"Who Cares?" Aperture for my Point and Shoot

fatsheep

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In "Understanding Exposure", Bryan Peterson advocates the use of "Who Cares?" apertures for compositions where depth of field is not an issue (everything is at the same distance). He says that "apertures between f/8 and f/11 are so often the sharpest and offer the greatest contrast in exposure".

My camera (signature) has aperture settings from f/3.5-f/13.6 (3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.6, 6.3, 6.8, and 13.6). Notice that there are no apertures between f/8 and f/11 ;). Because of this I decided to test which apertures are the sharpest.

I took some pictures of a colorful map of the US. I then opened them up on my computer at 200% so I could see every little bit of sharpness and contrast that the image had to offer. I did notice some small improvements in contrast with smaller apertures (large F-numbers). I also noticed that the images got a bit sharper as the aperture got smaller until f/6.3 and then it all looked pretty much identical.

However, this is some serious nitpicking because you can hardly tell a difference between the pictures at 1:1. Even after enlarging
to 200%, I had to flip back and forth several times for most apertures.

1. Would I notice more difference in sharpness between apertures on a DSLR (I use a point and shoot)?
2. What would be a "Who Cares?" aperture for my camera (3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.6, 6.3, 6.8, and 13.6)?
3. This is a bit off the subject topic but why doesn't my manual mode allow me to choose apertures that the camera uses in auto mode? If I turn the camera to shutter priority or auto, it will pull out apertures like f/9 and f/11 that would fill in the gap between f/6.8 and f/13.6 nicely. However, the camera doesn't allow you to choose those apertures? This makes no sense to me...
 

nicfargo

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I notice a pretty decent difference between apertures on both my DSLRs. It also makes a big difference if for some reason your pictures need to be printed at large sizes (when working with people, you never know what kind of craziness they might want, and at what size). I'd say 6.3 and 6.8 should be decent for your camera...but only you can know that for sure. You auto/manual mode makes no sense to me either...that's very strange.
 

fightheheathens

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i use a 50mm nikon 1.4 lens, 1.4 is kinda soft, but one would expect that with such a large aperture. after f/4 i notice no improvement in sharpness and that lens is pretty darn sharp. i've enlarged and heavily cropped some photos shot on Ilford panF+ 50 iso (which is about the finest grain B&W film out there) and i ran into grain being a problem before sharpness did...mind you had i printed the full pic it would have bee about a 4X6 foot photo...
 

mrodgers

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3. This is a bit off the subject topic but why doesn't my manual mode allow me to choose apertures that the camera uses in auto mode? If I turn the camera to shutter priority or auto, it will pull out apertures like f/9 and f/11 that would fill in the gap between f/6.8 and f/13.6 nicely. However, the camera doesn't allow you to choose those apertures? This makes no sense to me...
I'm interested in this since, as you know, we have the same camera. I just started leaving it in manual this past weekend. Previous, I've only shot in Program or Aperture modes, with very little Shutter priority mode. I don't think I've put the camera in auto yet.

I haven't noticed in Program, the aperture setting at different numbers than available in manual. In fact, it seems to have always been a constant f/3.5 (largest available) in either P or S modes. On a handful of outdoor shots, I've seen f/5.6 in P mode, but nothing higher than that.
 
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fatsheep

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nicfargo said:
I notice a pretty decent difference between apertures on both my DSLRs. It also makes a big difference if for some reason your pictures need to be printed at large sizes (when working with people, you never know what kind of craziness they might want, and at what size). I'd say 6.3 and 6.8 should be decent for your camera...but only you can know that for sure. You auto/manual mode makes no sense to me either...that's very strange.

I'll run some more comparisons over time but I think you're right: f/5-f/6.8 seems to be a good spot. I definitely notice some softness on examination at wide open. The smallest aperture doesn't look bad though...


I'm interested in this since, as you know, we have the same camera. I just started leaving it in manual this past weekend. Previous, I've only shot in Program or Aperture modes, with very little Shutter priority mode. I don't think I've put the camera in auto yet.

I haven't noticed in Program, the aperture setting at different numbers than available in manual. In fact, it seems to have always been a constant f/3.5 (largest available) in either P or S modes. On a handful of outdoor shots, I've seen f/5.6 in P mode, but nothing higher than that.

Yea, the camera seems to like wide open apertures in programmed modes. However, switch to shutter speed priority and see what apertures are displayed on the LCD in different situations and shutter speeds. I'm holding the camera right now and it's displaying a f/8, f/9, f/10, f/11.2, f/12.6. This fills in the gap between f/6.8 and f/13.6 very nicely and yet they didn't include these f-stops for manual mode? Thanks a lot Fuji. :thumbdown:

Why they go from f/3.5, f/4, f/4.5, f/5, f/5.6, f/6.3, f/6.8, and then jump straight to f/13.6 when there are actually existing apertures (listed above) to cover this gap is beyond me. I think I'll write them about it...
 

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