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Thread: Effective Aperture for Macro

  1. #1

    Effective Aperture for Macro

    Can somebody please throw some light on

    a) What is Effective aperture for Macro lens...How do we find it ?
    b) Does the camera body automatically calculates the exposure compensation needed ?

  2. #2
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    Re: Effective Aperture for Macro

    Hi Anikh,

    A rule of thumb is that at 1:1 you lose about 2-stops of light beyond what you would otherwise get at a given aperture. The effective aperture (for gauging exposure) is therefore 2-stops smaller than that set on your lens; an aperture of f/2.8 therefore becomes more like f/5.6, and f/8 more like f/16, etc. For other magnifications, a very crude estimate is as follows:

    Effective Aperture = Lens Aperture x (1 + Magnification)

    For example, if you are shooting at 50% magnification, then the effective aperture for a lens set at f/4 will be somewhere between f/5.6 and f/6.3.

    This formula works best for normal lenses (near 50 mm focal length). Using this formula for macro lenses with much longer focal lengths, such as 105mm or 180mm, will tend to slightly underestimate the difference between effective and actual lens aperture.

    For those analytical types who are interested in getting super accurate results, you will need to know the pupil magnification of your lens. In that case a slightly more accurate formula would be:

    Effective Aperture = Lens Aperture x (1 + Magnification / Pupil Magnification)

    Canon's 180mm macro lens has a value of 0.5 at 1:1, for example, so at 1:1 the above formula would give a 50% larger f-number for the effective aperture than if you were to use the simpler formula. However, using the pupil magnification formula probably isn't practical in the field. More just an interesting fact. The biggest problem is that pupil magnification changes depending on focusing distance, which introduces yet another formula.

    Quote Originally Posted by hellfragger View Post
    b) Does the camera body automatically calculate the exposure compensation needed ?
    Any camera that has through the lens metering (TTL) will automatically adjust the exposure to compensate for this, and will do so much better than the above equation. This covers the vast majority of current cameras. Other cameras, such as those using a hand held light meter, will need to use the above formula to estimate the necessary shutter speed and/or ISO.
    Last edited by McQ; 18th April 2009 at 09:06 AM.

  3. #3

    Re: Effective Aperture for Macro

    Thanx a lot ! that made it easy !

  4. #4
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    Re: Effective Aperture for Macro

    Quote Originally Posted by hellfragger View Post
    Thanx a lot ! that made it easy !
    Glad I could help. OK, let's complicate thing's a bit then Did you know that the depth of field often ALSO changes substantially?! That is, compared to what you would otherwise expect for a given focusing distance and aperture.

    If the pupil magnification is less than unity (most macro lenses are), then you end up gaining a little depth of field. However, if you require a given shutter speed, you will end up losing depth of field when all things are considered. Overall I think it's an advantage though, because you will get a little more depth of field before hitting the diffraction limit.

  5. #5

    Re: Effective Aperture for Macro

    hmm, i had thought about the gain in depth of field by decrease in aperture size, but not in this way.
    Last edited by McQ; 18th April 2009 at 10:28 PM. Reason: split thread

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