Jumpin right in with my 1st question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Latina, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. Latina

    Latina TPF Noob!

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    Can someone explain f stops to me? I was told I need to throw out everything I know about math (Which isn't much, I suck at math:blushing:)...But I once thought all I had to do was buy a prof camera, point, focus and shoot and the camera would do it all for me...but I am learning this is NOT the case, and that's exciting, I actually get a say in how my camera takes this shot for me...but alas f stops and all that other lingo has me a lil stumped...any tips on how I can better understand? Maybe a website or book?

    TIA
     
  2. Latina

    Latina TPF Noob!

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    P.S. I'm a quick study, so I promise my questions wont always be so embryonic. lol.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome aboard.

    Some of these things are best explained...after you have a general idea.
    For example, I'm sure the wikipedia page for 'Aperture' or 'F-stop' has a very good explanation with pictures etc.

    Then when you have read a bit and have some questions that aren't so general...we can be of much more help.

    A good book seems to be 'Understanding Exposure' by Brian Peterson.

    A quick explanation: Aperture is the hole in the lens though which the light travels. It is usually adjustable (just like the iris of our eyes).
    F-stop is the numerical value that we assign to the size of that aperture (in relation to focal length).

    The F number is a ratio between the focal length and the aperture. So for an F number of F2, the focal length is twice as long as the aperture is wide.

    Thus, a low F number means a large aperture and a high F number means a smaller aperture.

    F-stops are the markers on the scale. Each F-stop is twice (or half) as much light as the previous F-stop. It's not a linear numerical scale.

    Look up F-stop scale and you will find a list of F-stops and see for yourself.
     
  4. Latina

    Latina TPF Noob!

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    THANX so much...that's the 2nd time I've heard of that book, I will purchase it today!

    I understand about aperture, but it's the high and low value of the f stop that gets me...I get confused. :er:
     
  5. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    An "f/stop" is a mechanism for measuring the size of a lens opening. In theory, you want the physical area but that would work only if all lenses had the same focal length AND all cameras had the same size film/sensor. An f/stop includes physical area but also includes the other factors. Trust me here - you don't want to know the actual math.

    The end result is that the numbers appear to go backwards. A smaller number means a larger opening. You can remind yourself of that whenever you write the number the correct way. For example, a rather large opening is f/1.4. You'll notice that it's a fraction with the number on the bottom.

    "Standard" f/stops are 1.4, 2.0, 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, etc. As you decrease the lens opening from one "stop" to the next "stop," you halve the volume of light. Similarly, if you increase the opening one "stop," you double the volume of light.

    Speaking of light, it's actually measured in lumens but, when thinking of f/stops, it's best to think of gallons and consider the f/stop to be hose diameter and the shutter speed to be the time that the fawcet remains open.
     
  6. Latina

    Latina TPF Noob!

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    Thank u, this really helped me understand it, I'm seriously gonna write this down and take it with me where ever I go as sort of a guideline.:D
     
  7. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle TPF Noob!

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    good stuff.
     

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