What aperture to select for landscape?


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Sep 9, 2007
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#1
hi,

I shot some night scenes recently, and not being sure what aperture value to choose, I shot in Landscape and P mode.

I've read in Popular photography(June 07) suggesting a f/11 aperture to shoot landscape. Is this a good aperture value to use for general purpose, or should is it pertaining only to certain lens?

I'm a bit confused because by right, to have the most detail in the whole picture, we should select the deepest depth of field(like f/22?), as long as we're using a tripod, isn't it so?

Thanks
 

night86mare

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#2
no. beyond a certain small aperture, diffraction comes into play, which causes the image to become "soft"
you can google this, there is an article in wikipedia explaining what diffraction is

f/11 is a good aperture because it usually has sufficient dof, in fact, f/8 and beyond is good enough, but another reason why f/11 is good is because it is usually a "sharp" aperture where most lens perform reasonably well in terms of sharpness then, given that all other important conditions are favourable

from experience beyond f/16 diffraction will cause image quality to degrade yeps
 

giantcanopy

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Feb 11, 2007
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#3
Nightmare has summed it nicely.

In addition, different lenses might have their own characteristics.
After reading test reviews of my 12-24mm, i came to conclusion that it holds out very well at f11 at all apertures, f16 is still good, but f22 the diffraction became abit obvious.

Ryan
 

xunjas

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#4
for landscapes would be f/11.. for landscape @ nite without triopod, i would bump up the iso and use bigger aperture.
 

ykia

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#5
If you wish to get the "starburst" effect on your night shots, then you might have to go higher (F/13~F/22).
 

night86mare

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#6
If you wish to get the "starburst" effect on your night shots, then you might have to go higher (F/13~F/22).
not just night shots - in daytime when you wish to make the sun into a star, instead of a big flat pancake, especially in situations where it is relatively strong, but not overpowering, you can use a small aperture as well
 

Sep 9, 2007
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#7
Thanks for the advice guys!

Everyone is so willing to help newbies like me :)
 

cantaresg

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#8
If you read books on photography, they'd suggest the smallest possible aperture. I think in the past, when films are used, people are not so sensitive to effects of diffraction. However, with digital cams, people usually do pixel peeping, and effects arising from diffraction becomes obvious. If you wish to take pictures at a smaller size, it may be alright to go for a smaller aperture? Personally I have not tried anything more than f/16...
 

ykia

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#9
Yup! And if you need to make the sea/river/waterfall look "silky", you need a really sloow shutter speed, thus forcing you to have a small aperture.

not just night shots - in daytime when you wish to make the sun into a star, instead of a big flat pancake, especially in situations where it is relatively strong, but not overpowering, you can use a small aperture as well
 

attap seed

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#10
actually ppl use small aperture cus in theory, it gives greater depth of field (cus the "standard" effect of landscape is to ve all the elements sharp).

however, if u are shooting a scene w the lens focused at infinity, then, regardless of aperture, everything will be in focus. its then, advisable to stop down to F8-11 where a lens is usually the sharpest.

even smaller aperture is needed if a fore-ground is included (usually associated w wide angle lens).

correct me if i am wrong :).
 

xunjas

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#11
actually ppl use small aperture cus in theory, it gives greater depth of field (cus the "standard" effect of landscape is to ve all the elements sharp).

however, if u are shooting a scene w the lens focused at infinity, then, regardless of aperture, everything will be in focus. its then, advisable to stop down to F8-11 where a lens is usually the sharpest.

even smaller aperture is needed if a fore-ground is included (usually associated w wide angle lens).

correct me if i am wrong :).
small aperture to achieve a wide depth of field and allow elements near n far to look sharp enough is correct =)
 

Kit

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#12
small aperture to achieve a wide depth of field and allow elements near n far to look sharp enough is correct =)
Half correct. To maximise the DOF of your lenses, you not only have to consider the aperture used but also the distance from the camera that the lens is focussed on. That's what people called Hyper Distance Focussing.
 

xunjas

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Half correct. To maximise the DOF of your lenses, you not only have to consider the aperture used but also the distance from the camera that the lens is focussed on. That's what people called Hyper Distance Focussing.
Thanks for sharing. We should not too high aperture right?
 

rgborj

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#14
Wow! this is great knowledge sharing.. I'm learning a lot here.

Thanks! ;)
 

Jul 19, 2007
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#15
depends on the focal length and object to sensor distance

ive used 12mm at f/4 (wide open) and the whole image was sharp, as long as focus was anything 1m to infinity
 

Kit

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#18
Thanks for sharing. We should not too high aperture right?
No, the aperture to use is largely dependent on the amount of foreground you want to be in focus. This will work together with the focussing distance. Its much more easier to practice this with prime lenses which the distance scale will tell you everything you need to know.

In general, with hyper distance focussing, the smaller the aperture you use, the nearer the hyper distance(distance away from the camera which the lens is focussed on) will be, given you deeper DOF. Objects in the background will also be in focussed with the use of the small aperture.
 

F2point8

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#20
Pardon me for asking this quite stupid question. When you guys said photos are sharpest at f8 to f11, then why we still buy f2.8 constant aperture lens which costs much more? Kind of confusing???? I know f2.8 is wide open and can be used under low light condition. Beside that any other reason to pay more??
 

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