Changing Apertures with Lumix.
What is Aperture?
The aperture on your camera and in your lens is the hole that lets the light through. Just like the pupil in our eye, this hole is able to contract and dilate depending on the intensity of light we are confronted with. Very bright conditions means a very small aperture. Very dark and the opposite is true – as wide an aperture as the camera will allow, to let any and as much available light into the lens at any one time. The intensity of light let into the camera's aperture and to the sensor inside, then determines how quick or slow the shutter speed can be in order to get an even exposure.
Apertures also go by the name of F-Stops and can sometimes be written with an “F” in front of them. If that wasn't complicated enough, the smaller the F-Stop/Aperture number is, the bigger or wider the actual aperture.
So, an F/4 aperture is reasonably wide, letting lots of light in, where as an F/22 is very small indeed – pin prick sized – letting very little light in. This change in aperture means an inevitable change in the amount of time it takes to expose an image correctly. This is where the shutter speed comes in. A lot of light entering the lens means the shutter can fire faster. Very little light means a longer exposure time and so a slower shutter speed. It's this relationship between the aperture and the shutter that is the basis for functionality in all cameras.
Changing the aperture on a Lumix camera is a relatively straight forward. On most - if not all - cameras these days, you will have access to a ring, located usually on the top right of the body and easily accessible by your right-hand thumb. Sometimes there will be one situated on the front as well, easily accessed by the left hand pointing-finger. It's important to remember that all cameras, especially modern day ones, are created to be as convenient and user-friendly as possible. They may seem very complex, but in actual fact, most functions are very straight forward and designed to make the changing of things such as your aperture and shutter speed as quick and effortless as they can be.
Most Lumix cameras just have the one ring, on the back, as stated above. Turning this ring will usually change either your shutter speed or your aperture size, depending on the camera setting you are in. If we take the Manual setting as an example here, then you'll be looking at the shutter speed that is changed when we turn the ring with our thumb. You will see a bar on your live screen moving up and down and the letters “SS” highlighted yellow to let you know that you're changing the shutter. Below this bar is one entitled “A”, which related to, you've guessed it, the aperture.
In order to engage the aperture, simply press down on the ring with your thumb until you feel a clicking sensation and watch the screen as the “A” then becomes highlighted in yellow. This is when you know that you've moved your selection from shutter speed to aperture.
WHEN IS THIS NOT THE CASE?
▇ APERTURE PRIORITY
You won't always need to change from shutter speed to aperture in this way. If you choose, for example, to be in your Aperture Priority mode – indicated on the top left hand ring as A, then the aperture will be your priority. In this case, you will simply move the right-hand ring to select a chosen aperture and the in-camera light meter will do the rest, letting you know what shutter speed you'll be working with from your chosen aperture. No need to press the ring inward.
▇ SHUTTER PRIORITY
The inverse is true for your Shutter Priority mode – seen as “S” on your mode ring. In this setting you will only have control over your shutter speed. The in camera light meter will then gauge the best aperture for you based on your chosen speed.
▇ INTELLIGENT AUTO
In your intelligent auto mode or “A” as I'm sure we all know, you will have no control at all. Shutter and Aperture are controlled by the light meter.
So, there you have it. A very quick look into how to get to grips with your Lumix and start changing up those apertures!