So you’ve bought your first DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera and you feel like a kid at christmas its all nice and shiny and you want to take photos of every single thing in the house. Some where in them first few photos will most definitely be a photo of the lens cap… admit it we all did it. After ten minutes or so of snapping everything in sight you decide to play with the settings only to be greeted with something like this.
These are your shooting options I’ll cover the rest in later posts but for today im interested in A on the top wheel which stands for Aperture priority on nikon, or AV if you are a canon user sorry other brands im not sure but would imagine them to be similar. So what is your aperture, the easiest way for me to put it is its like an eye for your camera. Its how your camera see’s light travels through the aperture to the cameras sensor creating your photograph.
I’m guessing for a lot of people who have bought their first DSLR its a beginner or enthusiast level camera and came with at least an 18-55 mm kit lens which is probably followed by the numbers 3.5-5.6, this number is your lenses aperture if you zoom the lens right in you will be capable of using an aperture of 3.5 but if you zoom right out this changes to a minimum of 5.6 this is because kit lenses and many mid range lenses have a variable aperture which changes as you zoom. The smaller the number the bigger the aperture. Prime lenses (lenses of a fixed focal length that dont zoom) generally have the a big aperture capability such as my modestly priced Nikkor 50mm 1.8.
When shooting with a wider aperture you get more light into your lens allowing you to shoot in darker conditions, you also get whats know as shallow depth of field or DOF where only a small amount of the picture is sharp and in focus which with the right subject can give a more flattering look. I have’nt quite taken the leap to full manual controls yet so i spend the majority of my time shooting in aperture priority. Here is an example of how aperture affects your depth of field.
Notice how only part of the basket is sharp and in focus and the background is blown right out of focus. this image was shot at 2.8.
If you have got this far and i havent bored you thank you for reading and feel free to comment Thank you.