The Life-saving F/16 Rule for Landscape Photographers

By Admin / March 16, 2009

For a lot of us, landscape photography is one of our favourite past-times. Being out with nature doing the hobby you love, really is something we enjoy.

It can get a little frustrating if we're not producing the standard of shots that we would like to however.

Luckily, there's a quick and easy rule that can save your daytime landscapes (or any other daytime shot for that matter), at least in terms of exposure and light.

It's called the f/16 Rule and is sometimes known as the Sunny 16 Rule.

It's basically a way of ensuring a reasonable shot under sunny conditions without recourse to a light meter.





The basic rule states to shoot at an apperture of f/16 with a shutter speed of 1/125 when shooting on ISO 100 film.

Or f/16 with a shutter speed of 1/ISO setting (or as close as your camera settings will allow)

For example, let's say you were shooting on 400 ISO film.

The formula would be f/16 and 1/400 speed.

With ISO 800, it would be f/16 and 1/800 speed.

f/16 sunny rule, Alphin Pike

Just in case that still doesn't make sense, try out these other links on the f/16 Rule:

The Sunny f/16 Rule
And on Wikipedia
And one more…

About the author

Admin

I'm Rob, the editor of Light Stalking. I try to keep this ship on course.

  • Ilan says:

    Great tip!
    I should try that 🙂

  • Mark Towner says:

    Nice tip but….

    Surely at ISO 400 the shutter speed should be 1/500 (and 1/1000 for ISO 800)

    Will be testing this 🙂

  • great tip. the shutter speeds and f stop coordination actually make a lot of sense.
    F16 is the same f stop we used to study the hyperfocal distance in school a couple of weeks ago. but this article just put new light to why we were restricted to that number, specially with the 1/ISO concept. well done!

  • Debbie says:

    Tried this as soon as I read it, lol. It works well at 400, I will try it at 800 later. Thanks for the tip!

  • Luciana says:

    I learnt this “rule” ages ago in a course I did. And it has saved me a few times…
    Thanks for sharing!

  • newbiephotographer says:

    What if your camera can only go as low as f/8? Would lowering the equivalent shutter speed to half work?

    Let’s say at f/8 at ISO 100, equivalent shutter speed would be 1/50?

    Thanks for sharing BTW.

  • marilyn moffatt says:

    thank you for the tip. I have problems figuring out what settings to use so this will be helpful to at least take the picture using the f16 rule and then experimenting with other settings.


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