The aperture setting on your camera refers to how big the hole is that lets light in when you take your shot. It’s that simple:

Different aperture settings

Figure 1: Different aperture settings

Now here’s where it gets confusing. The aperture setting on a camera is usually measured in what are called f-stops. An f-stop is the technical term used for the effect you get when you change the aperture setting. The reason why you can’t just refer to it as an aperture is that different cameras will have different effects depending on the lens they have stuck on the front, the size of the sensor that picks up the image and a whole bunch of other factors.

Now rather than stress over the details, let’s examine what the actual setting means on your camera:

Different f-stops

Figure 2: Common f-stop values on a digital camera

Like in the picture above, quite often, the aperture setting on your camera is written as a fraction with an “f” in place of the numerator. If you think of it as a fraction it might be easier to understand how it works, so if you see an f-stop of “f/2“, it is a larger fraction, and therefore larger aperture, than “f/16“. If your camera doesn’t have the “f” you just have to remember that small number is equal to big aperture.

Finally the big question, what is the effect of changing the Aperture? This leads us to the concept of “Depth of Field

Source of Figure 1 is here.
Source of Figure 2 is here

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