The Sharpest Pictures Come from the Sharpest Apertures

Maybe you've learned that closing down the camera's lens aperture can help make your entire photo sharp. But sometimes using an aperture of f/22 actually isn't necessary for a crisp image.

An aperture of  f/16 was necessary to keep the foreground ice
and background mountain both sharp.

Due to engineering limitations and the physics of light, your lens's sharpest aperture is usually the setting two full stops from wide open. If your lens's maximum aperture is f/2.8, then the sharpest aperture is f/5.6. If your lens's widest opening is f/5.6, then the sharpest aperture is f/11.

If your scene is all the same distance from the camera, without both near and far objects, then using the sharpest aperture gives you the sharpest results.

Because these snowy pines are all the same distance from the camera,
an aperture of f/8 was sufficient to keep them sharp.

Learn how and why to change the lens aperture in Getting to Know Your Digital SLR Camera which meets Saturday, November 18, in Missoula, Montana, at the Lifelong Learning Center. Click here to register.