Discover what a wide maximum lens aperture can do for your favourite sort of subject
A wide maximum aperture will let you shoot indoor portraits with out-of-focus backgrounds. It will also let you use faster shutter speeds in dim light. With a kit lens at full zoom you might get a speed of 1/8 sec, for example, but with an f/1.4 lens you could shoot at 1/125 sec in the same light.
For sports like soccer you need to be able to shoot at 1/500 sec or faster to freeze the action and stop the players turning into a blur. Nikon’s 70-300mm consumer lens has a maximum aperture of f/5.6 at full zoom, but the 300mm f/2.8 pro lens offers speeds three stops faster.
The light levels at night are very low, and it’s not always possible to use a tripod. A lens with a wide aperture lets you shoot handheld at fairly ‘safe’ shake-free shutter speeds without increasing the ISO. This table shows how much you must increase the ISO to allow for a lower maximum aperture.