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

Kodak-Sunny-16

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

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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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Exposure Preview: The Worst Thing for Your Camera’s Autofocus?

We talked to a couple of photographers and tech reps, and it seems like Exposure Preview could be hurting your camera’s autofocus.

Most people shooting with mirrorless cameras shoot with the Exposure Preview on. I’ve never been a fan of it, and I’ve always turned it off. In my mind, you should just learn to read the damn light meter to begin with, and not rely on what the screen says. One could think this is an old school way of thinking, but there are lots of performance benefits. If you’re shooting with a strobe, for example, there’s a great reason to turn exposure preview off. You’re usually shooting at a low ISO setting and faster shutter speeds. Plus, the camera won’t render what the scene will look like with your strobe output anyway. And for years, folks have used exposure preview as a crutch. That isn’t a bad thing, it’s just how people evolved to use cameras. I still recommend that everyone learns to shoot film and learns the art of Sunny 16: it will make you a better photographer. But all this is the long way of my saying that exposure preview is also messing with your autofocus.

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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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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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)

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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.

The Best Leica Lenses for Black and White Film Photography

Black and white film lovers rejoice!

Film has to be one of the most fun photography experiences we have! Some of us just want to create in a completely different way. Indeed, film does a lot of things that digital doesn’t. When used properly, it will ultimately make you think more about your photos before shooting. You’ll pay a lot of attention to the frame before you shoot. And eventually, you’ll become a master of the format. If you’re looking for the best Leica lenses for black and white film photography, check out our selects.

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This Simple Photography Tip Will Ensure You Never Miss a Shot Again!

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Today, metering is easy. Just look through the viewfinder, center the pointer on your exposure scale, and voilà! This is great for someone who is just getting the hang of the exposure triangle. But for those who work at a fast pace, it can be limiting. So this photography tip won’t only challenge you, it will also help you get the best exposure quicker than ever!

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It’s Not Canon’s Greatest Achievement: Canon EOS M50 II Review

The Canon EOS M50 II doesn’t put the EF-M mount in good light.

Canon saw a great deal of success with the original EOS M50. The camera was snapped up by camera newbies and vloggers who wanted a light camera to tote around. It never wowed us with its image quality, but its versatility was delightful. The APS-C Canon EOS M50 II looks to build on that success, but will a few upgrades here and there make it a worthwhile buy in 2021? Can it compete in this market space? Find out in our full review.

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Tiny Camera Meets Big Potential: Fujifilm XE4 Review

The Fujifilm XE4 feels like a point-and-shoot, yet it has the image quality of a camera that costs twice as much.

The smaller a camera is, the more likely photographers will carry it with them everywhere. The Fujifilm XE4 is one of the smallest mirrorless bodies from Fujifilm yet. Paired with a newly announced 27mm kit lens, and the XE4 feels almost like packing a point-and-shoot. At $850 body-only (or $1,050 with the kit), the XE4 is one of the more affordable Fuji mirrorless cameras. Even with that price, the XE4 still packs in the same sensor and processor as the Fujifilm XT4. So, what did Fujifilm cut to get to that sub-$1000 price point?

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This the One Most Photographers Will Want. DJI Air 2S Review

The DJI Air 2S is going to be the one that makes photographers want to really pay attention.

If I were to think about all the things I want from a drone, then the DJI Air 2S would come closest to the perfect one. What’s perfect? RAW shooting capabilities is high on the priority list. Same with a large sensor of at least 1-inch in size. And of course, the drone needs to be lightweight. And for photographers, the DJI Air 2S is ticking off all those boxes. If you’ve ever wanted a small, lightweight drone that did all that, then this is it. What’s more, you can use it with the new FPV system.

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An Excellent Medium Format Swiss Army Knife: Fujifilm GFX100S Review

The Fujifilm GFX100S can do a little of everything at a price that will please.

Let me start by saying that $5,999 is a lot of money for a camera, so it may not please everyone. However, there are many cameras around this price point that can do one thing really well, and that’s it. The Fujifilm GFX100S is different. Fujifilm has been innovating in the ‘larger than Full-Frame’ space for a while now. The Fujifilm GFX100S is a continuation of the fine work they have done thus far. If you’re deciding between high megapixel cameras and have around $6,000 to spend, you owe it to yourself to read our full review. Go on. You know you want to.

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An Excellent Camera That’s Overkill for Most: Sony a1 Review

The Sony a1 shows that electronic shutters are the future.

Sony stunned the photography industry when they announced their new flagship camera, the Sony a1. Sony is back to innovating again when it comes to silicon, and this is incredibly exciting. On paper, this camera with its new stacked sensor should impress even the most hard-headed photographers out there. Still, we all know that specs on a piece of paper don’t always equate to great real-world performance. We’ve had our hands on the new Sony a1 for a week, and we’ve put it to the test in some tough conditions. Will the wow factor from the spec sheet carry over into the wild when we test it? Find out in our full review of the Sony a1.

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It’s Improved! But It’s Still Not Perfect: Nikon Z6 II Review

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Two years after bursting into the Full Frame mirrorless market, Nikon is polishing its first draft with a second generation. At first glance, the Nikon Z6 II is a look-alike of the original mid-range mirrorless. But, Nikon is making some important strides towards addressing the wish list that the first didn’t quite fulfill. The Nikon Z6 II adds dual card slots and improves the autofocus. It even adds dual processors for a faster burst mode and larger buffer.

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The Most Rugged Camera for a Journalist. Leica SL2s Review

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There’s nothing wrong with the way the traditional Leica camera worked. If anything, the Leica M series makes the photographer more aware of what’s around them. But let’s be honest, autofocus is very useful. And the Leica SL2s is probably the camera that answers the needs of the modern journalist the best. At the heart of the Leica SL2s is what Leica claims to be a newly developed 24MP BSI sensor. This variant of the Leica SL2 maintains the IP54 weather sealing rating, but it also received a speed boost.

Editor’s Note: We’ve updated this post as of May 2021.

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Profoto Turns Your Samsung Android Phone into a Legitimate Camera

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I always knew this day would come, but I never thought that the traditional camera manufacturers ever took it seriously. However, today, the Profoto Camera App is available for Android phones in Beta mode. It’s been out and available for iPhone. I’ve barely ever used it or taken it seriously. However, Profoto sent us photos shot with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Profoto B10. And quite honestly, I’m stunned.

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You Need This Stunning Gray Leica M4 with Patina in Your Life

The Leica M4 in gray is cool enough but look at those gorgeous brass patina accents.

Gray cameras have always been positively stunning to me. And this Leica M4 is no exception. That camera is already experiencing a price boost because of its reliability. But this is just the cherry on top. Before writing this post, we did some research to see if this is a rare special edition. The only rare versions of the Leica M4 were in Olive green and made for the German military. And so this camera is a one of a kind, custom build. With that said, it’s positively stunning.

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Feast Your Eyes on This Handsome Brown Leather Pentax Spotmatic

Take a look at how this Pentax Spotmatic looks with brown leather.

The Pentax Spotmatic is a camera that I stupidly gave away a long time ago to help someone else discover their analog passion. And this listing made me want it all over again. I adored the Pentax Spotmatic and the lenses that it can use. This particular Pentax Spotmatic is also quite special. It’s been reworked to have lovely brown leather. The leather contrasts beautifully with the grey/silver colored camera body. And when you sling this around your chest, it will look like a fine piece of jewelry. Of course, you can load it up with T-Max 400 and do lots of serious work with it. The Zeiss 50mm f1.8 lens it comes with will ensure that. Being a vintage camera, it’s manual focus. But I assure you, the viewfinder in these cameras is spectacular.

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