Exposure  Calculator
to Compare Any Two Camera Exposure Values

How many stops difference? What are the EV numbers?

Enter two camera exposures or light meter readings to calculate Difference in exposures.

Shutter Speed
EV (settings)
Working ISO

EV at ISO 100
( Light Value )

The selections above provide all possible settings (in full, third, half stops).
Full stops are Green. Third stops are Blue. Half stops are Red, also flagged with .

Exposure Value and the EV Chart is covered on the next page. But either of the 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 meters doing this are shown on next page. This is two actual real world meterings of two equivalent exposures.

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 1/1000 second shutter speed, so these two are Equivalent Exposures. The purpose of this calculator is to similarly compare any two exposures.

If just wanting to compare f/stop relationships, then see the f/stop calculator.

We could say the EV formula is independent of ISO (next page). However, 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. A greater EV number implies a brighter light, so less exposure is needed, which is a greater EV in a lower row in the EV chart. EV number is about the settings, and EV increases in the opposite direction from the exposure required (one EV is same amount as one stop, both are a 2x change in exposure).

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.

The entered ISO values (the working ISO actually used by the setting exposure) are used for the "EV at ISO 100" values (often called Light Value), which simply converts both exposures from these values used, to be the same ISO 100, for purposes to compare the difference in the exposures for equality (ISO 100 is not a magic number, any SAME ISO value allows exposure comparison). The box above is organized its way to indicate that this ISO entry does not affect the top EV value again, but this ISO (now known) does affect converting to EV at ISO 100. The camera setting ISO used, and the calculator ISO entered, really must of course match for any reasonable use.

Specific example: The calculator defaults when this page loads are:

A: 1/1000 second, f/16, for EV 18 at ISO 800
B: 1/125 second,   f/16, for EV 15 at ISO 100.

Settings EV (without effect of ISO), then EV of settings A is +3 EV more than settings B (EV is the combination of shutter speed and f/stop settings). EV of A is greater (EV 18) because the 1/1000 shutter speed is faster, which is for less exposure of brighter light.

However Exposure Difference, if including ISO, then these two exposures are seen as Equivalent Exposures, because the higher ISO 800 of A compensates for its shutter speed. The EV 18 camera settings require +3 EV more ISO to be equal exposure of the EV 15 camera settings. Which of course it has that ISO here with ISO 800, so the exposures are seen Equal when adjusted to the same ISO 100 (EV100).

The Bottom Line at ISO100 shows 0 EV exposure difference (two equal exposures in this example).

There are more details about EV and LV on the EV chart next page.

Copyright © 2014-2016 by Wayne Fulton - All rights are reserved.

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