June 10, 2017

Watch: The Easiest Way to Memorize the F-Stop Scale

If you can't keep track of all of those f-numbers, then you should learn this essential trick.

Knowing the f-stop scale is important if you want to quickly and accurately expose your images, however many of us have a difficult time memorizing it. If you're like me and can't remember your own phone number half the time let alone a long sequence of f-stops, then this super simple equation will help you be able to do it with ease. Filmmaker Griffin Hammond shows you how to do it in the video below:

This method of memorizing the f-stop scale is so simple that I'm wondering why I never learned it in college. As Hammond explains, all you really have to remember are two numbers: 1 and 1.4. After that, you know the entire f-stop scale, because all you have to do is double the f-number to get the next in the sequence.

For example:

1, 1.4 (That's the beginning of the sequence. Now, double them to get the next in the sequence.)

1, 1.4, 2, 2.8 (Now that you have those, keep going. You'll have to round a few numbers up/down occasionally.)

1, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11 (Yes, doubling 5.6 gets you 11.2, but we round down to 11.)

So, there you have it. Now you know how to memorize the f-stop scale using some simple math.      

Your Comment

6 Comments

A more comprehensive article would be about the square root of 2 and its significance to lenses the inverse square law, and the human eye and why they call it a log curve. Thats the real math that filmmakers need to understand.

June 10, 2017 at 6:17PM, Edited June 10, 6:17PM

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Indie Guy
648

Except, you know, then it wouldn't be a 2 minute quicky lesson on a handy mnemonic trick. Which is also good.

June 11, 2017 at 3:36PM

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Awesome...!!
Super short and simple lesson.

June 11, 2017 at 4:18AM, Edited June 11, 4:18AM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
604

Hard to watch on your site with your auto playing with audio ads blaring through after telling it to pause 3 times.

June 11, 2017 at 9:07AM

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Ethan
Producer/Writer/Director/Prop Maker
183

Or you could do an article on t-stops what with this being a film not photography site...

June 12, 2017 at 3:18PM

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keith
361

5.6 x 2 does not equal 11

June 16, 2017 at 10:12PM

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