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October 2, 2017

What is Aperture?

Aperture, ISO  and Shutter these are the three major components of photography and cameras. I must say “Aperture” is the magician who creates magic in your image by allowing a certain amount of light on your camera sensor. It is responsible for creating magical effects by allowing an amount of light into your image. In this topic, I will try to explain everything about aperture which I know and will try to explain in very simple language whatever I know.

In this I will cover some of basic of aperture, 1 What is Aperture 2, Aperture Size 3, Lens Aperture Big and Small.

1, What is Aperture:

In simple words, an aperture is a hole in any lens, where light travels through a camera body and comes with a sensor. It’s again not a rocket science, you can compare camera system with eyes to make it easy and a camera is designed to keep this in mind only. Take an example of your eyes and its cornea which is a front part of your lens which gathers external light and send it back to pupil for more processing. Depending on the light source and your cornea expand to shrink and control light amount to pass on and controls your pupil size. If you compare this with your camera system, the pupil is the aperture in photography. And here in eyes retina act as a sensor of your body and in camera its camera sensor. Very simple larger a pupil more amount of light comes and smaller size, less amount of light enter on a retina and similar way large aperture more light and small aperture less light on the camera sensor.

2, Aperture Size (Diaphragm)

Old days aperture was known as diaphragm also. And the iris of the lens that controls the diameter (size ) of the aperture is called “diaphragm” in optics language. The purpose of the diaphragm is to allow or stop light, with some amount of the light that goes through an aperture. In photography aperture is also known as F- numbers (of F-stops) which are generally known as F/2.8 F/3.2 and this describe the size of an aperture of the lens.A small F-Stop value represents the large opening of a lens means large aperture, while big F-stops value means smaller aperture It’s little difficult and awkward to understand this numbers. The image below will make you understand easily, F/1.4 large than F/2.8 and much larger than F/8 or F/12.  Here white circle is lens opening and F-stop numbers.

A small F-Stop value represents the large opening of a lens means large aperture, while big F-stops value means smaller aperture It’s little difficult and awkward to understand this numbers. The image below will make you understand easily, F/1.4 large than F/2.8 and much larger than F/8 or F/12.  Here white circle is lens opening and F-stop numbers.

3, Lense Aperture Big and Small:

Each lens has a fix or a limitation on aperture like how large or how much large it can be. If you pickup your lens and look at the technical details, you will find what maximum (low F-stop) and minimum (highest F-stop) of your lens.

In an optic word of a camera lens, maximum aperture of the lens is very much important than the minimum value as maximum value shows a speed of the lens. Example F/2, F2.4 or F4.0 are the maximum aperture and considered as a fast lens, reason they allow more light pass through. That means large aperture lenses are more suitable for low light photography. Lower aperture is not important nowadays as most of the modern camera lenses are capable of F/16 to F/22 as the minimum F-stop, which is enough for day to day work photography assignments.

There are three types of lenses Standard or Fix (prime), Wide and Zoom. Wide also considered and comes under fix or zoom so mainly two only.  Fix lenses have no change in focal length and while zoom lenses give you the flexibility

to zoom in and out the shooting object without moving closer. Fix or standard lenses with fix aperture invite more complex design and they are known as a prime lens. Such good quality optics and fix aperture lenses are expensive and known as “Prime Lenses”.  To reduce complexity and cost, you may find lenses with a variable aperture (F-Stop) are known as consumer grade and you may find them with F-stop reading as F/3.5-F5.6. The question will come up in our mind “What does this range mean?” Lens optic construction will allow light of F/3.5 at 18mm and when to zoo to full length, it allows the light amount equal to  F/5.6 only and that’s why such lenses are known as variable aperture lenses, here I was talking about lens 18-200mm. When we talk about 70-200 mm F/2.8 where lens construction allows a small amount of light at any given focal length, it means at 70mm and 200mm you will get aperture F/2.8.

One more good side effect of big aperture lenses. Having a larger maximum aperture also means better ability to isolate subjects from the background and gives you super sharp image focus on objects, which is also known as depth of field and we will talk about that later.

If you have any questions or suggestions please put here in comment or send me email.

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