Using fixed lens cameras can save your body from all the weight of your gear. You’ll also find that you’re forced to be more creative, which is a plus. If you’re in the market for a camera that you can grab quickly and take along everywhere you go with minimum fuss, these fixed lens cameras might be for you. We have listed six of our favorite fixed lens cameras after the break.

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Weather Tested: The Best Sony Cameras to Use in the Rain or Snow

If you want to play around in the rain, snow and howling winds with dust flying everywhere, and you want to use Sony cameras, you need to see this roundup.

Weather sealed cameras give photographers so many advantages over cameras that aren’t sealed in any way. First of all, you can go and shoot in a myriad of conditions without having to worry about your gear (as long as you use weather sealed lenses too). This in itself means you will be able to get shots others with non-weather sealed cameras would miss. Secondly, weather sealed cameras have a much better build quality overall, which means your huge investment will last significantly longer than cameras that aren’t protected. Sony has been upping their weather sealing game of late, and there are now some Sony Cameras on the market that we wouldn’t hesitate to go and run into the rain with. After the break, we will take a quick look at Sony cameras that aren’t afraid to get a little wet.

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The Leica Digital Cameras That Will Become Classics

These slightly older Leica digital cameras are great performers, affordable, and bound to be classics.

Leica cameras are lusted after by many photographers. For most of us, though, the cameras put out by the legendary German manufacturer are out of our reach due to pricing, but what if we said you can get your hands on some slightly older Leica digital cameras that won’t break the bank? Not only are these Leica digital cameras affordable, but they’re also incredible performers that will help you create some truly gorgeous images. If you’ve always wanted to own a Leica, the slightly older Leica digital cameras that we have rounded up after the break are the ones you should go after.

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Small, Light and Mighty: 6 Fixed Lens Cameras That Still Amaze Us

compact cameras

Small in size, but big on performance; these slightly older fixed lens cameras will not disappoint.

Sometimes all we want to do is go out and shoot with as little gear as possible. At times, just thought of having to load up your camera bag and then having to lug it around can put a damper on your photography plans, and this, my friends, is where small fixed lens cameras come into their own. Being able to head out the door with a small camera with just one lens can be liberating. Not only will you save your back and shoulders, but you’ll find that you’re forced to be more creative due to only having one lens to play with. If you’re in the market for a camera that you can grab, slip on your pocket or a small bag and head out the door with (and you also want to save a few bucks), the slightly older small fixed lens cameras we have rounded up after the break may be of interest you

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9 Retro-Style Cameras That Are True Modern Marvels Under the Hood

If you love retro cameras, but like the mod cons modern cameras bring to the table, you’ll love these cool retro-style Mirrorless cameras.

Modern Mirrorless cameras are simply fantastic. Under the hood, modern cameras are more powerful than we ever imagined, but a lot of cameras that hit the market today leave much to be desired when it comes to styling. They look okay, but they lack character and personality: they’re just boring. Fortunately, a few camera companies have tried to breathe some much-needed life into modern Mirrorless bodies by releasing retro-style cameras that are just as feature-packed as those without a soul. Join us after the break to take a quick look at several of our favorite retro-style cameras.

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Tested: 10 Weather Sealed Cameras That Can Take Lots of Abuse

weather-sealed cameras

If you want to go and create great shots while the rain and snow are falling, or when the winds are howling, you need to check out these robust, weather-sealed cameras.

We recently published a great how-to guide for shooting in the rain and inclement weather, and how you can create some gorgeous images while not worrying about Mother Nature. One thing we did stress is that you make sure to have weather-sealed cameras and weather-sealed lenses for this. In this roundup, we will take a look at some of the best weather-sealed cameras you can get your hands on right now.

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Why Are Compact Cameras the Best for Street Photography?

For most, compact cameras happen to be the best things for street photography.

While the answer to “What camera is the best?” is the proverbial “The one you have with you,” some cameras are better suited than others for specific genres of photography. For example, if you wanted to freeze the action at the Daytona 500, you would reach for a Canon 1DX instead of a Pentax 67, just like if you wanted close-up images of Aunt Pearl’s Poinsettias, one of the last lenses you would reach for is a 28mm. Street photography is one of the easiest genres of the craft to get into, and everything from the cameras in phones to 4×5 press cameras has been used for it. But, while the genre is easily accessible, certain kinds of cameras are more appropriate for the task than others. Let’s take a look at why compact cameras are the best cameras for street photography.

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7 Gorgeous Rangefinder Style Cameras That Offer Great Performance

If you want a camera that has both great styling and great performance, you need to check out these Rangefinder Style cameras.

While modern cameras have come a long way in terms of their overall design, most still don’t have much by way of character. This, however, cannot be said about Rangefinder-style cameras. The classic look of Rangefinder-style cameras are hard to ignore, and you’ll find that plenty of heads will turn when you have one with you. They harken back to a time where cameras were tools made by craftsmen. They aren’t all just about looks, though: they pack a punch in terms of performance as well. After the break, we will take a quick look at seven of our favorite Rangefinder-style cameras.

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Photography Cheat Sheet: Shooting Manual Photography in Film


If you’ve decided to go the more challenging route of shooting manual when using film, you’ll definitely need today’s photography cheat sheet.

As if manual photography isn’t already challenging as is with digital cameras, believe it or not, some prefer doing it on film. If that sounds like a challenge you want to try, we have something to help make that a bit easier for you. Today’s manual photography cheat sheet, by The Studio at Zippi, is especially put together with tips to help film photographers get great results.

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8 Compact Cameras for Photographers Who Like to Travel Light

compact cameras Olympus Pen F

These compact cameras are small in size, but big on performance and features.

Compact cameras give photographers the chance to travel with gear small and light enough to fit in your coat pocket, yet still have access to incredibly good performance. Technology has come so far that the sensors and overall feature sets in compact cameras can (and do) rival cameras more than twice their size. If you’re a photographer who likes to sometimes leave their big bulky cameras at home so that you can travel light, these compact cameras are calling for you. Check out eight of our favorite pocket powerhouses after the break. Continue reading…

Useful Tools to Include in Your Black and White Photography Arsenal

In the mood for monochrome? These recommended tools should make your black and white photography practice easier, and your results loads better.

Black and white photography is a totally different way of seeing and shooting things. It’s only natural that it comes with its own set of guidelines and tools to help make the most of the medium. If you’re new to the craft and wondering about what you can add to your black and white photography tools of the trade, you might want to take note of some suggestions in this quick video.

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Photography Cheat Sheet: Exposing for Landscapes

Still struggling with exposure settings for landscape photography? With today’s photography cheat sheet, you’ll learn how to get spot-on exposures by taking note of the histogram.

Previously, we shared some tips for getting your composition right when shooting landscapes. For today’s photography cheat sheet, it’s time to work on exposure with the help of histogram readings. Both elements work hand in hand to create landscape photos that are more than merely snapshots. So, if you’re working on getting better at shooting landscapes, we’re sure you’ll find these tips handy!

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