Leica M6 - Metering with sunny 16 rule
Old 05-31-2019   #1
Solvstrom
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Leica M6 - Metering with sunny 16 rule

Hi guys

I'm a bit curious to see how many stick with the sunny 16 rule. I'm asking cause according to my meter, it's always underexposed.

I'm currently shooting Portra 400 so my shutter is set to 500. In sunny daylight I bump my aperture to f/16 - When metering it's most of the times underexposed. I would rather over expose than under expose, so i'm curious to hear how many of you actually stick with it or adjust the shutter so it over exposes?

Hope this makes sense
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Old 05-31-2019   #2
Corran
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"Sunny 16" - depends on the season, depends on your latitude, depends on the scene, etc. For color neg you should probably always start at a stop over anyway - so f/11 instead.

That being said your meter is probably better than your guess. Why not bracket a roll and see for yourself? Experience is worth a thousand opinions.
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Old 05-31-2019   #3
Richard G
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The box end for Tri-X is 1/250 f16. Have a look in the Gallery for lynnb's shots at the Northern Beaches in Sydney in summer. He exposes Ektar, ISO 100, at 1/200 (Barnack Leica) with f8.

One of the chief variables for consideration is the type of film: overexposure by one or two stops even doesn't adversely affect the outcome with colour negative film. Underexposure may hurt, especially with Kodak films.

Meanwhile, do you have batteries in your M6 and do you use the meter at all? Sunny 16 has little to do with a meter. If you are worried about the unusual reflectivity of a scene and you don't want to use a reflected camera meter reading, you can meter the palm of your hand as an incident reading substitute.

But if your M6 has batteries and the meter is working you can just balance those two read triangles and you'll be right with the exposure nearly all the time. Consider this: the M7 is autoexposure with a similar meter.

Just trust your M6 and you'll be happier and have better exposures I reckon.
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Old 05-31-2019   #4
E.M
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I shoot color neg with a M6TTL and put the meter at 100 iso for 200 iso film , then I expose dot or dot + the right arrow glowing , so half a stop over. Never liked sunny 16 , even prefer an incident lightmeter . When I shot Kodachrome before , I exposed at 80 iso for a 64 film.
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Old 05-31-2019   #5
retinax
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"sunny 16" is very optimistic and imho rarely applies - only if everything in the scene that you're interested in is in full sun, and only if you're not too far North or South - beyond the 50th parallel or so, it's more like sunny 11. Even then with a 500th you're very slightly under and as you recognise, negative film deals with overexposure much better than underexposure. So I usually stick to sunny 11 (very near the 50th parallel) and most of the time, what I'm interested in happens to be in the shade. So I mostly expose for the shade and don't worry about the sunny parts of the scene.
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Old 05-31-2019   #6
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Sunny 16 for me, at this latitude, is actually often about Sunny 11 and 2/3. With the shutter at 1/500, it would be 1/500 at 11 and 1/3. And for those of us who often shoot Tri-X at EI 320, then it's 1/500 at 11.

I agree it is best to lean towards over exposure with color negative films such as Portra 400. I think 1/500 at "Sunny 11" is a good idea!
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Old 05-31-2019   #7
Greg Maslak
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As a rule “Sunny 16” can be misleading. Even on a clear sunny mid day your subject may not be in direct sun, which the rule demands. Remember sunny 16 is about the quality/quantity of light falling on your subject. On the old Kodak exposure cartoon picture guide that came with the film a long time ago, the minimum exposure is the one with the subject in full, direct sun. Anything else will need a stop at least. And don’t forget Portra loves light, so there’s a stop as well.

If I were metering reflected light with Portra 400, I would set my camera to asa 200 and take a reading in the shade, then point the camera at the subject. I would expose for the shade reading, no matter if the camera thought it was overexposed. Be generous with your exposure when metering or think “Sunny 11” except in the most direct bright sun.
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Old 05-31-2019   #8
Colin Corneau
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Haven't had a battery in my M6 for about a decade -- I use a Gossen Digisix meter and it's bang on. Either that or I eyeball my exposure...this works because I get to know one or two types/speeds of film and what the light is like where I live.

I'm not a big fan of pat little truisms like "sunny 16", as others have said experience is worth a thousand opinions!
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Old 05-31-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
"Sunny 16" - depends on the season, depends on your latitude, depends on the scene, etc. For color neg you should probably always start at a stop over anyway - so f/11 instead.

That being said your meter is probably better than your guess. Why not bracket a roll and see for yourself? Experience is worth a thousand opinions.



Can't go wrong with this advice. Get to know the camera. Get to know the film. Win win.
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Old 06-01-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solvstrom View Post
Hi guys

I'm a bit curious to see how many stick with the sunny 16 rule. I'm asking cause according to my meter, it's always underexposed.

I'm currently shooting Portra 400 so my shutter is set to 500. In sunny daylight I bump my aperture to f/16 - When metering it's most of the times underexposed. I would rather over expose than under expose, so i'm curious to hear how many of you actually stick with it or adjust the shutter so it over exposes?

Hope this makes sense
I find sunny 11 works pretty well for Kodak 400-speed films including Portra 400 and TriX 400. Coincidentally that is what my camera's meter tends to do anyway, rightly or wrongly. I'm at 40 degrees latitude.

At high latitudes or in winter the lower sunlight is weaker but illuminates vertical objects (faces, walls, etc.) more directly, which compensates to an extent. My light meter doesn't see much difference between summer and winter scenes. But here trees lose their leaves so there is overall more harshly illuminated surfaces in winter too. Summer scenes can be darker than you'd think simply because of all the dark foliage here.

Overexposing Portra increases detail and reduces grain, and highlights remain recoverable with good scanning/printing even for several stops, so if in doubt, it seldom hurts to expose more.
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Old 06-01-2019   #11
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Sunny 16 is approximate exposure. If you don't mind underexposing and overexposing, it works pretty well. However, I've never found it to coincide with incident meter readings. Following the rule usually results in underexposure, which is generally what you don't want. Which is why, if you are going to go without a meter, most people recommend the Sunny 11 rule. There is no alliteration, so it is more difficult to remember.
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Old 06-01-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solvstrom View Post
I'm a bit curious to see how many stick with the sunny 16 rule.
I use the Sunny 16 as a guide not as a rule. I adjust it when needed.

For example, when I am shooting on a sunny day in Texas, I use f/16.

When I am shooting on a sunny day in Chicago, I use f/11.

When I am shooting long exposures with film, I adjust for reciprocity.
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Old 06-01-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solvstrom View Post
Hi guys

I'm a bit curious to see how many stick with the sunny 16 rule. I'm asking cause according to my meter, it's always underexposed.

I'm currently shooting Portra 400 so my shutter is set to 500. In sunny daylight I bump my aperture to f/16 - When metering it's most of the times underexposed. I would rather over expose than under expose, so i'm curious to hear how many of you actually stick with it or adjust the shutter so it over exposes?

Hope this makes sense
I live in the northern US in upstate New York.

My own experience is that the "rule of thumb" should be a "sunny 11" rule. Cross checking with my Gossen meters, confirmed with several hundred rolls of TX135, I find that "sunny 16" is only a good approximation on a sandy beach or with snow covered ground. "Sunny 11" has proven reliable in other than bright sunshine in the dead of winter.

I index Tri-X at ASA 320 and process in a mytol variant.
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Old 06-02-2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
"Sunny 16" - depends on the season, depends on your latitude, depends on the scene, etc. ...
... and the degree of aerial pollution. I doubt that there is a major urban area where the pollution correction isn't at least a stop.
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Old 06-02-2019   #15
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Living in the SE US I find Sunny 22 is probably closer. Then again nothing beats a good meter. Even cheap cameras from the '60's and '70's had reasonably good meters. The key is knowing how to use the camera's meter (or handheld meter).
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Old 06-02-2019   #16
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Outside in the middle of summer in Australia in full sun that would probably be a bit over exposed.

I think Corran summed it up when he said 'experience is worth a thousand opinions.' You learn by your results be they successful or otherwise.
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Old 06-03-2019   #17
Solvstrom
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Thanks guys! This is super helpful. I guess it's all practice. I was mostly curious if to hear what others do, but I think i'll stick to trusting the meter in the M6 which has worked out great so far.
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Old 06-05-2019   #18
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Rarely ever do I shoot a frame filling 18% gray card in full sun..

For me (NW-Europe), it's rather "F8 and be there"..
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