Understanding your camera – Aperture, Shutter and Sensor

All the settings on your camera may appear overwhelming at first, but the three main things to understand on any camera are the Aperture, Shutter and Sensor settings.

1. Understanding aperture

The aperture of a camera down to the lens you are using and is measured in f stops. A wide aperture is a low number on the f scale – this means the amount of light able to get into the camera is at a maximum, the depth of field is also quite shallow (sharp focus but blurry backgrounds). On the other end of the scale, a high f scale numberĀ is when there is a tiny amount of light getting into the camera but the depth of field is great (both the subject and background will be in focus).


2. Shutter speeds

The shutter of the camera flips the mirror up allowing the light to hit the sensor, then the mirror flips back down again – the speed at which the mirror flips up and returns back down again is the ‘shutter speed’. For a longer shutter speed, there is more chance of more light hitting the sensor and motion being capture in the image. On the other hand, the faster the mirror is flipped up and back down again, the less time light has to hit the sensor so images are able to freeze motion.

shutter speed

3. Sensor

What exactly is a sensor? The sensor is the plate that the light hits once the mirror has been flipped up to capture the image. The sensor itself has different settings to vary its sensitivity. The sensor settings are measured on an ISO scale – a low ISO settingĀ gives low sensitivity with less noise, a high setting gives a higher sensitivity but more noise.



When you play about with each of these settings you will understand how they link to each other, the below image shows how different Aperture, Shutter and Sensor settings are required to get the right photo.



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