Understanding Aperture in 97 Seconds

97 seconds is all it will take for host Alan Griffith to explain how aperture works in your DSLR camera.  Also, take a look at his previous video How to use AV mode on your Canon Rebel in 86 Seconds.

Episode Transcript

Hello, and welcome to sub150, the show that teaches you how to do something in 150 seconds or less.  In the first episode in this series, I showed you how to set your camera in AV mode to achieve a shallow depth of field in your image.  In this video, I am going to provide you with a little more detail on how the aperture in your lens actually works.  Let’s start the clock.

When you place your camera into AV, or Aperture Value mode, you are controlling one of three exposure settings on your camera.  The other two, shutter speed and ISO will be explored in other videos in this series.  But for now, let’s start the clock and learn more about aperture.

Your aperture value controls two major elements:  the amount of light coming into your camera and the depth of field or the focal distance between the nearest and furthest objects.

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Aperture is measured in f stops.  The lower the number, the wider open your aperture is.
Here are some shots taken today.  The first photo was taken at f1.8 and the second at f?.  

You will notice that the depth of field is much more shallow in the first photo.
Although Aperture has an impact on overall exposure, we will not concern ourself with that in this video because AV mode allows you to adjust aperture while the camera will adjust all other exposure settings to ensure that your image is properly exposed.

Take a look inside this 50 mm lens to see how Aperture works.  This is the aperture.  When you change your f-stop setting, the aperture adjusts like so.  Currently the aperture in the lens is set to the minimum setting of f22.  The opening of the lens is very small.  This lets in less light allows you to focus over a broader range.

Now I will open the aperture up to a setting of f1.8.  This lets much more light into the camera and allows you shoot that shallow depth of field effect that we are trying to obtain.
Once you start to learn how to operate your camera you will find that you will be shooting much less in Automatic mode and that you will favour AV, TV, P mode, or the daunting full manual mode.  All of these modes will be explored in other videos in this series.

All right, stop the clock.  As promised, that is understanding aperture in 150 seconds or less.  Thanks for watching sub150.  Check out my other videos in this series and don’t forget to Like, share, and subscribe.

How to use AV Mode on your Canon Rebel in 86 Seconds

Episode Transcript

Hello, and welcome to sub150, the show that teaches you stuff in 150 seconds or less.  Today, I am in Bud Miller Park in Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada at the site of the world’s largest sundial, and I am going to show you how to use AV mode on your Canon Rebel t5i or t6i.

Before we start the clock for our practical demo, there are a few things you should know.  AV mode is a standard feature of most DSLR cameras.  

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You have probably seen many a photograph with a sharply focused subject in the foreground and a blurry or out of focus background.  This visually appealing technique is called shallow depth of field and today I will show you how to achieve it using your camera’s AV mode in this practical demonstration. If you would like to learn more about how aperture works on your DSLR check out my next video in this series.

Canon EF 50mm Lens

Canon EF 50mm Lens

For today’s demonstration, I will be using the Canon EF 50mm F1.8 lens.  This is one of Canon’s most affordable lenses retailing at around $189, and it really is a little miracle worker that every aspiring photographer should have in their camera bag.  While you can achieve shallow depth of field using your standard kit lens, the effect is much more pronounced when you are using this great little prime lens with a wide open aperture setting of f1.8.  In fact, this very shot you are seeing right now is making use of that Canon lens on a Canon Rebel t5i.

Let’s start by putting our cameras in AV mode.  When you place your camera into AV mode, you are essentially telling it “I will take care of the depth of field setting, and you take care of everything else to make sure that my image is properly exposed.”

It’s time for us to shoot.  In order for us to achieve that shallow depth of field effect, you need to ensure that you have adequate depth in your image. My subject will be this post marker with the sundial and trees in the background.

First, we will switch our lens to manual focus.  By focusing manually, we will be able to ensure that our subject in the foreground is our focus point.  Next, we will adjust the setting to obtain a shallow depth of field.  Use the control dial at the top of the camera to adjust the aperture, and you will see the setting changing here on the screen.  Using this particular lens, I will set it down to f1.8 so you can see the pronounced effect of a wide open aperture.  If you only have a standard kit lens, the best way to achieve this effect is to zoom in on your subject as much as possible and then set your aperture to its lowest possible f-stop  setting.
Let’s compose our image and focus in on our subject.

Adjust the focus ring until your subject appears sharply in focus in your viewfinder.
And go ahead and snap that photo.
Here is my photo at f1.8.  You can see that I was able to obtain the desired shallow depth of field effect with a sharp subject and a blurry or fuzzy background.
Here you will see at higher f stop values of the same subject.  Notice that as the Aperture value increases, the lens will focus over a broader depth of field.

And there you have it.  Stop the clock.  You’ve just learned how to use AV mode to attain a shallow depth of field in your images.

And now that you know how to use AV mode.  Here is your assignment should you choose to accept it.  Find a suitable subject in front of a background with good depth.  Take the same image at varying f-stops and compare the results in camera.

Thanks for watching sub150.  Check out my other videos in this series and don’t forget to Like, share, and subscribe if you found this useful.  See you next time.