Thursday, January 26, 2012

DSLR For Dummies- Aperture

We’re going to do today’s DSLR post a little different.  I’m going to share with you what I learned this week about aperture.  (There is an Ike photo at the end for those of you who aren't interested in this DSLR business!)  I’m glad to have this all written down because I will probably forget before next week’s lesson.

What does aperture mean to me?  How wide the shutter opens = how much light gets in

What is f-stop?  The f-stop controls how wide the shutter opens.
  • The smaller the f-stop = the more the shutter opens = more light in = faster shutter speed. 
  • The larger the f-stop = the less the shutter opens = less light in = slower shutter speed
  • Wow, that was intense.  This is the part I had to keep being reminded of.  It takes awhile to sink in.  You’ll get there.  Hopefully you learn faster than I do.
  • I got a notebook out after Nate repeated this to me about 212 times.  I'm studious.
What advantage is there to moving the camera from “auto” to “A”? Or I like “auto”.  Why should I rack my brain this hard? 
  • You get more control over the depth of field (blurriness of background).
  • In auto, the camera picks everything based on meter in the camera.
  • In A you can pick the f-stop and ISO.  The camera selects the shutter speed.
    • Side note on shutter speed: The faster the shutter speed, the less motion shown.  1/50 is faster than 1/20. (Ex. photographing sports you would use 1/1000.)
How do you know what f-stop to use?
  • low light (our house): smaller f-stop
  • blurry background (portrait): smaller f-stop
  • bigger depth of field (ex. landscape): larger f-stop
What should this f-stop business look like on the camera?


In the following photos I will share with you what f-stop I used.  Notice as the f-stop gets larger, the background (ex. the deck rails) will become more in focus.  Fancy.  And I got to touch the camera.  Super fancy.

f/3.5 (f-stop), 1/60s (shutter speed), ISO 800
f/8.0, 1/13s, ISO 800
f/22.0, 1/2s, ISO 800
Get your cameras out!  When you increased the f-stop, did you notice how long it took to take the picture?  Weird.  And it makes sense.  The larger the f-stop, the less light that gets in.  The less light that gets in, the longer it takes to take the picture (slower shutter speed).

And now, a cute picture of the Ike-man with my newly learned f-stop skills….

f/3.5, 1/30s, ISO 800
Any questions on aperture?  Nate will answer them because this is all I know.  Did you learn anything?  Who wants to snuggle with Ike?


  1. I want Ike! However Ike does not look like he would like Foster...

    I start my photography class in 2 weeks. I'm excited. At least by reading these post I won't be completely in the dark!

  2. Ahhh so that is what that 'jagged swirly button thing' on the top is for! I always wondered. I tried asking Mr A before but he just tutts and walks off. Apparently I've asked a few times and just looked confused when he started talking about aperature and speed etc. This is much easier to understand. I may actually get off my arse and find that notebook I lost behind the sofa last month so I can jot all this stuff down.
    The only issue I have is that when it takes longer to take the shot, my hands shake. Spose I better stop being lazy and find the tripod too!

  3. Ok, I'm getting my camera out tonight (this weekend at the latest - ha) and doing this little tutorial. This series is a great compliment to my "learn how to use my camera" 2012 resolution! Thank You!

  4. I want to snuggle Ike!! Also, seriously, thanks for these posts. They make sense to me and I'm bookmarking them! Have a great day!

  5. My head hurts. I would like to snuggle with Ike. Can you just show me when I come down? I'm a very visual learner.

  6. I totally have always been told it was the other way around with the shutter speeds! What!?

    Ie. Slower shutter speeds are used to allow more time for light to come in (like in low light or night time pictures) and in bright pictures you want to use a faster one so it doesn't over expose... which means less time for too much light to get in.

    That's sort of the opposite/or a mixture of the same and also some opposite of what you said above. Can you (ie. Nate) clarify how that works? :) PAHLEASE!

  7. Ike looks so snuggly! I'm bookmarking these posts to come back after I get my fancy new camera in a few months.

  8. Oh man....I like just using my camera in the mode where the flash is turned off. My brain hurts but I'm sure my hubby will read this and tell me in idiot terms how this works. ;)

  9. I would love to snuggle with Ike. So cute! I'm wondering about the ISO you (or Nate) chose. Was there a particular reason you chose 800? I'm always confused about what to choose when indoors.

  10. I am learning along with you, and also need a low f-stop/shutter speed because of bad lighting this time of year. I currently lack a tripod, though, so it becomes difficult because I can't hold the camera still....

    ISO is what confuses me. Mainly because I don't even know what it stands for. Maybe get Nate on that next week? ;)

  11. That cow looks sassy and fabulous at any f-stop.

  12. Ike is just adorable. The rest of this is very helpful since my photos suck and I don't know how to use my camera but I've been distracted by the cuteness.

  13. I'm just gonna go ahead and pin this for a time when I have a fighting chance of understanding it. Say....2028?

  14. Love these!!! I am begging for more, I have had my DSLR for 2 years and still use auto. I need help. I am pinning all these tires for future reference.


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