What is aperture and how it affects the quality of your photos?

Certainly, many of you use your smartphone as a main camera. Even those who have a cool or not very many, will not argue with how convenient having a good camera, fits in your pocket. In fact, now the quality of the camera of any flagship smartphone will be more than enough for shooting most everyday moments. To maintain interest in their products, manufacturers are constantly trying to bring in already and so knows well how to photograph camera of the smartphone is something new. In addition to the trend to increase the number of cameras in devices, the last several generations of smartphones also boast an increasingly wide aperture. But what is this aperture?

In our time no longer be called rare smartphones with an aperture of ƒ/1.8 or higher, although in the past it was a great achievement even for lenses professional level. Devices such as the iPhone XS Max, Pixel 3 XL and Huawei Mate 20 Pro, have aperture of ƒ/1.8. However, some producers show us a completely different level. Samsung Galaxy S10 and LG V40 value of the aperture is ƒ/1,5.

These figures, of course, important, but whether or not this aperture value makes the picture better? That’s the question we try to answer in this material.

What is aperture? It’s all about the amount of light

Generally speaking, the picture is only received and processed in a certain way light. Therefore, a good parameter to determine the quality of a particular camera is determining its ability to process light. Quality sensor paired with a great lens are a popular combination for SLR cameras, and the same applies to smartphones, though with some limitations.

The compact size of the smartphone means that the lenses and sensors it is smaller, so less light will get to them, and this directly affects the final quality of the photos. We’ve seen smartphone manufacturers use large pixel sizes of the sensor from 1.2 to 1.55 µm to deal with this limitation, getting excellent results, but the other is strictly of the coin is the amount of light that can penetrate through the lens to reach these pixels. Here, again, comes into play aperture.

What is “ƒ” (the lens aperture)

So, what is aperture? Aperture is determined by the size of the opening through which light can enter the camera. Aperture is measured in so-called “ƒ” which represent the ratio of the diameter of the entrance pupil of the lens to its back focal length. Thus, the smaller the aperture, the wider the hole and therefore more light can reach the sensor, resulting in less amount of noise in the photo.

A smaller aperture size also has the advantage when it comes to reduce the exposure time required to capture a desired amount of light, which reduces blur when shooting in motion or trembling in the hands. In combination with a good stabilization smaller aperture is able to give the photographer a clear shot even in the best conditions.

Speaking of camera lenses, photographers are often associated a wider aperture with a shallower depth of field that allows you to get the blurred background effect called bokeh. However, the smartphone camera with an aperture of ƒ/2.2 actually provides only depth of field, equivalent aperture ƒ/13 or ƒ/14 on a full-frame camera, resulting in a small blur, so modern smartphones that boast excellent bokeh, in fact, achieve this effect using software.

Although a wide aperture is not a guarantee of high quality camera, a smaller aperture provides ingress to the sensor more light, reducing the shutter speed and reduces blurriness and the amount of noise in the photo. This value should always be considered in combination with the pixel size, as bigger pixels does not necessarily require a wider aperture to capture enough light. However, smaller pixels and a small aperture – a sure sign that in low light problems will arise.

The quality of the lens

Equally important, but often overlooked, component of smartphone cameras is the lens, and, like everything else, they also vary considerably in quality. In the end, a dirty lens makes bad shots, and from this it follows that glass lens with poor clarity or transparency will reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor, and hence will reduce image quality.

Smartphones with wide aperture, such as the new Galaxy S10, require special attention to the design of the lens to avoid distortion and glare on the lens, which is a common problem on mobile devices. The distortion or the distortion aberration represents a number of problems arising from the deflection of a light beam on the direction in which he would have to go in a perfect optical system. Smartphones with a wider aperture by definition, less focused on specific portions of a scene than a smartphone with a more closed aperture, and thus more susceptible to problems.

Aberration distortion has a lot of effects. These include spherical aberration (spherical aberration) (reduced clarity and sharpness), coma (coma) (blur or distortion), curvature of field (field curvature) (loss of focus at the edges), distortion (distortion) (convexity or concavity of the image) and chromatic aberration (chromatic aberration) (out-of-focus color and split white light) and others.

One of the most important parameters is the quality of the lens, and it is difficult to judge by specifications, as many phone manufacturers don’t even mention it. This factor complicates the conversations about f-stop and pixel size, since the reduction lens can make all of these settings. Fortunately, the smartphone market now there are several well-known manufacturers of optics, among which the Zeiss and Leica.

We summarize all of the above

Now you know what aperture. But as you have probably understood, the aperture is not all that makes the camera quality. When choosing a smartphone, focusing on their fotosmoralo to focus on one only aperture value will be incorrect, since in isolation from other parameters, this number is almost useless. However, the smaller the aperture value gives a number of advantages, including the ability to make a quality picture in low light conditions.

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