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This post was most recently updated on January 8th, 2023

Photography is an incredible skill and hobby to have. You can create professional grade, high quality images for your own enjoyment or personal use, or you can apply your skill and provide professional photography services for others.

When it comes to photography, there is so much to consider in creating powerful and beautiful images.

You have the composition, the color, the lighting, depth of field, shape and so many other factors to think about. Only once you are able to master these skills will you be able to create high quality photographs! 

If you are new to photography, or hoping to improve your skills, then there are a few things that you should be aware of. You probably know where the shutter is, how to adjust the zoom, and how to change things such as the white balance in your images.

But sometimes, when you first pick up a DSLR or professional camera, there are sometimes more buttons and settings that you can make sense of. 

One of these settings may look like it has an F on it. This can be confusing, as you may not be aware of what it means or what it stands for. Luckily, we can help with this guide of what F means in photography. 

What Does F Stop Mean In Photography?

When photographing, you may notice that there is an ‘f’ on your settings, and on the screen of your DSLR camera. This letter ‘f’ actually stands for the focal length of the lens.

f stop on camera

This can be altered using ‘f numbers’ and can change the depth of your image. 

Depending on how you alter the focal length of an image, you will see more or less of the scene. For instance some elements will be captured whereas others will not be in focus. 

Focal length is vital in composing your images, as it can impact the overall quality of your image, and improve it in various ways. For instance, with a shorter focal length, you will be able to capture much more of an image, and will have a wider depth of field. 

In basic terms, the shorter the focal length, the wider the angle of view and the lower the magnification of your image will be.

When the focal length is longer, the angle of view will be narrower, and the magnification will be higher. You can practice with the ‘f’ setting on your cameras to play around with the field of view in your images.

What Is The F Number On A Camera Lens?

The ‘f’ can also be referred to as an ‘f-stop’. This is a camera setting that controls how much light is allowed to enter the camera lens. The simple answer is that ‘f’ on your camera stands for focal length, and affects the aperture of your lens. 

When you look at your camera, you can alter the ‘f’ number to change how your images turn out.

If you play around with the ‘f’ settings, then you will notice that the higher the f number, the greater the distance in front of and behind the focus point will appear to be in focus.

The lower the f number, the shorter the distance in front and behind the focus point will appear to be in focus. 

What Is Aperture In Photography?

When it comes to photography, light is so vital in how your images turn out. Without proper lighting, you will not be able to illuminate the subject matter, and the camera may struggle to capture the images effectively. 

What this means is that choosing the right amount of light is paramount in creating and capturing good photographs. The amount of light in an image is controlled by the camera’s aperture. 

The aperture of the camera is what controls the brightness and lightness of the image, as changing this setting allows more or less light to pass through the lens, and go into the image sensor. 

This setting can be altered by looking at the corresponding ‘f number’. This will be written as f/ then followed by a certain number. You will notice that you can alter the aperture with options such as f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22 and f/32. 

By altering the f-number on your camera, you will be changing the opening of the lens, and the size of the aperture. As mentioned above, the higher the f-number, the smaller the aperture, so less light will come through. 


As you practice your photography skills more, you will start to realize how vital using f-stops is in creating professional, high quality images.

Aperture is one of the most vital and essential parts of photography. As the aperture controls the light, depth of field and the sharpness of the picture, you will have to know how to change the aperture of your images before taking that perfect shot. 

Is F-stop The Same As Aperture?

Basically, yes F-stops and aperture are the same thing, as the aperture is the actual opening in which the lens allows light to enter the camera. The f-stop is the ratio of the lens focal length and the diameter for the entrance pupil. 

Using f-stops in the range between f/2.8 to f/4 will usually give you an adequate and normal depth of field for most subject matter, with great sharpness.

You can alter the f-stops depending on what you wish to shoot. For example, if you want to take images of sports, travel and wildlife, then you may want to use those f-stops. 

However, if you want to take images of landscapes, architecture and other more static subject matter, then you may be more successful with f-stops such as f/5.6 up to f/8. 

How To Change The Aperture On Your Camera

Altering the aperture on your camera is actually really simple, as long as you know how to do it!

For most DSLR cameras, you will need to adjust your camera settings to the Aperture Priority Setting, or use the fully Manual mode, as you will be able to alter the aperture to whatever you want on this mode. Most cameras will have a dial you can move to change the f-stops.

If you have a Canon camera, you can often change the aperture by holding down the Av button on the back of the camera itself, and turn the wheel next to the shutter button to alter the f-stops. 

On the other hand, a Nikon camera can be changed by holding down the aperture button on the top of the camera, and you can then turn the command dial to select your chosen f-stop.

However, many camera models work differently, so take a look at the instruction manual that came with the camera for specific instructions on how to change the aperture! 


To summarize, the ‘f’ that is on your camera is for focal length or ‘f-stops’. This refers to the aperture setting on your camera. This setting can be altered to control the focal length and depth of field of an image.

By changing the f-stops, you will be able to control how much of your image is in clear focus, how sharp the image looks and the focal point of your photographs.