The exposure is the amount of light received by the film or sensor and is determined by how wide you open the lens diaphragm (aperture) and by how long you keep the film or sensor exposed (shutterspeed). The effect an exposure has depends on the sensitivity of the film or sensor.
The exposure generated by an aperture, shutterspeed, and sensitivity combination can be represented by its exposure value "EV". Zero EV is defined by the combination of an aperture of f/1 and a shutterspeed of 1s at ISO 100. Each time you halve the amount of light collected by the sensor (e.g. by doubling shutterspeed or by halving the aperture), the EV will increase by 1. For instance, 6 EV represents half the amount of light as 5 EV. High EVs will be used in bright conditions which require a low amount of light to be collected by the film or sensor to avoid overexposure.
To get a feel, just select the aperture, shutterspeed, and ISO in the interactive EV calculator below, and click on the "Calculate EV" button to determine the corresponding exposure value.
From the above it is clear that a certain exposure value can be achieved by a variety of combinations of aperture, shutterspeed and sensitivity. For instance if you are shooting at ISO 100 with an aperture of f/8 and a shutterspeed of 1/125s, doubling the shutterspeed to 1/250 (halving the exposure time) and reducing the f-number one stop to f/5.6 (doubling the aperture) will lead to the same exposure of 13 EV. Or if you double the shutterspeed to 1/250s (halve the exposure time) while keeping the aperture unchanged at f/8, you could double the effect of the incoming light by doubling the sensitivity to ISO 200, thereby keeping the EV constant at 13 EV. Note that doing so will increase noise levels in digital cameras and film grain in conventional cameras.
In automatic mode, the camera determines the optimal combination of aperture, shutterspeed, and sensitivity based on the exposure value determined by the light metering system. A high EV indicates bright conditions, hence the need for high shutterspeeds, high f-numbers, and/or low sensitivities, to avoid overexposure. When you change the aperture in aperture priority mode, the camera will adjust the shutterspeed to keep the EV constant. In shutter priority mode, the camera will adjust the aperture to keep the EV constant.
|This article is written by Vincent Bockaert,|
author of The 123 of digital imaging Interactive Learning Suite
Click here to visit 123di.com