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Posted by YL on 02/10/2011 in Nature Images with No Comments

Take the front lens cap and the rear lens cap off your lens and look at the base or rear of the lens in a well-lit area. Very likely you will see an opening at the base. That opening is called the APERTURE of the lens.

The APERTURE refers to the opening at the base or rear of the lens that allows light entering the front to pass through to the sensor or film.

The light passing through the aperture can be increased or decreased by changing the size of the aperture. In photographic terms this is referred to as varying the f-stop.

F-stops are numbers – actually fractions – that represent different sizes of the aperture. Common f-stops seen when using a digital SLR are:

1, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22

These values are sometimes written as f1, f1.4, f2, f2.8 etc or f/2, f/4, f/5.6 etc.

It is very important to note that the “smaller” values like f/2 and f/4 represent larger openings or apertures and the “larger” values like f/16 and f/22 represent smaller apertures.


This apparent complexity or confusion is easily solved by thinking of f-stops as fractions, which they really are.

Which fraction is larger: ½ or ¼? A half or ½ is larger than a quarter or ¼. Likewise f/2 is larger than f/4, which is larger than f/8 and so on.

You may wonder why not make life simple by having just one aperture of a fixed size. Well, if there was just one aperture, some of the creative effects you see in photographs would not be possible. The ability to vary the size of the aperture by varying the f-stop gives photographers a creative tool to produce stunning images.

A large aperture (f/4.5) was chosen to create the blurred background in the image below. This prevents objects in the background from becoming a distraction as your eye focuses on the yellow-crowned night heron. Generally, large apertures are used to create blurred background.

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