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Aperture, a term that defines your photography.

A habit of pressing and releasing the clicky shutter button for a numerous round to capture the perfection is termed to be photography. No, I am talking of every device capable of taking photos and not just throwing arrows to only limited groups of DSLRs. Every person behind the lens never come in the frame but builds the frame with his/her creative mind leaving behind his/her memory(ies) kept hidden.

Simplifying the needs of a daily aspiring engineer results to dip in photography. The term if heard by parents during the vital post period of 12th, may directly screw your rising aspiration at one shot. No, I ain’t referring it universally but the majority dominate in similar execution to the youths. Anyways, let’s get back to our fine discussion about aperture now. The concept that actually moderates the amount or intensity of light hitting the sensor plane.

Human and animal eye have an inbuilt functionality of accommodation to suite the lighting condition around it pretty swiftly. Move from sunshine to an isolated dark room and vice versa, after couple of minutes to see work it. Notice how much time our eyes’ iris take to widen to allow entrance of extra light and later when under sun, shrinks to reject the added intensity. Basically, it balances the light reaching our delicate retina at every second it operates. Hardly, the iris fails to perform but if in case, may affect or can even damage the retina.

Technical Explanation:

We all have encountered holes, point space or mini passage. Yes, the ones used by mice, rats are also perfect examples of such. In cameras for the light to pass through, a small hole is sufficient for most. For the adjustability and total control over the mechanism, a fine gate called iris is used. Wider the opening, more the amount of light enters and vice versa. In practice, we have defined it as f/stop or aperture count for precise usage. 

different aperture

Depending upon the size of the image processing sensor, a maximum diameter opening is made.  Aperture count (or f/stop) is the mathematical ratio between lens focal length and diameter of aperture. 

Aperture Count calculation

There is a proportion of 21/2 (or square root of 2) in aperture diameter when amount of light is doubled or halved at a particular focal length.  

Basically, remember that lower the f/stop, higher the amount of light enters the film or sensor. Stops number go as f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22….. . A shift to next lower stop doubles the amount of light and shift to next higher halves. E.g. f/1.4 lets in double the light than f/2 and 4 times more than f/2.8. Similarly, in f/8 you get half the light of f/5.6 and 1/4th of f/4. 

Amount of light entering is same in every lens when f/stop is same. Some lens may have larger or smaller focal length but that is already included in f/stop calculation. Therefore, they show the same phenomenon at same f/stop or aperture count.

Effects of Aperture:

DSLR guys here are the experts to explain us the use. No rocket science, no complexation or complications exist to solve.  Few real-life effects that generally can be developed by aperture are as follows:

  • Bokeh Effect: The shallow depth of field we all admire and love to present is only because of aperture. Wider the aperture i.e. lower the count results high in bokeh. The background behind tend to gain a shallow depth or blurriness which looks pretty soft. Subject needs to be in good focus for best clarity. The game of bokeh is basically a combination of wide aperture and sharp focus.
  • Night Photography: Lower aperture count allows more light to enter the lens. Thereafter, camera sensor is able to differentiate pixels even during low light situation effectively. While post-processing you’re least likely to counter the noise and can have wide options of editing. Sharp and smooth photos of night at sea shores is among the most famous situations of night photography.
  • Fast Motion Capture: High amount of light lets you capture shots at high shutter speeds. Speedy motions could be framed into steals. Capturing photos at higher shutter speeds in good lighting condition is always a fun. Shots alway come out to be sharp and detailed. 
  • Slow Motion Videography: Like the above point, video at higher frames i.e. ultra-smooth or slow-motion videography is possible only with very wide aperture. Sometimes manufactures even neglect aperture and use only fixed wide opening in above 1000 fps cameras as their role obsolete.
high shutter speed
High Shutter Speed Photography at Wide Aperture

Disadvantages of Aperture:

Most of you won’t be familiar with the side or ill-effects of wide aperture but yes, they exist, though only few.

  • Overexposure: This is a common scenario for beginners who tend to experiment with exposure of their gadget. Often, they aren’t careful enough about the harm they doing to the delicate little image sensor. Remember that light is a form of energy which needs absorption for utilisation by the chip. Anything in extra can be omitted only up to certain capacity. Beyond the range may led to destruction of the front panel which you might not even notice at first. To make it useful for long term career, always use quality filters.
  • Instability: When you go for a frame intensive shot, aperture might affect your video stability. For that, fixed aperture or aperture-less lens are always a recommendation.
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