Photography light calculator

The combination of shutter speed, aperture and film speed/ISO (and light modifiers) are expressed as EV or "Exposure Value". This number depends on the amount of light present in a scene, either natural light (sun/moon) or artificial (strobe/lamp). A difference of 1 in EV corresponds to 1 "stop" (+1 stop = 2 x more light). This calculation is valid for both analog and digital photography
A ND (neutral density) filter is a piece of glass you can mount on a lens that attenuates the light without influencing the colors

Camera settings

Aperture: f/1.4 - very wide aperture, expensive, prime lens

Shutter: 0.03333 sec - slow exposure, watch out for moving people/objects

ISO: 800 ASA - medium ISO, need a good digital camera chip to control noise

Scene lighting: EV2.9

-5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
starlight to dim ambient lightmoon eclipse to night home interiorneon lights to landscape after sunsetbright light to weak sunbright daylight to direct sunlight
  • Pure Exposure Value: EV100 = 5.88 (based on shutter & aperture)
  • APEX Exposure Value: EV800 = 2.88 (based on shutter, aperture, ISO)
  • Luminance: 0.93 cd/m² = 0.0867 cd/ft²
  • Luminance: 0.2723 ftL (foot Lambert)
  • Illuminance: 18.66 lux
  • Illuminance: 1.73 fc (foot-candle)


EV is an estimation of how much light you need for a decent photo with these settings. If you use camera settings for EV10 and you actually have EV15 in your scene, your photo will be overexposed. If you use camera settings for EV10 but you only have EV3 light in your scene, your photo will be underexposed.