When to Use F/8 to F/11
Does it really matter what aperture one uses? Yes and No (-: Let me explain.
For blurred background you control the depth of field by using wide apertures, let’s say anything below f/5 (Depending on the lens you own.). Shallow depth of field is a wonderful way for making great pictures by drawing attention or isolating a specific aspect of the image you are shooting. To increase the effect it helps to maximize zoom (Try 150mm to 200mm) and move closer to your subject.
The opposite is true if you want to increase the depth of field. Landscape situations where you have different focus ranges to consider you would use high f-stops in the range of f/16 or f/22. This helps keep objects in both the foreground and background in focus.
Use f/8 – f/11 for Sharpness & Best Contrast
Today, I’m focusing on the area between the blurred background effect (F/3.5 for example.) and the all-inclusive landscape shot (F/16 or greater.). When depth of field isn’t a concern you could use any f/stop you wanted, but to get the best contrast and sharpness, use an aperture between f/8 to f/11.
All of the following colorful images were shot using my Nikon D300 in manual mode, with f/stops of f/9 or f/11. Notice that depth of field wasn’t an issue.
Situations to use f/8 – f/11: Shooting full frame fall leaves on the ground. Taking a portrait of a friend against a solid wall or like the image below, a single flower against a solid background (Textured effect added in post processing.). In these situations try using f/8 to f/11 when everything in the camera frame is at the same focus distance.
Go out and find situations where the depth of field is not a concern and start using an aperture between f/8 – f/11. Of course, you need to either adjust your camera to shoot in “A” (Aperture mode) or
“M” manual mode.
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