Sunday, December 27, 2009

Aperture / F-Stop

Ok, I have talked about Depth of Field...one of the many settings in a camera that affects depth of field is aperture. Or F-Stop (focal ratio) as it can be called; which in the simplest terms is the hole/opening in which light goes through. Just like our eyes dilate to adjust to lighting conditions, the aperture blades of a lens can do the same thing. Only we have to make those adjustments in the lens within the camera.


aperture_diagram1




Aperture effects depth of field and shutter speed. The more light that can come through the lens the higher your shutter speed will be and the shorter your depth of field will be. The less light that comes through the lens the greater depth of field you will have and the slower your shutter speed will be.




Some typical shooting conditions and how I would set up the camera:


High school gyms actually have really bad lighting and can get tricky. I would shoot in Shutter Priority to maintain the shutter speed as the aperture will stay as wide open as it needs to be especially for night games.


Sporting events:


Basketball/Volleyball/Wrestling
ISO: 400-800 I would push to 3200 when I couldn’t use flash
Shutter: 1/250th , no less than 1/125th
F-Stop: 2.8
Lens: 80-200mm f2.8, 17-55mm f2.8
Flash: TTL (could only be used in basketball and wrestling)


Night Games: Football/Soccer
ISO: 400-800 I would push to 3200 when I couldn’t use flash
Shutter: 1/250th
F-Stop: 2.8
Lenses: 300mm f2.8, 80-200mm f2.8
Flash: None


Day Games: Soccer/Football/Track/Baseball
ISO: 200
Shutter: 1/500th
F-stop: f 2.8-4
Lenses: 80-200mm f2.8, 17-55mm f2.8
Flash: None


These are typical results when using Pro Glass (any lens that has an F-stop of f2.8 or lower). Obviously, things can change and having the flexibility as a photographer is needed. When I first began shooting, everything was manual. There was no “Auto” anything. That experience taught me what I could do with a camera and lens and how to push the envelope.


Given that most people can not afford the pro glass, and have lenses that have variable aperture, you will be limited. By increasing the ISO though, you may get the results you desire, within the limits of the lens you are using.




Landscapes/Artistic Photography


This is and would be considered user preference; based on what you as a photographer likes. What you subject is. Having shallow DOF or a large DOF. The lighting or lack there of. My general rule of thumb, largest file, lowest ISO possible, Adobe RGB, and RAW + jpeg


Everything else is up for change, to affect the final image. This weekend, I went to Hollywood to shoot night shots using CLS and shutter speeds at 1/20th to 1/8th of a second for an album cover. I used the lights in Hollywood to help light my subject as much as possible and had an SB-800 as a wireless light to light the face.


The results came out pretty amazing and can’t wait to begin working on the Album Cover Design. (fyi, I have not only 15+ years as a photographer, but have also worked as a graphic designer/illustrator for many years professionally)




I have always thought and have been taught; it’s not the camera but the glass that is more important.

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