Aperture Blades: Is It Important?

Aperture Blades: Is It Important?

Imagine that you’re getting yourself a brand new lens, say, for portrait, wedding, street, or lifestyle photography. You understand that you need it to be bright, fast, lightweight, as well as bokehey and that’s why every time before buying a new lens you’re checking its focal length, maximum aperture, image stabilization and vibrance reduction capabilities.

Is there something else that you should bear in mind? We bet that you heard that every lens has a certain number of aperture blades. Every lens has a few like five, seven, or nine. But what function do they actually have? And does it really make so much difference? Let’s talk about it and find out how the number of aperture blades influences your shots.

You know that when you shoot with a wide aperture, you will be able to get photos with shallow depth of field. This is also called bokeh effect, which throws the background completely out of focus, making it blurry, and helps the subject stand out.

round bokeh
crisp bokeh

However, like everything else in the world, bokeh can look nice and a bit ugly. When we say nice and ugly, we actually refer to round and square bokeh shapes. The thing is that if you shoot with a wide aperture, bokeh glitters will always be round. But when your lens aperture is narrowed up, the number of aperture blades will start mattering.

straight aperture blades
round aperture blades

Obviously, the number of aperture blades will influence the look of your bokeh, but the way they are placed is important too. By looking at these pictures you can see that aperture blades in some lenses are placed in a circle, whilst other lenses feature straight placement of blades.

We think that you’re already opening your camera bag or lens manual to check the number of its aperture blades. Don’t worry if your lens has five aperture blades because tastes differ when it comes to good photography and you can make crisp bokeh a feature of your personal style.

Nonetheless, photographers believe that lenses fitted with nine aperture blades deliver the best bokeh. For example, Nikon and Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses have it and they are considered to have killer bokeh and the best you can find on the market.

Generally, all entry-level lenses are fitted with seven aperture blades and budget-priced lenses have five aperture blades.

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