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 Post subject: F stop question
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:02 pm 
Hey guys,
I've just picked up photography a couple of weeks ago and i'm loving it, much credit goes to the help and tips i've read from everyone here. Just a quick question though, i've already read quite a bit about the relationship between shutter speed, focal length and exposure but i'm just wondering is there a set rule for high f numbers? From my understanding a high f number should require a slower shutter speed to allow for sufficient light to reach the sensor right. But what if i'm trying to get say a shot of a lightning strike (fast moving object) while still wanting to get the maximum dof. Is it sort of a trial and error procedure taht comes with experience or is there a "rule" about these settings.

I've held back from going crazy with testing out the camera itself as i've hit 1000pics in just one week..... at this rate ill kill the shutter in a few months. Gone back to using the compact for composition practice and pulls out the dslr for the shots i actually want to keep in the portfolio lol

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:20 pm 
Hi Melvin87

You don't need a fast shutter for lightning. In fact, a slow shutter and small aperture is ideal because the lightning is sufficiently bright to "burn" the image onto the sensor despite the dark exposure. For other fast subjects, you may want to bump up the ISO or use a flash.

My advice would be not to worry about the shutter count. 1000 shots a week can probably be put down to the "new toy" factor :D Anyway, the less you worry about your shutter count, the easier it will be to take photos. If it makes you feel any better, I took over 1000 in one day at the Malaysian GP.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:27 pm 
Hey Grahamnp,
Thanks for the quick reply. Yep the "new toy factor" is great, so technical, so many possibilities to play around with but yeah i see your point.

Guess i'll have to try around and get into a comfort zone while operating the camera for the type of shots i want. Thanks for the help :D


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 5:44 pm 
Hey melvin87,

while there are some thumb-rules, it's really about balancing the three factors: shutter-speed, aperture and ISO. You develop your own thresholds for what is appropriate for your photography.

- How much DOF is enough?
- What ISO will you accept before noise becomes prohibitive?
- How fast are your subjects moving and what shutter speeds are enough?

This varies hugely with your personal taste and objectives for your shots. It varies hugely with your equipment as well as the situation you're in. How much light there is to work with, for example.

Completely crisp, detailed, frozen and generously lit images may be "technically perfect" but this style doesn't lend itself to every type of image.

Hence it's hard to develop any firm rules. They are merely tools and dynamics that practice will familiarize you with so you can use them consciously.

With lightning, you may know that they actually start brom the point of contact and then develop up to the sky. Only high-speed specialized cameras can possibly hope to capture a lightning strike in it's intermediate state. In addition, the timing would have to be super-human. So most simply use long shutter-speeds and mid-to-high F-stops and let them flashes come to them.

What camera do you have for your photography?

Cheers :-)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 11:37 pm 
Hey lahlahsr,

Yep, i'm starting to get what you all mean now. I'm actually more interested in macro shots especially of insects and such. Just got myself the sony alpha a200 last week.

Here are some of the pics i currently have :D

Thanks for the help, cheers

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 8:44 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
Posts: 9886
Location: UK
Hi Melvin,

Great advice above but also bear in mind that if you are looking for ultimate sharpness then going slower than about f/8 on a typical cropped-frame DSLR also has drawbacks as diffraction will start to soften the detail. This is a big subject but there's an excellent primer with some animated graphics and a Diffraction Limit Calculator over at CambridgeInColour which you can read here.


Sony RX1R II. Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 + 1.4x T/C, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8
M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8, Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 9:13 am 
Hey Bob,
Thanks for the info and the link, quite a bit to read up on but i got time :D Also the calculator really helps.

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