Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.
Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!
Download Perfect Effects 8 Premium Edition worth £79 from onOne Software for FREE today!
The lens focal length divided by effective diameter of the aperture gives the f/number that's used to indicate the aperture value. Each full f/number, also called a stop or f-stop, halves or doubles image brightness and some lenses can also be controlled in half or third steps. The most common f/numbers are 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 and 22. They are usually preceded by an "f". The larger the f-number, the smaller the lens opening. In the aforementioned series of numbers, f/1.4 is the largest opening and f/22 the smallest. The smaller stops (larger f numbers) give the greater depth of field in a photograph, and vice versa.
To make an exposure, a photographer can, for example, choose a combination of a small aperture and a slow shutter speed or a large aperture and a fast shutter speed. Each movement of the aperture is classed as one stop – go from f/8 to f/11 and you close the aperture by one stop. Similarly by adjusting the shutter speed from 1/125sec to 1/500sec you reduce the exposure by one stop. If you adjust the aperture by a stop and counteract this by also adjusting the shutter speed by one stop you will produce the same exposure value. Therefore an exposure of f/8 at 1/60th could be changed to any of the following combinations: f/11 at 1/30th, f/16 at 1/15th, f/5.6 at 1/125th or f/4 at 1/250th. This is called the law of reciprocity (if one value increases the other will decrease proportionally and visa versa).
Called 'extender', 'lens extender' or 'telephoto extender' by some manufacturers. (Not to be confused with an 'extension tube'!). A teleconverter is an accessory that fits between the camera lens and body to increase the focal length of a lens by 1.4x, 1.7x, 2x or 3x. When coupled with a 200mm lens, for instance, teleconverters would give these results: a 1.4x teleconverter gives an effective focal length of 280mm, while a 1.7x teleconverter increases this to 340mm, a 2x teleconverter to 400mm and a 3x to no less than 600mm. Teleconverters are compatible only with selected lenses, so always check with the manufacturer or retailer before buying. Although they will work with some zoom lenses, they're best used with (fast) prime lenses, since there usually is a drop in quality, and many prime lenses give a higher level of quality to start with. Besides changing the effective focal length, the effective aperture of the attached lens is increased by one or more stops as well. Autofocusing usually does not operate if the effective maximum aperture is greater than f/5.6 with the lenses/cameras from most manufacturers (in some cases greater than f/8, like on the Canon EOS 1V and EOS 3 cameras). And not all teleconverters support autofocus in the first place!