How Aperture and Shutter Speed Work Together

In photography, the term Exposure Value (EV) is commonly referred to as a move, either up or down, of one 'stop'. The difference between each aperture setting is one stop or one EV, i.e. f8 and f11 is a difference of one 'stop' or one EV. The difference in shutter speed between 1/125th sec and 1/250th sec is one stop/one EV. You will see that both f numbers and shutter speeds are sequenced in a series of 2:1 ratios, and this is where the two work in harmony with each other. A setting of f8, at 1/60th sec, lets the same amount of light into the camera as a setting of f5.6 at 1/125th sec, and f4 at 1/250th sec, and so on. You will see that the latter is one f-stop lower and one shutter speed higher than the former.

1" V


1/8th 1/15th






f32 f22

f 16

f11 f8






These combinations of aperture and shutter will all provide an identical exposure.











Depth of Field a perfectly exposed picture

_Very Shallow Depth of Field

Shutter Speed f


Depth of Field a perfectly exposed picture t

_Very Shallow Depth of Field

Stops the Fastest Movement

_Stops Some Movement

_ Blurs with any movement

You may recall numerous occasions when your Digital SLR camera has displayed various shutter speeds or apertures, such as f12 or f10. Likewise for shutter speeds, you may notice 1/45th sec or 1/180th sec for example. Take note that these are 'stops' in one third or one half increments, set as factory defaults when you purchase the camera. Many users think that they are changing shutter speeds and aperture by one full stop (EV) when they see these half and one third numbers indicated. This is not the case! These slight changes will make little visable difference to an untrained eye as to the state of your exposure. If you are new to the concept of apertures and shutter speeds then consider changing these settings to one full stop or half stop increments to aide your learning process. (changes can be made via the camera menu settings)

1/1000 sec

1/800 sec

1/500 sec

1/200 sec

1/60 sec

1/30 sec

Depth of Field (D of F) is the portion of a scene that appears sharp in the photograph.

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  • hailey
    Is the difference between 1/60th and 1/80th one stop?
    7 years ago

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