Aperture is like the iris and pupil of a human eye. The amount of light is controlled by them before it reaches your retina.
The lower the number it is termed as a wide Aperture value. The higher the number it is termed as narrow Aperture value.
Bit of tech:
f/number (f1.8, f2.2, etc.) is not a physical device nor a lens. ‘Aperture’ is the actual diameter (value – f1.8, etc.) of the lens opening viewed from the front of the camera. f/number is the ratio of focal length to aperture.
Why wide or narrow Aperture (number/value)?
Wide Aperture value (low number) will be required in low light situations, like indoor portraits or group photos, party group photos, photos that can be taken using ambient light.
Narrow Aperture value (high number) will be used when you have more sunlight or a flash that spills out more light. Scenarios like landscape photography, travel, sunrise or sunset photos. And when in a studio with lights that have high power.
Now you may have a question:
Does it mean that if I buy a smartphone which has a wide Aperture lens of f2.2 takes brilliant low-light photos may not be able to take narrow Aperture photos which are landscapes, and wide photos?
The answer is: In photography, mostly all lenses will be able to take day-light photos by default. The challenge is when the light is low. This means, the wider the Aperture, you are simple going to be able to take both day-light photos ‘and’ low-light photos.
The most important point is that the background blurs when the subject is away from the background giving it a bokeh effect which is achievable in DSLRs and now using smartphone cameras.
A bigger (wide) aperture value (f 1.4, f2, f2.2, f2.8, and so on f11) will let more light reach the retina.
Example: When there is low or less light, you will notice the pupil open up to let in more light in the human eye.
A smaller aperture value (f11 and so on till f32) will let in less light reach the retina.
Example: When there is more light, you will notice the pupil small letting in the required amount of light.
All the above means, when you have a large aperture value which is f1.2, f1.4, f2.2, the camera on your smartphone is able to see more in low light and thus produce quality pictures with more details.
What does Aperture value f2.2 or lower mean in smartphone cameras?
Aperture value f2.2 or lower which is f1.2, f1.4, f1.7, f1.8 and so on means that it can take good photos in low-light situations (mostly after sunset) when you keep your hand steady before you get the shot. The lower the number the better photos your smartphone can take without blur and with quality.
These smartphones will be a bit more expensive compared to the other mobiles.
Example of a wide (low value) Aperture shot:
Example of a narrow aperture (high number/value) shot:
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Hope you were able to understand the differences.