Understanding Aperture by Michael Ng

Via: disneyphotographyblog.com - 

Understanding Aperture


Hey all! For today’s post, we are going to take a very basic look at what types of results you can get using different apertures, and why knowing what your end result will look like will help you figure out what is best for different scenarios. I am nowhere near knowledgeable enough to give you all the scientific terms about what happens at different apertures and different focal lengths to create these different looks, but I do know what they look like and represent in real life out in the field. So, I am going to show you 5 different photos of the Chip and Dale statuette in the Hub at Magic Kingdom, all taken with the 5D Mark III and the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 lens, which is a favorite of mine.

The first one is at f/8:


Here you can see that both Chip and Dale are in sharp focus while the rest of the image is slightly diffused.

The next one is at f/4:


Notice how you start to see more separation from the statuette to the stroller and railing in the background.

Next up is f/2.8:


Even more separation. It is almost getting to the point where you cannot tell that it is a stroller in the background.

Moving on to f/2:


Here you can see the background fading away to nothing. But, also notice how only one of the chipmunks is in sharp focus now.

Lastly, let’s look at f/1.4:


Now we’re seeing the right chipmunk crisp and sharp, but the left one almost comes across as out of focus, as if the camera focused incorrectly. Also notice though how the stroller is no longer a distraction in the frame whatsoever. There is also a rather heavy vignette, which was not applied by myself in post processing. This is just natural of the lens, especially present on a full frame camera.

So, which one was the right one in this case? For me, it is between the f/4 and the f/2.8 image. With those, you are getting enough separation from the background, creating a nice portrait, but you also don’t get the distraction of having only Chip or Dale in focus. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE the look of the background in the f/1.4 image, but having one half of the statuette out of focus makes it basically not useable. If this were perhaps the statuette of Goofy or Minnie, it would be a different story and I’d be opening that lens up to f/1.4 for sure.

Hopefully this gave you guys a nice understanding (or refresher if you already knew) of how knowing what different apertures look like can help you in the creation of a photo. Once again, these were all shot with the

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

, both of which are available at


. Thanks for reading!!