BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Carolina M. Corzo

A Good Aperture/Shutter Speed for Outdoor.

What is an average aperture setting for outdoor photographs on a bright sunny day. I took some pictures of my kids this weekend & set the camera on 22 because I wanted depth of field but ended up overexposing the pictures. The shutter speed on my camera varies between 1 & 2000.

To love this question, log in above
2/25/2003 3:31:40 PM

Wayne Attridge   Does you camera not have some sort of meter? It really depends on the film speed, and the brightness of the foreground and background. A good starting point with 100 film would be about 1/125th second at f11. If you are using faster film you will have to close up the aperture (a higher number) or increase the shutter speed. A guideline:

film speed shutter aperture

100 f11 1/125

200 f16 1/125
f11 1/250

400 f22 1/125
f16 1/250
f11 1/500

Hope this helps. Remember this is a start point but should give you a better idea of what's what.

To love this comment, log in above
2/25/2003 6:28:30 PM

Wayne Attridge   Sorry about the table. It looked fine before I uploaded it but it was reformatted . What you see now is the film speed followed by the adjusted settings. If you can't make it out, reply and I will try again.

To love this comment, log in above
2/25/2003 6:31:07 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
  Sunny-16 Rule:
I consider this more a "guideline" but it has worked for me for decades. It's what is found on the film data sheets and it's what is also published in Kodak's "Pocket Photoguide" and "Professional Photoguide." Kodak also prints this on the inside of their film boxes.

For illumination by direct sun with clear sky:
Aperture: f/16
Shutter speed: 1/(film speed)
Use shutter speed closest to this value. You can trade apertures for shutter speeds; e.g. f/11 @ 1/250th or f/8 @ 1/500th will give you the same exposure as f/16 @ 1/125th.

These sources I cited also give guidelines for increasing exposure under various cloud conditions when the sun is obscured by cloud cover. Excellent descriptions of these conditions and how to compensate for them are available on-line in the 3rd section of Kodak's "Guide to Better Pictures:"

Kodak doesn't print this separately in a technical publication (that I could find), but it is contained in their publication for setting accurate exposures with a light meter. It's near the end in the next to the last section, "How to Check Your Exposure Meter and Camera," and is available in a PDF file (Adobe Acrobat) on Kodak's site (Tech Pub AF-9):
They present it as a "sanity check" that can be used to determine if a meter is reasonably accurate. This version of it may be easier to print.

-- John

To love this comment, log in above
2/25/2003 10:40:34 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.