‘WTF’ IS ‘F-STOP’ IN DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY?

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So, if you are new to the digital photography then you might be wondering, “WTF is ‘F-stop’?” F-stop is the control point for Aperture in Digital Cameras. It basically affects the Depth of Field, when you take picture. Now the question is now what is Depth of Field? Depth of filed determines the sharpness in the photo or picture. I feel you must have seen many pictures where only single subject or small part of the picture is in sharp focus and rest is blurred or out of focus. Similarly there are certain pictures, where both the foreground and background are in sharp focus. If you haven’t noticed, then look at the two pictures below. One on the left side has only foreground flowers in sharp focus and rest of the flowers in background are blurred or out of focus. The image on the right side on the other hand, has everything in sharp focus from foreground to background. All the flowers as well as sky or tree all are sharp.                           

spring flower fields
F-5.6, Shutter Speed 1/125 ISO 100
girl child walking into flower fields
F-11, Shutter Speed 1/125 ISO 100

So the area which is in sharp focus is called depth of field and the same is controlled by “F-stop” or F-number in your camera. Small ‘F-number’ like f-1.8 is called wider aperture, which gives shallow depth of filed and makes small part of the picture in focus by blurring the background. Whereas the Big ‘F-number’ like f-22 is called Narrow aperture, which makes everything in the picture in sharp focus and is called wider depth of filed. Now the question is why do I need different ‘F-stops’? The answer is simple to create a wow factor in the picture or to give creative touch to the picture F-stop is indispensable tool. Like example in case of creating impactful Portraiture shots, you need to keep the focus on the subject by blurring the background, which can be easily done by using smallest ‘F-number’ available in your camera. If you are having a DSLR camera, in that case the lens which came along with your lens, which is also called kit lens, like 18-55mm has minimum f-3.5 or f-4.5. You can use that to create wonderful portrait or still life shots. But if you have purchase a prime lens like 50mm or 35mm which are also called Nifty-Fifty due to their quality and affordable price, has more wider aperture of f-1.8, which are capable of blurring the background even further. Look in the example below. In the picture on the Left side, the same is shot with 18-55 mm lens at f-5.0, Shutter Speed 1/13 ISO 200 and picture on the Right side, has been shot by 50 mm prime lens at f-1.8, Shutter Speed 1/3200 ISO 100  which has blurred the background even further, giving more pleasant result.    

 f-5.0, Shutter Speed 1/13 ISO 200
f-5.0, Shutter Speed 1/13 ISO 200
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f-1.8, Shutter Speed 1/3200 ISO 100

The only limitation these prime 50 mm or 35 mm lens have is that they are of fixed focal length compared to your kit lens, like 18-55 mm, which means you don’t have zoom feature and you have to use your steps to composed the photo. This is great for learning or mastering the composition as zoom lenses tend to make you lazy. One of the reasons, for these prime lenses, to be cheaper is that they don’t have zoom feature and have fixed focal length. Similarly for the Landscape shots, narrow aperture like f-11-22  is indispensable to keep everything in focus, unless you want the result to be otherwise. Thanks for Reading! If you like please consider sharing it! Follow me on Twitter & Facebook & Other Platforms https://twitter.com/harshvardhanart https://facebook.com/harshartography Contact Me harshvardhanroy@gmail.com https://aboutme.com/harshvardhanart https://harshvardhanart.tumblr.com https://youtube.com/user/harshvardhanroy

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