Hypothetical: What if cameras used equivalent apertures and ISO for exposure settings?

Started Jul 24, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Pixel Pooper Senior Member • Posts: 2,273
Hypothetical: What if cameras used equivalent apertures and ISO for exposure settings?

The discussion in this thread about equivalent apertures got me thinking:

What if camera manufacturers started using 35mm equivalent apertures in the camera settings instead of actual f/stops? How would this affect the way you shoot? The current f/stop system means that for the same f/stop you get the same amount of light per unit area, but who is thinking about light per unit area when taking a picture?

If cameras used equivalent f/stops for exposure settings, you could choose the same settings on any camera and get the same results (where possible) instead of getting the same exposure. Wouldn't that make more sense to the way most people shoot given that most of us are using some form of automatic metering anyway?

Using the equivalent aperture would mean the same f/stop would give the same DOF on any format so the "f/8 and be there" mantra would work on any system without translation, and DOF calculators would work the same on any format.

This wouldn't require a change to how cameras calculate exposure, just to the numbers that are displayed, and camera settings would work in a more intuitive way:

  • The same f/stop would give the same DOF and diffraction on any format
  • The same ISO setting would give comparable noise on any format
  • The same shutter speed would still give the same motion blur on any format

Wouldn't this simplify things? What am I missing here?

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