Sunny 16 Rule .. in what fxxxin universe?!?!


“The basic rule is, “On a sunny day set aperture to f/16 and shutter speed to the [reciprocal of the] ISO film speed [or ISO setting] for a subject in direct sunlight.” (Wikipedia)

So I’m out in the city with my digital, sun behind me, I’m setting the ISO to 100, the shutter to 1/100, the aperture to f16.
What do I get? Shit. Underexposed on a sunny day.
Cloudy, f11, ISO 100, shutter 1/100. What do I get? Underexposure. Either I bump the f-stop up to f4 or the ISO to 800 to get what I want out of the picture.

Recently I got ISO 64 film (ektachrome, expired since 1991).
And I’m like “crap, what do I do with ISO 64?!?!”..
Out of experience I knew its better (for me) to over- rather than underexpose pics..
So, sunny day, lots of snow, light bouncing of here and there.. perfect to try the sunny16 rule, right?
The following pics are taken with a f4.5, shutter 1/60 with ISO 64 film, with the sun basically on top of us, so pretty much hard light.

Credits: xxxanderrr

Now what the hell would I have if i used f16 ?? Would I get any details? Would I get any colours? Would I get ANYTHING other than silhouettes?
f16 compared to 4.5 is frikkin 4 stops of exposure, 4 FULL STOPS.
Yes, I overexposed the two double exposures by one stop. That’s because I wasn’t planning on doubles, it just happened.

I’m already pissed because I took a full roll of pics with my Holga using the ISO64 film. Right now I regret it. Why? Because I thought the Holga could handle it, but it doesnt. With an aperture of f16 ONLY (Yes, I actually unscrewed the damn thing and guess what? The Holga only has 1 frikkin aperture, I took a ruler to measure it) I basically screwed up a roll of 20 year old film. For what? A blank negative?
No thanks and never again.

For the last weeks I’ve been shooting the ISO 64 film according to my intuition – using a wide aperture (in the Lubitel’s case f4.5) and a rather slow shutter setting – for real sunny days 1/125, for cloudier 1/60 or even 1/30.
Why? Because then it works.

So rant over.. would anyone mind explaining why the first picture is exposed well, bearing in mind my settings?

written by xxxanderrr on 2011-03-20


  1. disdis
    disdis ·

    so many different conditions out there,....

  2. bcartwright
    bcartwright ·

    Well, one thing to consider is that as film ages it gets slower. Color more quickly than black and white.

  3. xxxanderrr
    xxxanderrr ·

    that was my first idea as well, but then i contacted the buyer, he basically kept the film in the fridge for the past 20 years. So it wouldn't have expired *that* much.

  4. mikeman85
    mikeman85 ·

    I still think your pictures came out really awesome! So vintage looking.

    But yeah, 20 years is a long time to be the words of Forrest Gump, "Expired film is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you're gonna get."

  5. xxxanderrr
    xxxanderrr ·

    Damn, now I want myself a box of chocolates.. I could eat a million and a half of these.. ;))

    but yea, I still need to test my theory of the sunny16 rule not working with other ISO film, lets see where that gets me =D