Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post

Well before meters existed photographers used a system that basically works in most conditions

The basic and most fundamental rule is the sunny 16 rule, where on a bright sunny day you should set that f-stop to f/16 and you match your shutter speed to the film speed (example an ASA100 film shutter should be 1/100 (or 1/125 is probably fine) and in the shade (but still bright day, it's f/11 and an overcast day is f/11 and heavy shade is f/8...
Actually, meters were being used in the 1800s. They weren't what we think of as meters, but were used. Given that European aperture ranges were quite different from American ranges in the first halfish of the 20th century, that rules doesn't apply. It wouldn't have applied until about the late '30s-'40s. I have a Zeiss pamphlet scan from the '30s based on "Dr Max Leo's System," that lists out a given set of circumstances that together gave a mathematical formula to set your exposure.

Also, I'd like to know values for placements and as a reference point for the future. For instance, under sunny 16, I've had blown clouds and dark shadows. I found it good for narrower ranges of values, but I'd like something that allows me to work my way, and give me more usable information for my vision. Since I spend sometimes a longish time making an image, I'd rather stick to something quantified.