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Q I’ve bought a new Canon EOS 4000D and I’m just getting to grips with f/stops. Should I set my f/stop increments to third- or half-stops? Shirley Hope
A I always suggest third-stop increments, because it gives you much finer control over exposure when you employ exposure compensation. That might not sound very much, Shirley, but there could be occasions when adding a half-stop plus or minus exposure compensation is too much, so thirds seems to be a much more refined approach.
Cameras are typically set to thirds by default, so if yours is, just leave it as it is. The exposure level increments apply to aperture and shutter speed, so if you are working in Aperture Priority and use exposure compensation, the shutter speed will change by a third or a half as you dial in the compensation. If you are shooting in Shutter Priority, the aperture will change as you compensate.
On the whole, I set a full f/stop as my aperture – f/4, f/5.6, f/8 and so on – but if you use f/6.3 instead of f/5.6, it won’t make a huge difference to the look of your image. Ultimately, tweaking exposure in third-stop increments does give you greater control over fine-tuning your exposure, and this is the main reason why I stick with them.
A minor adjustment to the exposure compensation can make a noticeable difference.
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