The Aperture Mode – What is an F-Stop
I used to study IT and personally do not like when my camera just does everything for me. To me a camera is a little computer that eventually takes pictures. And I want to have control over what I am doing.
When I use my camera, there are 5 settings that I pretty often (sometimes always) use for my landscape photos
– Aperture priority mode setting
– F-Stop 7.1 and up
– ISO 100 (Or lowest on the camera)
– Bracketing mode
– RAW Image format
The Aperture Priority Mode on the camera is a mode that is semi-automatic. Usually I choose for landscapes an F-Stop 7.1 and up so I know that everything is more or less pretty sharp in the photo. The aperture priority mode simply calculates the corresponding shutter release speed.
The higher the F-Stop number is the less light will be allowed thru the lens so maybe there is a too long shutter speed, so you will be unable to shoot handheld. This is the reason for me to pack always a tripod (see other posts in this blog) or if there is no tripod increase the ISO value until there is a shutter speed lower than 1/60 sec. I never increase the ISO value if I have a tripod with me; increasing the ISO will also increase the grain in the picture. Of course there are several ways in post processing on how to remove the grain, but I will do not like to do that.
Since I usually shoot in bracketing mode, there will be also at least an overexposed image, so the shutter speed will drop at least at one of the images (depending on your camera settings). Because of the choice of the aperture priority mode and the bracketing mode together, the camera will stay at the chosen F-Stop and calculate the shutter speed for all the images taken (min 3 photos).
To understand what the F-Stop really does, just take a picture with the largest aperture, meaning lowest number. If you compare the photos with the ones taken at a higher number, you will see how the blurry Background was. If you go now to the opposite direction with your aperture, you will get a pretty much sharpen photo as a result.
With those settings and the use of a tripod I do only have to deal with the F-Stop and not so much with all the rest, ISO and shutter speed. To me, ISO, shutter speed and F-Stop are the magical triangle to make a perfect Picture in the first place.
In general I would say that if you do landscape photography the F-Stop is 9 or 11 are good and if you go for portraits, I most often use the lowest number of F-Stop there is. But, there is no such thing as a general rule for all what I am writing. I keep playing with the camera, like a little boy. Just change the settings and see what it does to your picture! Not just keep playing with your camera, also keep playing with all the rest, like the post processing – you may be finding settings that I do not know that make your picture unique!