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Old 09-25-2007   #1
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Default Aperture...

Now I know all about aperture and how it works, BUT, I was wondering about the process of choosing an aperture for a specific shot?

How do you go about choosing an aperture for say, a landscape...now when I shoot a landscape I try and get the aperture above 15 for maximum sharpness throughout the shot...BUT, can it be benificial to have an aper. of 10?

Just wondering about the thought process in choosing an aper.?

Garrentee

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Old 09-25-2007   #2
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Default Re: Aperture...

When selecting my aperture I am thinking: Depth of Field - how much in front & back of the subject do I want to have remain in focus?
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Old 09-25-2007   #3
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I rarely think aperture alone. This is particularly true today with many cameras having limited ranges to their aperture settings and many sensors offering rather forgivingingly large depth-of-field.
So here are some of my thoughts.

Different lenses are more or less critical as to their effects on DOF. So step one is to select the optimum lens for your subject and distance. Whenever possible, use a relatively shorter FL lens and walk forward to crop.

Step 2 is to make certain that you can use your lens with sufficient shutter speed to not generate unwanted motion blur.
So, consider a tripod whenever possible. This is a key issue, e.g. if the landscape has a waterfall, you may want to select your shutter speed before you optimize your aperture.

Step 3 is to remember to expose for details in your shadows while trying to not wipe out your highlights. This requires experience, knowing your equipment, knowing your subject and practice. Whenever possible and time permits, consider bracketing your exposure. Please remember that as a general rule-of-thumb, overexposure with a digital camera is generally preferred to underexposure. Pretend your exposure controil approaches the criticality of exposure control of good transparency film where accuracy makes or breaks the image quality.

Finally, when all else fails or you have limited choices, try to keep your aperture with most lenses between f=5.6 and f=11. Rarely will there be an advantage to achieving DOF effects in a landscape outside of this aperture range.

Oh yes, and whatever you do remember that rules do not work here, only you can make the photograph. Each image is different.

Tom
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Old 09-25-2007   #4
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Default Re: Aperture...

Naturalist, thanks for your reply...I understand the CONCEPT of DOF and APERTURE...I guess what Im trying to say is there much of a difference between f18 and f22 and how do you go about choosing one or the other!!?
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Old 09-25-2007   #5
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Default Re: Aperture...

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Originally Posted by Tom Swaman View Post
Finally, when all else fails or you have limited choices, try to keep your aperture with most lenses between f=5.6 and f=11. Rarely will there be an advantage to achieving DOF effects in a landscape outside of this aperture range.

Tom

Tom thanks for your detailed explanation...This explains what I was asking about best I think...I might not have explained my question very well but I think you nailed it with this last part!!
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Old 09-25-2007   #6
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Look up DOF in a Table for a given lens or apply a DOF calculator and then you can be the judge. When in doubt remember the rule that 1/3 in front and 2/3 behind the distance of your focal setting ought to appear in relatively sharp focus with the lens of your choice.

At apertures as amall as say f=18 to f=22 or pelow, your picture quality can deteriorate irrespective of DOF due principally to excessive diffraction.

Tom
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Old 09-25-2007   #7
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Default Re: Aperture...

Everything you want to know about depth of field and weren't afraid to ask: Hyperfocal Distance and Depth of Field Calculator - DOFMaster.
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Old 09-25-2007   #8
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Default Re: Aperture...

Quote:
Originally Posted by garrentee View Post

How do you go about choosing an aperture for say, a landscape...now when I shoot a landscape I try and get the aperture above 15 for maximum sharpness throughout the shot...BUT, can it be benificial to have an aper. of 10?
Some of the solution depends on the lens. With my 10-22 if I want the sharpest image with the deepest DOF I will choose f/7.1. Diffraction sets in after that starting at f/8. By f/16 it is ugly. The thing is, you don't really need a smaller aperture than f/7.1 at 10mm on a 1.6x crop body. With a hyperfocal solution of 2.5' for a focal point, everything from 1.25' to infinity will be in focus. That is landscape sharp for a close subject and a broad sweeping background.

A different lens will react differently though so you have to take that into consideration. My 60mm lens has a sweet spot of f/11 before diffraction but I can get away with a bit smaller aperture is I absolutely need it. It will not get near the DOF of the 10-22 range but that is to be expected. Of course sometimes it is pleasing to shoot wide open or just slightly stopped down for a sharp subject and a creamy background.

Those DOF charts are great. They tell the tale of what you can expect.
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Old 09-25-2007   #9
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Default Re: Aperture...

Garrentee,

Glad to try to help. What I really do not know is wjhat kind of a camera/viewfinder/ focusing system you are using/ The accuracy of what is stated here applies mostly to a system capable of critical focus on a single plane, either a curved plane like a normal lens or a flat plane like that of a high quality macro lens.

Tom
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Old 09-25-2007   #10
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Default Re: Aperture...

Thanks all for your time...

Tom I have a 350d, with a 28-70 sigma which I use for most all my shots...I also have a 50mm 1.8 which is mainly used for inside low light shooting...


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