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  1. #1
    Max Power's Avatar
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    Is 'Sunny-16' Just a Bad Joke?

    Yesterday I developed a roll of APX-100. The roll was exposed on two consecutive days, in bright sunlight which metered 1/125 @f16 by a grey-card in direct sunlight. My in camera meter, however, consistently wanted to expose at 1/125 @f11. This for a series of shots taken out in direct sunlight. Seeing this discrepancy, I took a number of shots following 'sunny-16' and for others, I let my in camera meter do what it wanted to do.

    The frames in which I followed 'sunny-16' are consistently underexposed. The frames in which I let the in camera meter do its thing, though, show amazing snap and detail in both highlights and shadows.

    Serious question, then...Is 'sunny-16' a bad joke? Ought it really be 'sunny-11'?

    Cheers,
    Kent
    Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!

  2. #2

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    Is sunny 16 really a Joke? No. Not if you like the negatives it produces with the manufacturers development times.

    Most of us, however, overexpose from that by at least on stop and underdevelop from the recommended time by 15 - 20%. This yields a negative with good shadow detail and easily printed hightlights. I contrasty light, I rate tri-x at ei 100 and shorten my development to match.

    Parenthetically, this doesn't only hold for Black and White. I have proven to myself, that when I shoot 400 speed color negative film in bright sunlight the best negatives are the ones I expose at 1/250 sec. at f8. You do the math.
    Take care,
    Tom

  3. #3

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    What was the angle of the sun to the subject? If the subject was in complete front lighting It should have have given a good exposure at 1/100th of a second at f16 or 1/125th at approx 11+3/4 stop. This would be contingent on receiving a full normal development and the film being properly rated by the manufacture FOR THAT AMOUNT OF DEVELOPMENT. As it was your favored exposure according to the meter were more pleasing to you. I am unfamilar with the meter in your camera and I am unable to suggest why it was 3/4 stop different. It is worth remembering that even a little underexposure causes a problem. 1/2 to 1 stop additional exposure more than the bare minimum may result in negatives much to your liking. Many photographers use film speeds, for roll film. that give 1/2 to 1 stop more exposure than the rated manufacturers speed and give 75-80% of the development that is recommended. It is very worthwhile to remember David Vestal's advice...Do not underexpose and do not over-develop.

  4. #4
    Stephen Benskin's Avatar
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    How you hold the card makes a difference. Also, for exterior work, after metering a gray card you need to open up by 1/2 stop. Average reflectance is really 12% and not 18%.

  5. #5
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    At northern latitudes it’s sunny 11. Further south, sunny 16 would hold true. Here in England it’s sunny 10 & a bit, unless it's raining, when we use sunny 6ish. The system works, don't knock it!
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  6. #6
    bobfowler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Miller
    At northern latitudes itís sunny 11. Further south, sunny 16 would hold true. Here in England itís sunny 10 & a bit, unless it's raining, when we use sunny 6ish. The system works, don't knock it!
    By mid summer around here (NJ), it'll be the smoggy 11 rule anyway...
    Bob Fowler
    fowler@verizon.net
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

  7. #7
    garryl's Avatar
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    Sunny-16 is not a bad joke-
    Mooning at 16 in front of a cop is!

    Sunny-16 was created when ASA was lower and development times higher and you had to have that image without metering. It was quick and easy to fall back on.

  8. #8
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Power
    Serious question, then...Is 'sunny-16' a bad joke? Ought it really be 'sunny-11'?
    "Sunny-16" is a thumbrule, and like all thumbrules, it works in many cases, but not in all cases. It was derived based upon some typical conditions to give an exposure method easy to remember. As I remember, there was an "overcast-11" component to it.

    I shot a series with the 8x10 last summer using sunny-16 just for the 'ell of it. The only modification is that I increased exposure one stop to increase density for Azo. The result was negs that print well on both grade 2 and grade 3 Azo. Hey, in this case, it worked well. Final aperature setting was f/32.
    http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphot...cat=500&page=1
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    My Photography Blog

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Miller
    At northern latitudes itís sunny 11. Further south, sunny 16 would hold true. Here in England itís sunny 10 & a bit, unless it's raining, when we use sunny 6ish. The system works, don't knock it!
    Dave you beat me to it ... but don't forget the here comes the thunder 1.7

  10. #10

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    I've wondered about that for a while. I always figured Kodak had developed that rule by sending employees to Florida or California, where it is Sunny-16 (Sunny 22 in the Southern CA Desert, at times). NE PA, Upstate NY, or Northern Illinios are all "Sunnyish 11".

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