Useless Thread CCXXIX : D'Angelo Barksdale Appreciation Thread
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12-07-2012, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by
If you're talking to me, I have no idea what you're talking about.
The term stop is sometimes confusing due to its multiple meanings. A stop can be a physical object: an opaque part of an optical system that blocks certain rays. The aperture stop is the aperture that limits the brightness of the image by restricting the input pupil size, while a field stop is a stop intended to cut out light that would be outside the desired field of view and might cause flare or other problems if not stopped.
In photography, stops are also a unit used to quantify ratios of light or exposure, with each added stop meaning a factor of two, and each subtracted stop meaning a factor of one-half. The one-stop unit is also known as the EV (exposure value) unit. On a camera, the aperture setting is usually adjusted in discrete steps, known as f-stops. Each "stop" is marked with its corresponding f-number, and represents a halving of the light intensity from the previous stop. This corresponds to a decrease of the pupil and aperture diameters by a factor of or about 1.414, and hence a halving of the area of the pupil.
Modern lenses use a standard f-stop scale, which is an approximately geometric sequence of numbers that corresponds to the sequence of the powers of the square root of 2: f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32, f/45, f/64, f/90, f/128, etc. Each element in the sequence is one stop lower than the element to its left, and one stop higher than the element to its right. The values of the ratios are rounded off to these particular conventional numbers, to make them easier to remember and write down. The sequence above can be obtained as following: f/1 = , f/1.4 = , f/2 = , f/2.8 = ...
In the same way as one f-stop corresponds to a factor of two in light intensity, shutter speeds are arranged so that each setting differs in duration by a factor of approximately two from its neighbour. Opening up a lens by one stop allows twice as much light to fall on the film in a given period of time. Therefore to have the same exposure at this larger aperture as at the previous aperture, the shutter would be opened for half as long (i.e., twice the speed). The film will respond equally to these equal amounts of light, since it has the property of reciprocity. This is less true for extremely long or short exposures, where we have reciprocity failure. Aperture, shutter speed, and film sensitivity are linked: for constant scene brightness, doubling the aperture area (one stop), halving the shutter speed (doubling the time open), or using a film twice as sensitive, has the same effect on the exposed image. For all practical purposes extreme accuracy is not required (mechanical shutter speeds were notoriously inaccurate as wear and lubrication varied, with no effect on exposure). It is not significant that aperture areas and shutter speeds do not vary by a factor of precisely two.
Photographers sometimes express other exposure ratios in terms of 'stops'. Ignoring the f-number markings, the f-stops make a logarithmic scale of exposure intensity. Given this interpretation, one can then think of taking a half-step along this scale, to make an exposure difference of "half a stop".
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