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Lowering aperture

edited June 2016 Posted in » Nikon D5200 Forum
A couple of questions. The camera doesn't permit me to lower f number below 4.2 in Aperture Priority Mode; how can I do this? Also, I'd like to order cheat sheets, but how do I find out what type of lens came with my D5200? Can't find it in user's manual.


  • edited June 2016
    Look on the lens itself, and it should tell you what model it is.

    For example, on the top of my 18-55mm kit lens you'll see printed:

    "Nikon DX....AFS Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5 - 5.6 G"

    This means the lens is made for DX format cameras. It is AFS, which means it has an auto focus motor built in. The focal length is 18-55 millimeters, a normal zoom lens. The maximum aperture is given in the form "1:maximum number". When there are two numbers, it means this is a variable aperture zoom lens, whose maximum changes when you zoom. The maximum aperture is f/3.5 at 18 millimeters, and f/5.6 at 55 millimeters. It is a "G" lens which means it has no manual aperture ring. Off to the side it also says "VR" which means that it has vibration reduction. On the bottom side of the lens is more information, not needed here, identifying it as "DX SWM VR Aspherical ∞ - 0.28m/.98ft Ø52 mm". This identifies it as a DX lens, again, with a silent wave motor, Vibration control, aspherical glass elements, close focusing to .98 feet, with a 52 millimeter filter thread on the front. It also says it was made in Thailand, is recyclable plastic, and has a serial number with "US" at its beginning, identifying it as a US Nikon import rather than "gray market".

    For the purposes of the cheat cards, all I would need to know is that this is the 18-55 millimeter kit lens.

    The user manual should mention what lenses are normally provided with the camera, but because many choices exist, more than one may be listed, and it may not show yours. On the D3200, and possibly your model as well, the printed manual is not complete. If you want the complete manual, you must get the PDF file from the accompanying CD, or from the Nikon website.

    Note that this variable aperture zoom lens opens up to f/3.5 only at its shortest focal length. At its longer focal length it can go only up to f/5.6. In between, it will have a maximum aperture in between. When you use aperture priority mode, the camera cannot achieve an aperture larger than the lens delivers. At a focal length of about 26 millimeters, that will be f/4.2.

    When you use a variable aperture zoom lens, the camera's settings will vary depending on what it is set at when you set it (this is not explained in the manual, by the way).

    So, for example, if you have the lens set to f/3.5 at 18 millimeters, when you zoom in toward 55mm, you will see the aperture change toward 5.6, and when you zoom back out, it will go back to f/3.5. However, if you start with the lens at 55 millimeters, and set it to its maximum (5.6), and then zoom out toward 18mm, the aperture will not change. It will stay at 5.6 throughout. I you are partway between the two extremes, it will change when you zoom in, but never go beyond that setting when you zoom out. Whenever you want the max aperture, It's best to always dial it in after you've zoomed.
  • @kathyk - See the reply by @bruto, he provided a fantastic answer.
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