Equivalent Exposure Calculator
Or compare difference of any 2 camera exposures

How many stops difference? What are the EV numbers? Find an Equivalent Exposure?
Want to know the settings of f/6.3 + 1.67 EV of exposure?

There are three modes here:

  1. Enter two camera exposures to calculate EV Difference in exposures A and B.
  2. Find an Equivalent Exposure in B, to be equal exposure as specified in A.
  3. Find value of ± EV value added to a shutter speed, f/stop, or ISO value at B.

The fields in this calculator can use third or half stops. The half stop values are marked, and you should select whichever your camera is using, and Not mix third and half values. Full stops are marked in Yellow. If wanting to compare individual relationships (differences of two fstops, or shutter speeds, or ISO), there is another another calculator for that.

The calculator's initial default is that a change in any field will recompute results, which seems nice much of the time. But since there are multiple settings, then if you dislike seeing each unwanted setting change before you're ready, the top checkbox can choose to recompute ONLY when the Compute button is clicked (when you are ready to see it). But then the previous result will remain showing until the Compute button is clicked (or the top checkbox is turned off). The main result is grayed signifying the result is NOT shown accurately yet. So you must remember to click Compute, but if that is still confusing, don't choose that option.

Exposure Calculator

1. DifferenceAB
Shutter Speed
Settings EV
The Exposure is
Light Value
EV at ISO 100
Exposure Difference is:
Choose one of these choices for Options 2 or 3 below:
The shutter speed changes (aperture preferred)
The f/stop changes (shutter preferred)
The ISO changes (manual settings)
2. Find an Equivalent Exposure B to be equal to A

3. Add EV to a value in B
    3. Accepts EV formats like 2.3333 or -2 1/3 EV
    EV fractions will compute the nearest nominal setting.
    Fields in A don't change, and EV difference is shown.

The selections above provide the possible camera settings. Half stops are marked with *½.

Just for a reference, the brightest sun in the clearest sky will be right at EV 15 at ISO 100. Normal bright conditions might often be 1/3 EV less.

The calculator range of Nominals is outrageously large, but not quite infinite.

The wide range prevents most extreme computed settings from going out of range, but extremes could still make that possible.

EV may seem to read sort of backwards, in that an Absolute EV value of greater EV means more light is present, and necessarily needs less exposure to compensate it. The values in the EV Chart (next page) makes that obvious.
However, in the camera, +1 EV Relative compensation does boost our settings to 2x greater exposure when there is less light. For the calculator's exposure difference, it is Relative and +EV is more exposure, and it also tries to directly specify that more and less refers to Exposure in that case.

In the calculator:

The camera settings EV term might be misunderstood, because it is computed from only the shutter speed and f/stop values (a calculator is on next page). This Settings EV is seemingly independent of ISO, except the EV number is computed from the camera settings already chosen for whatever appropriate ISO is in use, which makes ISO in fact be all important. Numerical EV was developed when light meters were to be added into film cameras (late 1950s, implemented early 1960's) to aid computing exposure. Then film speed (called ASA then, ISO today, same numbers) was a temporary constant determined by the choice of the roll of film in the camera. This ISO number was identified to the camera, so the metering knew it and could compute how much the camera settings needed to change to match exposure to this film speed. The settings combination of f/16 at 1/125 second is numerically EV 15 for any ISO, but those settings are chosen specifically for and only applicable for the one specific ISO currently being used. So maybe the formula to calculate EV does not include the ISO number, but the choice of the proper camera settings used certainly depends on ISO. The camera settings are not necessarily a correct exposure unless ISO does match them to the scene. More on next page (EV Chart).

The calculator default numbers represent full bright direct sunlight. The way the exposure is said is 1/2000 second at f/11 (EV 18) at ISO 800. An equivalent is also 1/125 second at f/16 (EV 15) at ISO 100 (is EV 15100, and is initial default of calculator, or other Equivalents, like 1/250 at f/11 at ISO 100 (also is EV 15100). All of these are the same exposure. However the Absolute EV number alone is not meaningful without specifying the corresponding ISO number.

That settings EV is that Exposure Value that a light meter would read when set to that ISO. ISO is definitely all important to exposure. It is how the EV Chart would be used, we would use the settings on that indicated EV chart row, for the proper metered exposure at the ISO we are using (example next page). The EV number is computed from only the camera settings (only shutter speed and f/stop are computed), but those setting choices of course depend on the ISO value. The one EV chart is for ANY AND EVERY ISO value, meaning specifically whichever chosen one is in use. If we change ISO, it changes the metered EV and the settings we would select.

ISO: That settings EV is the row in the EV chart where that combination of equivalent settings is found, and might appear to be independent of ISO in that way. However, when the light meter is set to an ISO and then it meters EV X, then the EV chart row X is the right settings for a correct exposure at that same ISO. ISO is very important. A different ISO would meter different settings on a different EV row. So the settings (shutter speed and f/stop) are selected with attention to the ISO (cause and effect), and certainly we do get a different EV with a different ISO.

Basically, the EV number is the "name" of the set of Equivalent Exposure combinations of f/stop and shutter speed found on that one row of the EV chart.

Light Value converts the ISO to an arbitrary but standard ISO 100 value for the purpose to compare two actual exposures at the same ISO 100 values. The number 100 is NOT a special ISO number at all, Light Value could compare by converting both readings to any same ISO number, but 100 is merely a popular convenient number. If you're not using ISO 100, then you would have to convert that number. Light Value represents the corresponding relative "brightness level", so to speak, which then would require the appropriate proper corresponding exposure. More about Light Value on next page, and the math formulas are on a math page. EV 15 at ISO 100 and EV 18 at ISO 800 are the same two exposure levels, but as comparable Light Values, both EV are converted to same ISO 100 for easy comparison. Both Light Values are EV 15100, or again, same light levels require Equivalent Exposures (at the same ISO 100). The Settings numbers may not have been Equivalent, but the resulting brightness level (adjusted for ISO) of the two Light Values of the exposures are the same, and Equivalent.

Exposure Value and the EV Chart is covered on the next page. But either of the initial default settings above give the same equivalent metered exposure in typical bright sunlight. Both A and B are also the Sunny 16 Rule (except Sunny16 is often 1/3 stop more exposure than the EV system meters). The actual meter doing this is shown on next page. This is two actual real world meterings of two equivalent exposures.

That concept is, for the two ISO values, the light meter reads EV 15 or 18. Look up either EV 15 or EV 18 in the EV chart, and it will show these settings appropriate for that ISO. That's what the chart's about. Since ISO 800 exposes 3 EV brighter, it offsets the faster shutter speed, so these two are Equivalent Exposures. The purpose of this calculator is to similarly compare any two exposures.

The calculators top "EV (settings)" value is computed from the settings entered, and (assuming a correct exposure) is what a light meter will read at the working ISO, and this is the EV to look up in a EV chart for use at that ISO value. The actual camera setting choices will have already been affected by that ISO, so this EV is not further affected by the ISO that we enter now.

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