Hello Photographic Lovers,

Aperture is what the power of lens to open and close so as to control the light. So When we Zoom in the lens and see the far objects, then it changes the aperture. So How the Zooming is related to the aperture? Both looks different for me. And Also is it possible to change the aperture when its zoomed to maximum level.

Please forgive me if this question sounds to be silly, as I am very new to this field and learning hard to get it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Rupesh, this not entirely true. For example Canon, Sigma, Nikon have 24-105./F4, 24-70/F2.8, 70-200/F2.8 \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10, 2017 at 10:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I BELIEVE the OP has a miss understanding of the mechanics of a zoom lens. but it could be a language issue? Aperture is not changed by zooming the lens out, the maximum aperture available at full zoom is what has changed.Aperture is only changes by setting it with the controls on the camera. zooming the lens magnifies the subject that the lens is pointed at by changing the distance or relationship of the glass elements inside the lens itself, this may physically alter the largest (WIDEST) AVAILABLE aperture the lens can be set to. study the referenced questions for details on this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 11, 2017 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


In the nomenclature of photography, the lens aperture is its diameter. We adjust the working diameter to regulate how much light energy the lens passes during the exposure.

As you know, the focal length of the lens expresses the power of the lens to magnify. When we zoom we are changing the focal length. We do this to obtain more magnification or to acquire a wide-angle view. Thus, as we zoom, the size of the image of objects will expand or contract. As we zoom to obtain more magnification, we are forcing the image-forming rays to spread out. Thus the image dims. Conversely as we zoom to gain a wide-angle view, the image-forming rays contract and the image brightens.

The changing image brightness that comes with the zoom must be skillfully neutralized, otherwise over or under exposure will be the result. One might create a mechanical linkage that adjusts the diameter of the aperture. In this way, the exposure would be organized to stay constant throughout the zoom. This has been tried, but such a mechanism adds too much cost.

Best is an optical solution. The diameter of the aperture can be made to perform as if it were a variable by placing it behind an assemblage of lenses that magnify. The assemblage moves with the zoom; thus they change the apparent diameter of the iris with the zoom. This works to keep the exposure constant. It takes skillful lens design, and this adds to the cost of zoom lens. A very expensive zoom will likely maintain a constant exposure throughout the zoom. However, most moderately priced zooms give up the ghost as the magnification increases. These will not maintain a constant f-number. Thus they top out and the f-number at max magnification is about two f-numbers stopped down.

The relationship: The capability of the lens as to image brightness intertwines the capture area (working area of the circular lens) and the focal length. We use a ratio to express this as a single value. We divide the working focal length by the working iris (aperture) diameter to obtain the “focal ratio”. In the jargon of optics this is called the f-number. The f-number is interwoven in the geometry of circles. If you multiply or divide the diameter of any circle by the square root of 2 = 1.4, you have calculated a revised circle with double or half the surface area. Thus the number set: 1 – 1.4 – 2 – 2.8 – 4 – 5.6 – 8 – 11 – 16 – 22 – 32. Each value going left increases image brightness 2X, going right, image brightness is cut in half.. The beauty is; this works regardless of the focal length or iris diameter. In other words, any lens set to f/4 delivers the same image brightness as another lens set to f/4 regardless bigness or littleness of the power or working diameter.


is it possible to change the aperture when its zoomed to maximum level?

  • Yes, let's say you have a Canon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6: This means that when you have zoomed as much as you can (55mm) the largest aperture you can use is f/5.6, while when not zoomed in at all (18mm) you can achieve aperture as large as f/3.5. However, when maxed zoomed out you can change the aperture to a smaller aperture (which means a higher f-number, ex f/6.3, f/8 f/11 etc).

So When we Zoom in the lens and see the far objects, then it changes the aperture

  • This is not completely true. It's partly true for the lens i used as an example above, but some lenses have a constant aperture throughout the zoom. These tend to be somewhat more expensive, due to the fact that they can use relatively large apertures in the whole range of the zoom. For example the Canon 70-200 f/4L, or the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G. These two can keep their largest apertures throughout their zoom, but can still, at anytime change it to a smaller aperture, like f/11 to get more depth of field and a wider area of focus.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Canon has a 70-200 f/2.8 too. An even more extreme example would be Sigma's 50-100 f/1.8. \$\endgroup\$
    – K. Minkov
    Mar 10, 2017 at 14:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Absolutely @KamenMinkov . I just picked two random examples from different brands to clarify my example! :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tindra
    Mar 10, 2017 at 14:32

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.