Aperture Priority Mode: A

11th February 2021

Using aperture priority mode lets the photographer choose the depth of field that they want for their images. Once chosen, the aperture will stay fixed at the point it is set and the camera will automatically select a shutter speed. Each photograph will keep the same aperture setting until the photographer changes it to another setting.

On my Panasonic GH5 to set the aperture value I set the mode dial on top of the camera to A and then choose the aperture value by rotating either the front or rear dial. My preference is to use the rear dial as I can find the dial area quicker and I find it easier to use my thumb to rotate the dial which scrolls through the f-stop settings, Panasonic Owner’s Manual (accessed 10.02.21).

Panasonic Owner’s Manual for advanced features: DC-GH5S, p.72

The aperture is all about controlling the amount of light that enters the camera through the lens. A large aperture opens up the circle and a smaller aperture decreases the size of the circle.

The aperture also determines how blurred or detailed the backgrounds will look in each image. A large aperture gives a soft blurred background or foreground depending on the focal point in the image, and a small aperture will mean the image will be in total or near total focus. The large aperture is represented by smaller f-numbers for example f-1.4, and the smaller aperture represented by larger f-numbers, for example f-22.

Panasonic Owner’s Manual for advanced features: DC-GH5S, p.71

Aperture is read as a f-stop. A small f-stop, a wide aperture, will give the image a more blurred background and a shallow depth of field. A shallow depth of field means that the subject in the image will be in sharp focus and the background and foreground will be blurred in equal amounts. A higher f-stop means a smaller aperture with a greater depth of field which keeps the image crisper and in focus from the foreground to background, depending on the f-stop size. Depth of field is also abbreviated to DOF. Therefore:

  • A wide aperture gives a shallow depth of field.
  • A small aperture will give deep depth of field

A Fixed Depth of Field

To achieve a fixed depth of field on my camera for a shoot, I first need to switch to Aperture Priority Mode using the mode dial on top of my camera. I will then lock the dial in place by pressing the centre lock button down found in the mode dial.

The second action is to choose either Manual or Automatic ISO on my camera. Which setting to choose depends on the outcome that is wanted for the photographic images.

As the value of the aperture is changed by altering the f-stop number the camera will change the shutter speed in accordance with the chosen aperture setting. If the light changes the camera will also alter the shutter speed.

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