Some Shots In A Mode (RX10IV)

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
OP bcalvanese Forum Member • Posts: 62
Re: Some Shots In A Mode (RX10IV)

Digital Shutterbug wrote:

bcalvanese wrote:

Thanks for the reply.

I am just a beginner so they "are" something to get excited about to me... lol.

I have a very basic understanding of the modes so far.

Auto... the camera controls everything.

P... like auto, but the user has slight control over the aperture and shutter speed.

A... the user controls the aperture, and the camera controls the shutter speed.

S... the user controls the shutter speed, and the camera controls the aperture.

M... the user controls everything.

Aperture is for depth of field. the smaller the number the bigger the aperture (more light), and visa versa. smaller f number will put the image you are trying to shoot in focus and blur the background. As the f number is bigger, more of the scene will come in focus. So I assume the largest f number will bring the whole scene in focus.

Your understanding of this is basically correct. But, there is more to it. There is a principle called diffraction at play here. Diffraction softens the image and can ruin the sharpness of the photo. Diffraction increases as you stop the aperture down (bigger numbers). As the camera's sensor gets smaller, diffraction occurs sooner as you stop down. With the RX10 series camera's sensor size, diffraction begins at any aperture smaller than about f/5.6.

So, while the logic of smaller apertures increases the depth of field (DOF), thus providing sharper images across a broader distance from the camera, the truth is that diffraction will kill the sharpness you thought you were going to get. The DOF provided by the short focal length lenses used for small sensors gives quite deep DOF at fairly large apertures (smaller numbers). The point of diminishing returns sets in. You just don't need those smaller apertures where diffraction happens.

In general, I try to stay at f/5.6 or larger. You can probably get by just fine up to f/8 if you aren't going to blow it up to a very large print size. If I shoot above f/8 it's probably a mistake I made without realizing I had turned the control. I just don't intentionally go beyond f/8, ever.

Note that if you read articles about cameras with 35mm size sensors (24mm X 36mm), you will see pictures shot at apertures of f/16 or maybe f/22. Again, it's the longer focal length lenses needed for the larger sensor that allows for those settings without diffraction killing image quality. f/5.6 on your camera is essentially the same as f/16 on a 35mm sensor camera. Keep it in mind when reading articles.

Shutter speed is for sharpness. Faster shutter speeds will get sharp images of fast moving subjects, and as shutter speed decreases, the user would have less of a chance of getting a sharp image to the point of needing a tripod.

I started in auto mode and folks here told me to "get out of auto mode", and start with P mode. So I did that for a couple days. Then I decided to try A mode which gave me more control then P mode did. Once I learn and experience how the settings change my photos, I will be ready to try M mode, because then I will better understand what i am doing when I have full control.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm not moving in the right direction, and thanks again.


I will do more learning on this.


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Sony RX10 IV
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