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Aperture and Depth of Field

Experiment #18 from Advanced Physics with Vernier — Beyond Mechanics

Education Level
High School


Lenses are used in a variety of everyday applications. In a camera, light from a source passes through a lens and an opening, called the aperture, and forms a real image that is recorded by film or a sensor. The size and shape of the aperture affects how much light strikes the film or sensor; they also have an effect on some characteristics of the image. In this experiment, you will investigate the role of the aperture in image formation.


In this experiment, you will

  • Predict and observe the effect of the size and shape of the aperture on the formation of a real image.
  • Observe how the size of the aperture affects the depth of field.
  • Observe how focal length and object distance affect the depth of field.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.


Teaching to an educational standard? This experiment supports the standards below.

International Baccalaureate (IB)/Physics
C.1 Introduction to imaging

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This experiment is #18 of Advanced Physics with Vernier — Beyond Mechanics. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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