F-Stop and Aperture are one of the articles on exposure. What do these terms mean, what do they have in common and how do they differ?
Free download F-Stop Chart PDF
Aperture and F-stop is the second important aspect of exposure in landscape photography. This is one of the photographer’s most important tools along with Shutter speed and ISO.
Understanding what is f stop and aperture will allow you to study the potential of your camera and take amazing pictures.
Aperture is simply the size of the opening of the lens, and learning how it works will help you create the depth and light you need for beautiful photos.
I've focussed upon three elements of the 'exposure triangle' – ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture.
Today would like to turn our attention to Aperture.
In this article you will learn:
- What is aperture and f-stop in landscape photography
- What is best aperture for landscape and how to shoot sharp landscape photograph
- How to find the best f-stop for landscape
- How to find a 'lens sweet spot' and set a camera
Have you seen how the photographers take sharp images or how they blurred the background? How to control shutter speed and shoot long exposure photography?
What is Aperture in Photography?
In this article, I will talk about the aperture of the landscape. For each genre of photography, there are special visual tools. For landscape photography, an aperture is one of the most important of them.
Aperture is a hole in a lens, through which light gets into the camera body.
Just think about how your eyes work.
Aperture is like the 'pupil' for the lens. It can open and close to change the amount of light.
A camera's lens collects and focuses light — but just how much light? Aperture is one of three different settings. Aperture changes how wide the lens' opening is.
When the aperture or opening is wide, a lot of light is let into the image. When the aperture is narrow, very little light is let into the image.
How wide the aperture is indicated in f-stops or f-numbers like f/8. A small number like f/1.8 means a wide aperture, while a large number like f/22 indicates a narrow aperture.
Photographers need to remember one main concept: Small number is wide apertures, and big number is narrow apertures.
This may seem a little contradictory at first but will become clearer as you take pictures at varying f/stops.
Why Aperture is Important
Look inside your camera lens.
You see the blades and small circular hole. This is an aperture of the lens. They open and close, changing the aperture. Aperture has a direct impact on the exposure of a photograph.
The other important aspect is the Depth of Field of your photo. Adjusting your aperture is one of the best tools you have to capture the right images.
What is the Aperture Scale
Here's the aperture scale. Each step-down lets in half as much light:
f/1.4 (very large opening aperture, lets in a lot of light), f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32 (very small aperture)
Most often the sharpest f-stop will in the middle of the range of your lens. It’s called a sweet spot. But the very important is the depth of field too.
The lens aperture is a hole inside the lens through which light reaches the image sensor of your camera. I try to give the simplest definition and not complicate the understanding of the aperture. Much more important is the understanding of the practical use of this tool.
Well, as I said, the lens aperture is a hole in the lens through which light penetrates into the camera. You can be set the high or low aperture. The light enters the image sensor faster through a wide hole. Shutter speed will be faster. A small aperture will take more time to pass.
This aperture chart shows you how to work the lens aperture.
F-stop value increase with decreasing aperture diameters.
For example, if the lens focal length is 70mm and the aperture diameter is 17mm, then f-stop = 70mm/17mm = f/4.
- The larger the f-stop value, the less light enters the lens
- The smaller the f-stop value, the more light enters the lens
Each stop reduces the volume of light falling on the camera sensor twice. Consequently, the shutter speed becomes longer.
To understand how works aperture, you can cover the thick jalousie on the window. See, it got darker. The image sensor of a camera needs more time to record a bright image.
Surely you don’t have heard such a term as f-stop? When you take pictures, you use the interaction between shutter speed, ISO settings, and f-stop to control exposure.
What is f-stop
F-Stop = Lens Focal Length (mm)/Aperture Diameter (mm)
Again, I will not tell you that f stop is determined by the focal length of the lens divided by the diameter of the hole, etc. This knowledge will not give practical information for the beginner.
Each f-stop number changes the size of the aperture twice.
F/2.8 is a low aperture and small depth of field, the background will be blurred.
F/11 (and more) is a small aperture and large depth of field, the whole frame will be sharp.
The classic diapason of f-stops a camera supports is f/1.8 – f/22, consisting of the following f-stops:
f/1.8, f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8. f/11, f/16, f/22
This definition is easy to understand and remember. Then why complicate things? We want to photograph the landscape, and not to invent new lenses. But, nevertheless, it is necessary to slightly complicate the understanding of f-stop, depth of field and aperture.
As in the case of ISO (remember, high ISO gives noise and grain and can spoil the frame), so in the case of the lens, aperture is not so simple.
The best aperture for landscape
When you want to take sharply focused shots, you choose a high f-stop number by closing the aperture. You can use the camera in manual (M) or aperture priority (Av). This gives you full control of the aperture of the camera.
We usually want to see as much detail as possible from foreground to background and to achieve the maximum depth of field by choosing a small aperture (f/8 or f/11).
How to set the aperture on Canon?
- Turn the Mode dial to align the Manual mode (M) or Aperture priority (Av).
- Turn the small main dial to select the aperture. The camera automatically selects the shutter speed.
- Also, you can set the camera to Manual mode, you set the shutter speed and aperture manually.
Why not use the highest f-stop number?
At first glance, this is logical. You've probably heard that apertures like f/16 and f/22 are best avoided. Why?
What is a “lens sweet spot”
It should be noted that the image quality of many lenses tends to deteriorate as it approaches the extreme ends of the f-stop. This is especially true for zoom lenses because they are so complex.
Each lens has an optimal (working) aperture, which is called a 'lens sweet spot'. The lens sweet spot, this is the f stop number using which you take the best image quality.
The rule to finding that mid-range sweet spot is to count up two full f stops from the widest aperture. On my lens, the widest aperture is f/4 and small aperture f/22. Two full stops from there would bring me to a sweet spot is between f/8 and f/11.
I still recommend using the 2 f stop formula to calculate the sweet spot of your lens. Can I use a narrower aperture, for example, f/16? Yes of course. But you should always remember that this will be a compromise between the image quality and depth of field.
So, and what is the best aperture for the landscape?
I believe that this is the range between f/8 – f/11.
F-stops and depth of field
I covered this topic in detail here.
In fact, the aperture affects the sharpness of your photo. Large apertures such as f/1.8-f/5.6 create a shallow depth of field, but the main subject looks sharp. Small apertures such as f/8-f/22 create a greater depth of field. Everything from foreground to background can be clear and sharp.
Please check out some of my previously published free tutorials in my archives.
MORE EXPOSURE RESOURCES
- ISO for Beginner
- Exposure Triangle in Photography
- The Depth of Field
- The Histogram in Photography
- White Balance is part of the Exposition
- Exposure Triangle cheat sheet
- Shutter speed chart
- 3 Easy Steps to Fix White Balance in Photoshop
- F-Stop Chart
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