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Jim Ball: Aperture comes from the film days where lenses, had a calibration in them to let a precise amount of light onto the film plane. In digital camera speak that's, the sensor instead of the film plane. And the same principle applies with a lot of lenses. But nowadays with digital cameras, the aperture control is actually in the camera. So it's done electronically. One of the principle uses of aperture size, the wider the opening the more light gets in.
But also the shallower the depth of field, which is depth of focus, which determines how much of your image is in focus versus how much is soft, defocused.
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