How to Change the F/Stop on a Nikon

by Maryn Kunz

The f-stop on an SLR camera regulates the aperture, or how much light is accepted through the lens. It is the feature that allows you to control the exposure and depth of field of your photograph and is measured by the focal length divided by the pupil diameter. The higher the f-stop number, the narrower the aperture, and thus the lesser amount of light that is allowed to reach the lens. It works much like an eye pupil. For example, a setting of f/16 will give a smaller opening than a setting of f/5.6. Nikon digital SLR cameras allow you to easily change the f-stop.

Changing the F-Stop

Turn the dial on the top of your camera to A. A stands for aperture priority. In this A mode, you choose the f-stop and the camera chooses the shutter speed. To operate, simply rotate the command wheel at the rear of your camera with your thumb until you reach your desired f-stop setting.

Turn the dial on the top of your camera to P, which stands for program. In this P mode, the camera chooses the shutter speed and aperture settings for you based on your lighting conditions. You can change both measurements by rotating the rear command dial with your thumb. The camera will switch to different combinations of preset shutter speed and aperture settings.

Adjust the camera dial to M mode. M stands for manual, and this mode allows you to control each setting individually. It is the most advanced setting because it requires a correct combination of all factors to achieve the desired effect. Switch the top dial to M. The rear dial will change the shutter speed in this mode. To change the f-stop, simply hold the +/-(*) button near the shutter while turning the rear dial.


  • check Outdoor conditions with a lot of natural light will generally require a lower f-stop or a higher shutter speed. Conversely, indoor shots with low levels of natural light and no flash require higher f-stop setting or a lower shutter speed. Also, all lenses have a preset aperture range with which to work. A factory lens that comes with your camera will generally have a lower maximum aperture.

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About the Author

Maryn Kunz has been writing since 2008. Her reviews and articles appear on websites such as eHow. She also spent four years working in New York, where she wrote business proposals and designed for an accessories company. Kunz has a Bachelor of Science in business management from the University of Central Florida.

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