(Last Updated On: April 2, 2019)


The aperture is built inside each lens and it controls the light entering a camera.  It’s a lot like the shades on a window control the light. Charles Bryant created a great video clip that will teach you the basic principles of aperture.

Examples of Different Apertures

Stopped down Aperture
“Stopped down” f16 or f22
Optimum Aperture
“Optimum” f8 or f11
Wide Open Aperture
“Wide open” f2.8 to f4.5

Measuring Aperture

Aperture StopsAperture is measured in f stops. The larger the number under the f, the smaller the hole (aperture) and the less light that comes in.


A wide open aperture results in a shallow depth of field whereas a smaller aperture results in a great depth of field. If you want to know why this is see our lesson on the Physics of Depth of Field. If you’re interested in knowing what the “f” is about in all the aperture settings see our lesson on “Aperture F Number“.


  1. Hi I have been reading a bit on aperture i have a fairly old soligor tele-photo/macro lens which has it’s own aperture settings asweel as my camera i was just wondering which set of apeture controls i should use or should i use both ?

  2. Hi,

    I guess f stands for the focal length of the camera lens. Which means i can open the camera aperture to a max of f/1.4

    Pls. correct me if i am wrong here..i am new to this photography thing and learning through your website.
    Really nice and easy way of explanation which is clear to a layman.

    Good Work. I am really enjoying it and recommending it even to my friends who are interested in photography.


  3. I’m interested in buying DSLR camera. From your lessons (very helpful, thank you) it seems like the reason my cheap digital camera photos are so “bad in quality” is because the aperture is not adjusted correctly. Reading through your lesson about aperture, it explains what the aperture is for, and how it should be adjusted, yet it does not explain how to adjust the aperture, or if it is even adjustable. Do I need to look for a camera that has a wide range of aperture settings? Do all cameras have the same range of settings?


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