So, I have been told in a thread here previously that the minimum aperture (F8) on my point and shoot camera can cause diffraction and result in losing details of the subject if too many things are in focus. Fine.

Now, if I have to shoot a far away landscape scene and I choose an aperture of (F5), it won't result in a sharp picture, and I can't use F8! :(

See this: enter image description here

Now is it possible that I use the aperture as low as possible and increase the shutter speed and thus get the same results as I would be getting from aperture F8 (with a low shutter speed)?

What can be the possible combinations?
I mean with F3, speed 1/500?
Of course one way is to go on trying each and every possible combination, but if I get some starting points, I think it'll make my life easier.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you post a link to where someone told you that f8 would be too small? It sounds dodgy to me. Still, it should be easy to test. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Finch
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AJFinch photo.stackexchange.com/questions/14686/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 14:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Here's an article about how diffraction can affect photographic images: johnsankey.ca/diffraction.html \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Finch
    Commented Oct 3, 2011 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


On your sample photo, fog or smoke in the air seems to be the reason why further landscape is not sharp. Nothing in your camera can help against that. Try coming back at another time to see if the air is more clear. Above a city with polluted air, this might never happen.

A wider aperture with faster shutter time will result in equivalent exposure, but depth of field will be smaller, because it is determined only by the large aperture. Opening up all the way is bad for sharpness because most lenses are getting sharper when aperture is smaller than maximum by a stop or two (unless you hit diffraction limit).

To get maximum depth of field, you should focus to something far away to ensure that you are covering hyperfocal distance. You might also still decide to use f/8, because you might prefer even overall sharpness to better sharpness at smaller range. In technical side of photography, compromises have to be made quite often.

Another thing you could try is sharpening in post processing (e.g. using Unsharp mask).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, So you mean to say that I'll still get a shallow depth of field even if I choose a higher shutter speed? Which means that I won't be able to get sharp landscapes by lowering F and raising SS ? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 5:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Anisha yes, that's what I mean. Although with a point and shoot, shallow depth of field is rarely a concern. In your sample, particles in the air seem to cause the unsharpness, not depth of field. \$\endgroup\$
    – Imre
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 5:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, the answer is depressing, but still thanks for replying. ;) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 5:33

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