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Which aperture should I use with my camera?



Aperture is one of the three most important settings you set when shooting, in addition to shutter speed and ISO. It affects both the amount of light that hits the camera sensor and the depth of field of your pictures. Let's look at how to choose the right aperture for a given image.

RELATED: What is Aperture?

Wide Aperture: f / 1
,2-f / 2,8

Any aperture greater than f / 2.8 is really wide. Most fast-prime lenses have an aperture of f / 1.8, although some have an aperture of f / 1.4 or even f / 1.2. A very small handful of rare lenses have even larger apertures like f / 0.95!

These wide openings have two main uses: to let in plenty of light for night sky photography and to create a shallow depth of field for portraits. 19659006]

Which application you really need depends on your lens. A wide aperture wide aperture lens is much better for astrophotography, while a fast telephoto lens is great for great portraits.

Center-Width Apertures: f / 2.8-f / 5.6

Apertures between f / 2.8 and f / 5.6 are still quite wide. They are the largest openings of many zoom lenses. For example, the largest aperture of the Canon 18-55mm Kit Aperture is 1: 3.5 at 18mm and f / 5.6 at 55mm.

The two times you use a shutter in this area are when you want to use the maximum aperture of a zoom lens (either to achieve a shallow depth of field or to shoot at night) or you deliberately stop using a faster lens to get more depth of field and a slightly sharper picture. Almost 1: 1.8 lenses usually take – at least technically speaking – images of better quality 1: 2,8

Center: f / 5,6-f / 11

There are an old photojournalist Maxime: "f / 8 and be there." In other words, if you set your lens to f / 8, you will get an image suitable for a newspaper in almost all situations. The depth of field is so large that pretty much everything is focused in the foreground and in the middle of the screen, while the shutter speed is still so fast that nothing is blurry. That's why I recommend f / 8 for street photography.

The focal lengths between f / 5.6 and f / 11 are all in this category. If you do not use a long telephoto lens, they are narrow enough to give you a deep depth of field while you can shoot your camera in most lighting conditions. If you need a slightly faster shutter speed, go a little closer to f / 5.6; If you want to be sure that most things are in focus, move on to f / 11.

If you are not sure which aperture to use, choose between f / 5.6 and f / 8] Mid-narrow f-stops: f / 11-f / 18

Between f / 11 and f / 18 you have the main narrow openings. Nearly everything is in focus in this area (unless you shoot extremely close subjects). It is also the area in which most lenses perform optically best. They will be the sharpest over the frame, without too much vignetting, distortion or chromatic aberration. So, the use for this area should be pretty clear: you use something between f / 11 and f / 18, if you want to maximize picture quality and depth of field. They are popular for landscape shots. Depending on the lighting situation, you may need to use a tripod to get a good picture.

Narrow Apertures: f / 18-f / 32

In general, you should not use Aperture from Aperture 18 to the minimum aperture of your lens-f / 22 for most lenses, but, in the case of some zoom lenses, it can be around f / 32.

The reasons are quite simple: although the narrowest apertures give you a slightly greater depth of field than f / 16, they do so at the expense of image quality throughout the image. If, for some reason, you do not need maximum depth of field, it is better to use only f / 16.

You may also be tempted to work with a very narrow shutter for long exposures, but you should really invest a neutral density filter. It will give you much more flexibility in the aperture you use, giving you a better look and more creative images.


Aperture controls both the depth of field and how much light hits the sensor. How much of your picture should be in focus and how fast a shutter speed you need should be your two concerns when choosing a shutter.


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