# Thread: How do you remember aperture sizes?

1. ## How do you remember aperture sizes?

Ok guys, I think this must be a chicken feet question for those who have been in photography long enough. But would you have any advice for a newbie who's trying to digest the different combinations of aperture and shutter speed settings?

Personally I hate it that they have to invert the aperture number against the size. I'm sure there's a very good reason for it but couldn't they have come up with some international standard to make it easier for people to remember it?

Ok I'm not here to go against the grain, but just wonder when you guys started out, did you have any tricks to help remember this quicker? Thanks!

2. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

What do you mean by "remember" aperture size?

Let me also explain why the f/stop number is inverted. F/stop is a measurement of the diameter of your aperture opening in relation to the focal length of a lens. Take for instance a 50mm lens with the aperture f/2. F/2 basically means the aperture opening is 50mm / 2 = 25mm, where f stands for focal length. When you understand this, you begin to realise that it all makes sense, a smaller f/stop number means a larger opening (I hope you remember fractions )

3. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

Originally Posted by simonwoo
Ok guys, I think this must be a chicken feet question for those who have been in photography long enough. But would you have any advice for a newbie who's trying to digest the different combinations of aperture and shutter speed settings?

Personally I hate it that they have to invert the aperture number against the size. I'm sure there's a very good reason for it but couldn't they have come up with some international standard to make it easier for people to remember it?

Ok I'm not here to go against the grain, but just wonder when you guys started out, did you have any tricks to help remember this quicker? Thanks!
yes like what calebk have said, theres no way u define a aperture for 500mm f4 as 120mm and a 600mm f4 as 150mm, it just makes the whole thing more confuse. both are f4, but look, the aperture is different size due to the different in focal length

4. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

well basically the bigger the number e.g. f/11, the smaller the opening of the lens and the less depth of field there is...

the smaller the number e.g f/1.4, the bigger the opening and the more depth of field there is ( unfocused parts of picture will be blur)

senior members plz correct me on my depth of field theory if im wrong...i tend to mix them up... but other than that im sure of the rest...

5. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

Originally Posted by simonwoo
Ok guys, I think this must be a chicken feet question for those who have been in photography long enough. But would you have any advice for a newbie who's trying to digest the different combinations of aperture and shutter speed settings?

Personally I hate it that they have to invert the aperture number against the size. I'm sure there's a very good reason for it but couldn't they have come up with some international standard to make it easier for people to remember it?

Ok I'm not here to go against the grain, but just wonder when you guys started out, did you have any tricks to help remember this quicker? Thanks!
honestly, there isnt a real need to remember it with everything being automated and calculated for u. unless u plan to go old skool and go manual. in any case, its almost double for every alternate aperture. so its like f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8 ...

6. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

Hee thanks Caleb. Yep I read about this but you did make it a bit clearer (Hmm so F/2 at 50mm would be the same size as F/4 at 100mm right? :P)

I just wished they had standardized it to something like 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 etc lah heheh.. Makes it easier for a beginner to pick it up mah :P

7. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

Originally Posted by flipfreak
honestly, there isnt a real need to remember it with everything being automated and calculated for u. unless u plan to go old skool and go manual. in any case, its almost double for every alternate aperture. so its like f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8 ...
I beg to differ. Knowing your aperture helps you in composing your shots, especially when you want to play with the DOF. Aperture is but one of the variables for DOF, but also the easiest to change which doesn't affect the composure.

Samuel

8. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

Originally Posted by simonwoo
Hee thanks Caleb. Yep I read about this but you did make it a bit clearer (Hmm so F/2 at 50mm would be the same size as F/4 at 100mm right? :P)

I just wished they had standardized it to something like 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 etc lah heheh.. Makes it easier for a beginner to pick it up mah :P
As what and ExplorerZ and flipfreak said, you don't remember 50 f/2 and 100 f/4 as being the same because when you meter for a shot, it isn't.

Just let the camera meter and tell you what is and isn't correct exposure.

9. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

Originally Posted by simonwoo
Hee thanks Caleb. Yep I read about this but you did make it a bit clearer (Hmm so F/2 at 50mm would be the same size as F/4 at 100mm right? :P)

I just wished they had standardized it to something like 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 etc lah heheh.. Makes it easier for a beginner to pick it up mah :P
f2 at 50mm and f4 at 100mm? if u talking about physical size, yes same... but when it comes to light intake, the f2 is still "higher". and in the sense of photography, no1 will bother about the physically size other than lens designer or etc.

10. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

Oh yep I wasn't intending to remember the actual size of the aperture but I guess what would be good is that if say I am trying to take a shot now (and assume I have set the shutter speed), it would be good if I could more or less tell what minimum aperture size I would need for that shot not to come out under-exposed. I'm sure you guys with experience would have an idea easily right by having a rough feel of how bright the object looks?

11. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

Originally Posted by simonwoo
Oh yep I wasn't intending to remember the actual size of the aperture but I guess what would be good is that if say I am trying to take a shot now (and assume I have set the shutter speed), it would be good if I could more or less tell what minimum aperture size I would need for that shot not to come out under-exposed. I'm sure you guys with experience would have an idea easily right by having a rough feel of how bright the object looks?
ur eyes need to be damn experienced with exposure in order to meter accurately without the help of the camera metering or lightmeter.
well basically a shooting a 100mm lens at f2 and shooting a 50mm lens at f2 will require the same exposure (same shutter and ISO), provided that the scene lighting is very even throughout.

12. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

Originally Posted by alternatve
I beg to differ. Knowing your aperture helps you in composing your shots, especially when you want to play with the DOF. Aperture is but one of the variables for DOF, but also the easiest to change which doesn't affect the composure.

Samuel
yes it affects the dof but do u need to know what are the numbers and how it affects the dof exactly?

without a dof scale, u cant really tell without snapping a pic first.

13. ## Re: How do you remember aperture sizes?

Originally Posted by maswu
well basically the bigger the number e.g. f/11, the smaller the opening of the lens and the less depth of field there is...

the smaller the number e.g f/1.4, the bigger the opening and the more depth of field there is ( unfocused parts of picture will be blur)

senior members plz correct me on my depth of field theory if im wrong...i tend to mix them up... but other than that im sure of the rest...
1) The bigger the number, e.g. f/11, the smaller the opening of the aperture blades, resulting in a greater depth of field.

2) The smaller the number, e.g. f/1.4, the bigger the opening of the aperture blades, resulting in a shorter depth of field.

Depth of field refers to the distance in front of and behind a focused subject (e.g. a person) that is also in focus.

14. ## Sorry I mean remember F numbers rather than actual size in mm

Oh that's interesting. I would have thought that if at 50mm you are using f2 for the right exposure (given fixed shutter and ISO) then you'll probably need around f4 at 100mm.. Hmm... something for me to digest first :P Thanks!

Originally Posted by ExplorerZ
well basically a shooting a 100mm lens at f2 and shooting a 50mm lens at f2 will require the same exposure (same shutter and ISO), provided that the scene lighting is very even throughout.

15. ## Re: Sorry I mean remember F numbers rather than actual size in mm

Originally Posted by simonwoo
Oh that's interesting. I would have thought that if at 50mm you are using f2 for the right exposure (given fixed shutter and ISO) then you'll probably need around f4 at 100mm.. Hmm... something for me to digest first :P Thanks!
That is why I said don't bother remembering aperture diameters. What if I gave you a strange focal length like 21mm or 58mm? Furthermore, as what I said earlier, it doesn't make any difference to your photography remembering that 50mm f/2 = aperture diameter of 25mm and so on.

Just remember that a smaller f/stop is a larger diameter and will mean shallower DOF, and vice versa.

16. ## Re: Sorry I mean remember F numbers rather than actual size in mm

Actually you know what, the past few days that I've been playing around with my new D60, I actually just look at the LCD display where they actually show a picture of the aperture, so I don't even look at the numbers :P

Thanks for all your responses guys, appreciate your patience especially if I'm just throwing out some quick questions that are floating around my head. So can I say that the most common reason for changing the aperture setting would be to create different DOF, ie. how blur or clear you want the background to be?

17. ## Re: Sorry I mean remember F numbers rather than actual size in mm

Originally Posted by simonwoo
So can I say that the most common reason for changing the aperture setting would be to create different DOF, ie. how blur or clear you want the background to be?
Yup, or to modify shutter speed for the same metering results.

18. ## Re: Sorry I mean remember F numbers rather than actual size in mm

Originally Posted by simonwoo
Actually you know what, the past few days that I've been playing around with my new D60, I actually just look at the LCD display where they actually show a picture of the aperture
The LCD does show a picture of the aperture? The aperture is not only about changing of DOF. Together with the shutter setting, they determine the amount of light you are letting in.

19. ## Re: Sorry I mean remember F numbers rather than actual size in mm

Yep I never knew camera technology is so cool nowadays until I just got my D60

Hee for now I'm playing with one component at a time, so playing with S and A modes to experiment with the different combinations. But mainly the camera will change the rest to ensure proper exposure. And yep that's basically why I started this thread cos eventually I'm sure I would want to play with the M mode and that's where I would have to have some idea what kind of combinations I can play with to get what kind of different desired results, right?

Originally Posted by ndroo
The LCD does show a picture of the aperture? The aperture is not only about changing of DOF. Together with the shutter setting, they determine the amount of light you are letting in.

20. ## Re: Sorry I mean remember F numbers rather than actual size in mm

Originally Posted by simonwoo
Yep I never knew camera technology is so cool nowadays until I just got my D60

Hee for now I'm playing with one component at a time, so playing with S and A modes to experiment with the different combinations. But mainly the camera will change the rest to ensure proper exposure. And yep that's basically why I started this thread cos eventually I'm sure I would want to play with the M mode and that's where I would have to have some idea what kind of combinations I can play with to get what kind of different desired results, right?
aperture, shutter... etc have been there for decades or probably centuries...

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