Can I take a picture of a wide area such as a big house at 10m, in low light, using a large aperture of say f/2.8, at a focal length of 50mm?

I will have no subject between my camera and the house.

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    You can't shoot a big house at a distance of 10 meters with a 50mm lens full stop. You'll need at least 35mm or wider for full frame, 22mm if your camera is APS-C. You can, however, use whatever aperture you please :) – Matt Grum Jul 11 '13 at 8:52
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    The key to low light landscape photography is one word: Tripod – Michael C Jul 11 '13 at 12:09
  • The title says landscape, but in the text you say house from 10 meters. These are very different. Which is it? – Olin Lathrop Jul 11 '13 at 12:37
  • @OlinLathrop - I don't doubt that someone could consider an image including a house as landscape photography. It is a pretty loose term especially with today's interpretation. But I do agree with your sentiment that it is confusing in this context. – dpollitt Jul 11 '13 at 13:19

Landscape photography is usually done with a short focal length and small aperture - but that doesn't mean you have to - you can use a large aperture, a long focal length or any tool/technique you want to use - having your own style that is different than the standard is a good thing.

The reason landscape photography is done with a small aperture is that usually you want everything in focus and a large aperture will give you a smaller depth of field - but if you want the house to be in focus and whatever is closer/farther away to be blurred that's fine, however, if you want everything in focus it's not going to work.

And finally, you mention low light, if you think you need a large aperture because it's low light than there's a better solution, just use a tripod (or put the camera on any flat-ish surface) and use a cable release or a 2-second timer - and you can use whatever aperture you want for artistic effect and compensate with the shutter speed.


If you want to shoot landscape at f/2.8, you want to use a shorter focal length (let's say, between 12mm and 24mm —or between 8mm and 18mm if you use APS-C sensors) : the depth of field will be less impacted by the large aperture if the focal length is short.

e.g.: a 8mm fisheye at f/3.5, with the focus set to hyperfocal, will provide you an "infinite" depth of field.

But to answer your question : if the framing is ok to you, yes, you can use your 50mm at f/2.8 in low light. Expect some bokeh if the distance between the house and the background is important.

  • you're assuming anyone shooting landscapes wants maximum DOF. That's not necessarily the case. – jwenting Jul 11 '13 at 11:32
  • You're mistaking : refer to my last sentence. It's usually the case but no sectarism in my answer. I felt some anxiety in the question, as to me, "Can I use large aperture while shooting landscape" means "won't I lack DOF if I do so ?" Truth is he will with a 50mm, which is not a downside. – Jon Jul 11 '13 at 11:52
  • There is no automatic "lack of DOF" when shooting wide open, is my point. It's all about your intent. If you want to get rid of a far field that's cluttered, shoot wide open and focus on the fore, if you want to get rid of a distraction in the fore, focus far and shoot wide open. And there's scenes where you don't need much DOF because there's just not much depth to them, think shooting a ridge line against open sky. – jwenting Jul 12 '13 at 5:25

Yes you can on specific subject you want to portray. But I prefer like many others setting my aperture to at most f/11 when using landscape, because it gives me wider depth of field which is ideal for landscape. Suppose you're shooting on a high light, you'll have no problem shooting on small apertures, a smaller aperture can give you large depth of field. Here are some tips for improving your landscape photography.


Here's an article of how the photographer shot a building using focal length at 44mm. However distance between camera and building will be significant. There are also some concepts of basic architectural photography for your reference. Hope it helps.

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    Welcome to Photo.SE! While this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – scottbb Jul 16 '17 at 14:42

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