What is the aperture for on a camera?

Question by DaintyDarling: What is the aperture for on a camera?
I have a Nikon camera and I want to play around with the aperture, what do different levels mean/do to the photograph?

Best answer:

Answer by Gorkbark Porkduke Gefunken Fubar
The aperture is the size of the iris opening, which controls the amount of light hitting the film and the depth of field. A wider aperture means shorter exposure times and a smaller depth of field.

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9 Responses to What is the aperture for on a camera?

  1. stevensontj says:

    the bigger the aperture the more light goes on to the picture…..

  2. jack99skellington says:

    It lets more/less light in.

    Changing the aperture has different effects – like the depth of field (making things that aren’t in focus more blurry), etc.

  3. ivor g says:

    The aperture, also called an F stop, on a camera is the setting that controls your depth of field (background and/or foreground). For example, say you are photographing a group of people in front of a line of trees or a building and of course you want your group of people to be the focus, you would shoot at a lower aperture (i.e. 5.6,8 or anything up to about an 11), this would make your line of trees or the building more out of focus but still identifiable. If you want the line of trees or the building more in focus you would shoot with the aperture at anything higher than an 11 (i.e. 16 or 22). Your group of people will still be in focus and the subject of the picture but the line of trees or buiding will be clearer (depth of field).

    The word aperture simply means ‘opening’. The aperture of a lens is the size of the opening that allows light to pass through the lens onto a surface behind or below the lens. The smaller the opening the finer one is able to focus an image. In other words the smaller the opening (aperture) the more items in the image are in focus. Some more expensive cameras have the aperture built in the shutter of the camera rather than the lens. These usually do not have ‘stop’ points that one has to shoot at. The aperture of most lenses have preset ‘stop’ points that you must use. Lenes and camers operate on what is called ‘Field of Depth’. This is acheived by both the focus range of the lens and the aperture opening that is acheivable either in the lens or the cameras shutter. When one sees ‘FD’ marked on a lens it simply referrs to the field of depth that one can acheive. Generally the the smaller the aperture setting the longer the image must be exposed to achieve ones goal. Of course the faster the film speed (ISO) the more sensative it is to light therefore facilitating shorter image exposure to achive similar results. Unfortunately most photographic film is designed us such way that the faster the film speed the larger the grain. Therefore when one attempts to make larger photos one will see the graininess of the film.

  4. sant kabir says:

    Put your camera on Aperture priority mode and shoot. Review the results on computer/laptop.

  5. Genius Gene says:

    The main function of a camera lens is to collect light. The aperture of a lens is the diameter of the lens opening and is usually controlled by an iris. The larger the diameter of the aperture, the more light reaches the film / image sensor.

    Aperture is expressed as F-stop, e.g. F2.8 or f/2.8. The smaller the F-stop number (or f/value), the larger the lens opening (aperture).

    A large maximum aperture is a good thing. It allows more light to reach the image sensor, and so allows you to use a faster shutter speed. A faster shutter speed freezes action and negates the effect of camera shake, resulting in pictures that are not blurred.

    Another advantage of a large maximum aperture is to provide a shallow depth of field. This allows the background to blur nicely thus isolating your subject (especially effective when taking portraits).

    A small minimum aperture is also a good thing. It allows you to use a slow shutter speed on a bright sunny day. A slow shutter speed allows you to depict motion.

    Another advantage of a small minimum aperture is to increase the depth-of-field. An increased depth-of-field allows you to take landscape pictures where as much of the picture in the foreground and reaching all the way to the background (usually, ‘infinity’) is in sharp focus.

  6. Mark G says:

    Like everyone has said before me, aperture controls the size of the iris in the lens. The lower the aperture number, the larger the opening. So 2.8 lets in more light than 5.6. More light will allow you to use a faster shutter speed which is useful for eliminating motion blur in lower light conditions. A large aperture will also decrease the depth of field. Depth of field is the distance around the focus point that will also be in focus. A low depth of field is desirable when you want the subject in focus and everything around your subject blurred. A lower aperture in turn will increase the depth of field, but you will also need a slower shutter speed for a proper exposure.

  7. Romeo, Jnr. says:

    the aperture of a lens mainly affect the depth of field, means the nearest and the farthest where your focus comes clearly. the smaller the aperture the greater depth of field. the bigger the aperture, the lesser depth of field as a simple technic used in photography on so called selective focusing. on the lens, the aperture usually called f-stop. the higher the number the smaller the aperture opening.

  8. MixedMojo says:

    All good answers, so I’d just like to add to what you’ve already got. Some general info on camera settings: The aperture is a variable opening inside a lens that controls how much light is allowed to expose the image sensor, or film. The shutter controls how long that light is allowed to expose the image sensor or film. ISO is how sensitive the image sensor or film is to light. The light meter of your camera measures the level of light present within the frame you see in the viewfinder. Based on that value, it will assign an exposure setting using a combination of aperture and shutter speed, based also on the ISO. Varying the ISO varies that combination proportionately. The aperture dictates how long or short a duration the shutter will need to be open by the amount of light allowed through its opening, but also controls depth of field — or what within the frame is in focus depending on how far or near you are to objects relative to one another, or the focal length being used. A large aperture, while allowing more light to enter the camera — resulting in a faster shutter speed, has a more shallow depth of field — meaning, usually what is focused on will be clearly seen relative to other objects. A small aperture, while allowing more within a frame to be sharp, along with what is being focused on, allows less light to enter the camera — resulting in a slower shutter speed. A wider lens usually having a deeper depth of field than a longer lens, along with distance to subject, also plays a roll in what is in sharp focus, and what is blurred relative to the subject of focus. Your distance from an object also affects depth of field, the closer you are to an object, the more shallow the depth of field will be, resulting in most everything else relative to it to be blurred, while inversely, the farther you are from an object, the more will be in focus relative to that object. Playing around with aperture settings on your camera, you will run across how all three aspects of depth of field (aperture, distance to subject, and focal length) can be varied from one f/stop to another — which is why I am including all of this within my answer. It can be confusing, but the more you play around with your camera, the better you will understand it.

  9. Ansell A says:

    The aperture lets in more or less light.
    It also affects the depth of field.

    You need to get yourself a book on basic photography and learn about these things.

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