Whats The Best Aperture For Photography . Surprising Results copy

How Aperture Affects The Depth Of Field

On a recent trip out photographing landscape and macro photography, I started thinking about what the best aperture would be to get a sharp photo, front to back.

I found a composition that I liked, set up the camera and got a series of images to access once I got home. Here are the results with my opinions on each. What do you prefer?

 

The setup

To keep it a fair test, here’s what I did;

– All photos were taken on the 5diii with a 100mm F2.8 macro lens
– I didn’t change the focus between photos
– I used the 2-second timer to reduce camera shake
– These are all RAW images, straight out of camera

best aperture f2.8

F2.8

Pros

– Your eye is drawn to the subject

Cons

– Distracting out of focus areas mixed in with the in-focus areas.
– Vignette around the image
– Edge of the mushroom is out of focus

best aperture f4

F4

Pros

– Your eyes get drawn to the subject/mushroom

Cons

– The mushroom isn’t all in focus

best aperture f5.6

F5.6

Pros

– Eye is drawn to the mushroom/subject
– More of the leaf is now in focus
– About 2-3rds of the mushroom is in focus

Cons

– The stalk is out of focus
– Moss is in and out of focus

best aperture f8

F8

Pros

– You can pick out some of the background detail
– The overall image is more contrasty
– Almost getting all the details on the front of the mushroom
– You can see all the details on the leaf

Cons

– The stalk is still soft
– Moss is in and out of focus

best aperture f11

F11

Pros

– Front of the mushroom has more details
– You can pick out more background details
– The back of the mushroom is coming back into focus

Cons

– The Stalk is soft/out of focus
– Moss still not all in focus

best aperture f16

F16

Pros

– Background details coming into focus
– The right-hand side of the mushroom is sharp

Cons

– Back of the mushroom is out of focus
– The stalk is out of focus
– Moss at the front is out of focus

best aperture f22

F22

Pros

– More details are visible in the background – not sharp, but it sets the scene
– The mushroom is sharp
– The stalk is in focus

(This was my favourite photo)

Cons

– Some of the moss is out of focus
– The background is still a bit out of focus – not distractingly so though.

best aperture f32

F32

Pros

– You can pick out all of the details in the background
– All of the mushroom is in focus
– You can pick out all the details on the leaves and mushroom

Cons

– Background details are still soft
– The moss at the front is slightly out of focus

What’s the best aperture for landscape photography?

 

My favourite was F22, it had the right balance of in-focus areas for my taste.

This is going to vary depending on what you’re photographing but I learnt something by doing this. I usually stop at around F11, but maybe I should be experimenting more.

What do you prefer?



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