Learning Aperture With F-Stop Chart

In photography, the aperture is arguably the most important parameter of the camera.

The aperture is the opening in the camera lens that controls the amount of light that passes through the lens to reach the sensor. It is one of three essential parts of the exposure triangle (Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO) that helps us produce properly exposed photos.

But, there is another reason why aperture is regarded as the camera’s most important parameter. It also controls how much of the photographic subject is acceptably sharp and in focus, which is otherwise known as the Depth of Field (DOF).

Since photographers are visual creatures, I put together the F-Stop Chart that graphically illustrates the different aspects of aperture and its relationship with the lens, F-stop, depth of field and light.

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F-Stop Chart Infographic

F-Stop Chart - How to use Aperture in Photography

Aperture

The size of the aperture in the F-Stop Chart does not represent the actual size of the aperture accurately. It is here to help you to visualize the relationship between different apertures. For example, the actual area of the aperture on 50mm lens at f/22 is only 4 square millimeters large. It would be impossible to illustrate such a tiny opening.

Full Stop - 1/2 Stop - 1/3 Stop

Modern digital cameras allow us to change the aperture in a variety of increments, starting from full stop to one-third stop. For example, by changing the f-number from f/8 to f/9 we only reduce the amount of the light that passes through the lens by one-third. The F-Stop Chart displays the relationship between one-stop, half-stop and third stop increments.

Depth of Field (DOF)

Visual representation of the relationship between the Depth of Field (DOF) and the F-Stops. Bigger the aperture the shallower DOF. And as the aperture opening is getting smaller the Depth of Field gets wider.

Light

Bigger the opening more light travel through the lens making our photographs brighter. The smaller opening results in less light and darker photos.

Sweet Spot

The sweet spot of a lens is the aperture value (f-stop number) that is considered to produce optimally sharp photos with the least amount of distortion and fringing and the best sharpness. It varies from one lens model to another.

Each lens is different but ingeneral the aperture range of f/5.6 - f/11 produces the sharpest and the cleanest images.

The sweet spot for my go-to lens Sony 16-70 f4 is f/8.


The sweet spot for my go-to lens Sony 16-70 f4 is f/8

If you want to identify the sweet spot of your lens simply Google the query "Lens Model + Sweet Spot" and you will find the the "sweet spot" of your lens with ease.

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