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How to determine what f stop to use

edited December 2014 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
First off, I just picked up the 35mm f/1.8 cheat sheets. Thank you for setting these up and making them nice and easy to use.

My question is where and how do I decide the f-stop setting to use? I know that f/1.8 is the biggest opening, best for focusing on a single object and f/22 is the smallest opening, best for focusing on the entire scene. I understand this part.

Now say I want everything in view, for example, my flag outside my house with all in sharp view - no blurs. Also my flower bed with no blurs.

How do I know what f stop to use? Is there a rule of thumb to set f-stop for this?

My lens is 35mm prime f/1.8 to f/22.



  • edited December 2014
    You're asking about the manipulation of depth of field; specifically, how to maximize it so that everything in your frame is in focus.

    An important thing to note is that your depth of field doesn't just depend on your aperture (i.e. f-stop). It also depends on your focal length and your distance to subject. See the last 3 links of the 1st post of this thread:

    In short, to maximize depth of field, you must use a small aperture, wide focal length, and be far from your subject.
  • edited December 2014
    Thank you.
    I sometimes have a hard time understanding those parts.
  • edited December 2014
    I just learned something today having bought the cheat cards and started to play with the D3200. In a dark room I was wanting to take some photos of the dogs so I set the camera to f/4.5 and the shutter speed 1/15. This was after playing around with different settings and seeing what results I got - brilliant result. One of the drivers to this was capturing an image with no flash because the flash in the other setting was causing Sid to close his eyes when the flash went off. Great shot but not the one I wanted. I'm learning fast thanks to the cheat cards; best $10 I ever spent on photographic stuff. Just about to book myself on to a Nikon one on one course in London. Without the cheat card info I would not have known where to start and that course would be over my head. Cheers Moose, you are a hero.
  • Hey @rickg - I second the advice @ohyeahar gave you. If you have the 18-55mm lens, shoot around 18mm, set the f/stop to f/11 or higher and the entire scene should be in focus.
  • You're too kind @Cliffuk ... I bet Sid was much happier without the flash. :)
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