What is Aperture?
Literally, aperture means opening, a crack, hole, gap, space, slit or orifice. However, when it comes to photography, aperture means a bit different. Photography describes aperture as to the amount of light a camera admits. A camera man can adjust the aperture manually. On the other hand, a camera can also adjust aperture automatically. In the study of photography, discussions about aperture are included at the very first stage of the subject. This is due to the reason that aperture highly affects the quality of the final photograph.
Aperture is typically assigned with a number. Numbers like ’16’ or ‘1.8’ are some examples representing the aperture of a camera. These numbers are called f-stops or stops, which are series of increments. When reading the aperture, a larger number represents a narrower opening and vice versa. Aperture is written with an f at the beginning followed by a slash and number. As for example, ‘f/1.4’ is the width of the aperture. If an aperture reads f/2, then it means the width of the opening is wider than that of f/4.
When looking or planning to purchase a camera, aperture is an important factor to look for. When a camera is on sale, buyers will typically notice that aperture is given along with other specifications. Aperture gives photographers an idea on the camera’s capabilities. Experienced photographers will obviously pick a camera with a wider aperture. Photographers consider a camera with a wider aperture more advantageous and more flexible. On the other hand, ‘point and shoot’ cameras can bring frustration to a photographer since such cameras typically have only one aperture setting.
After learning what aperture is, maybe you might be wondering about the exact reason why it is so important. The very basic reason is the most obvious one ‘“ the opening. The wider the opening the more light a camera permits to enter its lens. This means a shorter exposure time is needed. However, for a deeper reason, the depth of field is also affected by the aperture. This means that focusing on a subject is directly affected by the aperture. If a photographer wants a clearer or greater depth of field, the aperture must be adjusted to a narrow setting. However, if a photographer wants a shallower depth of field, the aperture must be adjusted to a wider setting.
Aperture has an effect on shooting at moving subjects. The best example to explain the essence of aperture is to take a runner as a subject. If a photographer wants to get a clear shot of the runner, the aperture must set to wider setting. This allows less exposure since more light is coming in and the camera needs to shoot faster since the subject is moving. The result will be a clear shot to the runner but the background will be blurred since there is a shallow depth of field.
On the other hand, the opposite result happens when the aperture is set to a narrow setting. The result will be a clear background but the moving subject will be blurred. This is due to the reason that the subject moves while the film was being exposed.