Wide vs. Narrow Aperture

Wide Aperture means that the aperture value (f/stop value) is small (smaller than f/5.0). Narrow Aperture means that the aperture value (f/stop value) is big (bigger than f/5.6). An aperture value of f/5.6 can be considered as a normal aperture value.

Wide Aperture Vs. Narrow Aperture
Wide Aperture (Low f/stop Number) vs. Narrow Aperture (High f/stop Number)
Related Article: Using your Camera in Aperture Priority Mode

10 Example Images

1. Wide Aperture

This is Valeria
Wide Aperture: f/4.0 | Other Settings: 70.0mm, 1/60 sec., ISO 100; Photo by Trey Ratcliff

Represents careful focusing on the main subject, the eyes of the girl, on the right you have more space (rule of thirds) and the bookshelf in the background is blurred and out of focus due to the wide aperture of f4.0.

2. Narrow Aperture

Bokeh Fields
Narrow Aperture: f/8.0 | Other Settings: 50.0mm, 1/320 SEC, ISO 100; Photo by Paul Hocksenar

Even at a relatively small aperture of f/8, due to the large distance between the subject and the background, there is a beautiful soft Bokeh due to the shallow depth of field.

3. Wide Aperture

Wide Aperture bokeh dog pondering
Wide Aperture f/1.8 | Other Settings: 50.0mm, 1/125 SEC, 100 ISO; Photo by Will Montague

Shot with a Nikon D80, an APS-C DSLR, the 50mm wide angle lens gives the same angle of view as a 75mm lens on a full-frame DSLR. The wide f/1.8 aperture makes it possible to attain this lovely Bokeh (background blur due to the shallow depth of field).

4. Narrow Aperture

Depth of Field, Wide Aperture
Narrow Aperture f/10.0 | Other Settings: 20.0mm, 1/160 SEC, 200 ISO; Photo by Natalie Bowers

A perfect example of how to use a wide angle lens set to a high f-number (f/10) to capture a large depth of field.

Related Post: How to Make Absolutely Sharp Images (12 Tips)

 5. Wide Aperture

Un banco del parque haciendo bokeh!
Wide Aperture f/1.4 | Other Settings: 1/2500, 1.4 f, 50mm, 200 ISO; Photo by R. Romer

50mm focal length which becomes an effective 75mm (35mm equivalent) on the D5000, the wide f/1.4 aperture completely blurs out the foreground and the background. Sharp focus on the dry leaves at the center of the frame.

 6. Narrow Aperture

Mozambique landscape at Mocaba
Narrow Aperture f/8.0 | Other Settings: 70.0mm, 1/100, 200 ISO; Photo by ILRI

Landscape photography demands a setting that maximizes the depth of field. Use of f/8 aperture does just that. Use of a low ISO of 200 to compensate for the abundant sunlight.

7. Narrow Aperture

Landscape - Autumn in Denali - Mountains - Alaska
Narrow Aperture f/7.1 | Other Settings: 71.3mm, 1/200 SEC, 100 ISO

Although not quite that dramatic because the focal length is set at 71.3mm, the 70-300mm Tele zoom lens mounted on a crop D3100 camera does give some amount of perspective compression.

 8. Wide Aperture

Model Basketball Court
Wide Aperture f/3.5 | Other Settings: 6.3mm, 1/50, 200 ISO; Photo by Chris Isherwood

An interesting use of a technique known as selective focus. Though this camera does not allow the use of a specialized selective focus lens and uses only a built-in camera based pre-set tool, the result is still there to be seen. A beautiful miniature photography effect!

 9. Narrow Aperture

St Micheals Hospice Rape Seed Field Herefordshire
Narrow Aperture f/9 | Other Settings: 55.0mm, 1/80 SEC, 100 ISO; Photo by Les Haines

If for nothing else, I love this picture because of the over-abundance of yellow color. The f/9 setting on a 18-55mm kit lens does the rest to make this a lovable sharp landscape keeper.

10. Wide Aperture

Wide Aperture Bokeh study
Wide Aperture f/1.4 | Other Settings: 85mm, 1/5000 SEC, 200 ISO; Photo by David Yu

Again, an interesting shallow depth of field effect. Shot with an 85mm prime set at f/1.4.

We hoped you enjoyed these ten examples of narrow aperture vs. wide aperture!

Canon Wide Aperture Lens | Nikon Wide Aperture Lens

The above shown Canon/Nikon prime lenses are lenses you should add to your standard DSLR kit/zoom lens to make pictures with a wider aperture (and get a great bokeh!). You can see sample images of some of the lens users here (in the review section).

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