Photography without a light meter. The f16 rule…

One of the many newsletters I subscribe to is Australian photographer Richard White’s which I always find has some interesting tips or story on photography. Richard really does put some effort into his newsletter and is worth signing up for. This issue he had a great reminder about “the f16 rule” which I often use when travelling with my meterless Leica M2. This rule is a great tool not only for getting correct exposure but also makes you think a little more before you shoot. Richard explains it so well I have reproduced it below for you.

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Leave the meter at home… try the F16 rule!

” The F16 rule goes like this. Assuming you are photographing on a sunny day and you are set at 100 ISO, then you set your shutter speed to the closest shutter setting as the ISO (in my case  100 so therefore 1/125 of a second) and your aperture to F16 and take the picture. I have found that if it’s around 10 AM or later it works better. As I was photographing about 7.30am and it was bright, I opened up another stop to compensate for the lower angle of the sun. Finally someone came by with a DSLR and I checked my setting. I was within a half a stop. Although it’s not completely accurate it is pretty close and should be used as a guide only “.

” Follow the basics as above and if it’s hazy open a stop, cloudy another stop and overcast yet another stop. Of course you can adjust to any configuration you wish to get the shutter speed or aperture you require. That is, if it is 1/125 sec @ f16, this is the same as 1/500 sec @ f 8, but I would begin at F16 and work from there “.

Richard White’s website can be visited here The Art of Photography


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