What is F in Photography?

The Ball in Azalea Residences

We recently had a comfortable stay at Azalea Residences here in Baguio City, Philippines. The Hotels was not only relaxing but also a photography haven for those who love taking architecture photography. Arriving at the hotel at night the hotel lights also makes it a good location for night photography. So i tried several “night” photography shots and found out that my photos were too dark if not blurred.

The Solution to Dark Photos

Basic photography rule which i have learned is that if the shutter is slow due to the requirement of a large aperture it is best to increase the ISO, so after turning my ISO to 1600 i was able to take several shots hand held. However, i should have known better, increasing ISO would also increase the noise in your capture photos and that’s exactly what happened. After transferring my photos to my laptop computer, i realized that many of my night shots are either too dark or too grainy, that even post processing would not help solve the problem.

The Photography Research

I always notice that whenever there is not enough lighting i had to adjust the shutter speed of the camera, and if that does not work, i had to adjust the F-stop of my DSLR camera which seems to do the trick in some cases. Having experienced taking lots of underexposed and grainy images i contemplated and researched on whether there is a particular lens that i could use for night photography. After two minutes of internet research i have learned that a 50mm primary can go as low as f1.2, a larger aperture opening.

So What is F in Photography?

For several paragraphs now i have been mentioning f’s settings in my digital camera. F in photography means the aperture size of the lens or to put it in simple terms the size of lens opening. The rule in photography is the higher the f value (like f22) the smaller the aperture size and the lower the f value (like f1.8) the larger the aperture size opening.

So in night photography you are looking at an f value of lower than the common f5.6.

Recommended Lens for Night Photography

I am a budget photographer, especially so that photography for me is used for blogging purposes and as a hobby, i am not really into wedding photography or portrait photography I am more into street photography, macro photography and photo blogging. So i invest on cheap DSLR camera lenses, fortunately for night photography, there is a cheap lens that is available to users like me. Known as the nifty-fifty this lens is a 50mm primary with an aperture or f value that could go as low as f1.8. The Canon 50mm lens is about $119 from Amazon while Nikon’s nifty fifty is valued slightly higher at around $129.88 in Amazon.


Vince is a tech geek, has a passion for sharing knowledge and loves to tinker with different gadgets. Whenever he gets a new gadget he just open the box and figure out how the gadget works without reading the manual.

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *