I get a lot of questions around changing aperture on Nikon D3000 and D5000 cameras and why aperture sometimes changes automatically on some lenses. This is a very quick tip on how to change aperture on both D3000 and D5000 (the top view is identical for both).
How to change aperture on Nikon D3000 and Nikon D5000 cameras
- Make sure that your lens aperture can be changed through the camera. If you are using an older lens with an aperture ring, make sure to set the aperture on the lens to the largest number. There should be a lock on the lens to keep it at that number. If you are getting an error on the back LCD of the camera when you press the “Info” button, you should go back and make sure that the aperture ring is set correctly. This is not an issue on most new lenses and the latest generation of the Nikon lenses labeled with a “G” do not have this ring at all. For example, neither the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR nor the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX lens have the aperture ring.
- Changing lens aperture in Aperture Priority mode is very easy – just make sure that the dial on top of the camera is set to “A” position, then rotate the rear command dial to the left to decrease the aperture and to the right to increase it. In Aperture Priority mode, you set the lens aperture manually, while the camera picks the right Shutter Speed for you.
- Changing lens aperture in Manual mode is a little tricky. First, make sure that the dial on the top of the camera is set to “M” position.
- Next, press and hold the +/- button located right below the camera shutter, then rotate the rear command dial to change aperture. Rotating to the left will decrease the aperture, while rotating to the right will increase the aperture.
When you decrease the aperture, the aperture setting will stop at the maximum aperture the lens allows. For example, on the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G lens, aperture will stop at f/1.8. There is also a limit on minimum aperture on each lens and you cannot go higher than that limit as well. Typical minimum lens apertures are f/16, f/22 and f/36.
Lens apertures work a little differently on zoom lenses and the minimum/maximum aperture depends on what focal length you are using on the lens. For example, if you are using the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5 lens and you are zoomed out at 18mm, the smallest aperture number you can use is f/3.5. However, if you zoom in to 55mm, the aperture will be limited to f/5.6 and you will not be able to go lower than that. The same principle works on all other variable aperture zoom lenses.