Is a 1.4 or 1.8 Lens Better?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

When it comes to lenses, the aperture is very important. The aperture of the lens measures the amount of light that gets into the camera’s sensor. It can also affect how bright or dark your photos will be. 

If you are a beginner, you may get confused about the difference between the aperture numbers. The most common is the f/1.4 lenses and the f/1.8 lenses. 

Is a 1.4 or 1.8 Lens Better? 

The type of aperture that you choose should depend on what you want to take a picture of. The f/1.4 is wider than the f/1.8, which means it is a better aperture to use for nighttime photography.

Although the f/1.8 aperture can be used in low light conditions too, it is narrower than the f/1.4, so it can show a bit of distortion on the images. 

AF-S Nikkor f/1.8 camera lens

The f/1.8 Aperture

Lenses with an aperture of f/1.8 are highly recommended for beginners. The lens that comes with your first DSLR camera has an aperture of f/1.8.

Although it is a good lens to start your photography journey with, it has shortcomings. It can be attached to your DSLR camera when you are still getting the hang of it. However, it restricts you from shooting landscapes as it results in blurry or dark corners. 

What makes this aperture great is that it can separate your subject from the background beautifully. It can change your perspective too, and it adds a nice aesthetic touch to your pictures. 

The f/1.4 Aperture

Compared to the f/1.8 aperture, the f/14. is much better. Canon lenses with f/1.4 aperture are normally equipped with a silent motor, so you can zoom in on your subjects quietly. 

The f/1.4 is a bit sharper than the f/1.8. If you compare the picture taken with an f/1.4 aperture to the one taken with an f/1.8, you will see the difference in sharpness. 

The f/1.4 aperture helps a lot when you are taking pictures of your subject while in a low light area. The wide aperture prevents unnecessary blurs and distortion from appearing on your images. 

Difference in Bokeh

The f/1.4 has more bokeh, and it also has better aesthetic quality. The bokeh is larger and smoother than the bokeh that the f/1.8 produces. The bokeh created by an f/1.8 aperture is not noticeable when viewing the images that you’ve taken on full screen. 

f/1.4 camera lens

The color and contrast rendition is also better with f/1.4 aperture compared to f/1.8. The color rendition is more accurate, and the color contrast is more vivid. 

The f/1.4 aperture is ideal for nature, wildlife, and street photography. 

Ideal Aperture for Portrait and Landscape

If you wish to create a shallow depth of field where your subject is sharp while the background and the foreground has a soft and beautiful blur, then you can go for the f/1.4 aperture. 

However, if you want to photograph landscapes, you will need as much depth of field as possible to get the backdrop and foreground looking clear and sharp. It is recommended to get a lens with an f/.18 aperture. 

Related Questions

How Does the Lens Aperture Affect the Photo Exposure?

Aperture can have numerous effects on your pictures. One of them is the brightness of your photos, which is also known as the exposure. 

Changing the size of the aperture in the lens also changes the amount of light that the camera senses, and it affects the brightness of the photos. 

A large aperture has a wide opening, so it will naturally pass a lot of natural light, thus resulting in a brighter image. Meanwhile, a small aperture has a narrower opening; thus, it makes a photo look darker. 

Canon 60D with a 50mm lens

If you are in a dark area, you will need a lens with a large aperture so you can capture as much natural light as possible.

How Does the Lens Aperture Affect the Depth of Field in Pictures?

The lens aperture also has an effect on the picture’s depth of field. The depth of field pertains to the sharpness of the photo from the front all the way to the back. 

If your picture has a background that is out of focus, it means that it has a shallow depth of field. 

Meanwhile, other images have a deep depth of field, which means that the background and the foreground are sharp. 

A narrow aperture creates a lot of background blur and foreground blur. You can use it if you want to isolate the subject from the background. 

As for wide aperture, it results in a narrow amount of background blur, which is ideal for architecture photography. 


If you are thinking of getting into photography, looking for the right aperture for the pictures that you want to take can be confusing. When it comes to the difference between the f/1.8 and the f/1.4, it is safe to say that the f/1.4 is better as it can be used in most genres of photography. 

The aperture of the lens that you choose will depend on the type of photography that you want to do. You can test the apertures of different lenses to know which will work well for you. 

Kaitlin Cooper is an active professional wedding and portrait photographer in San Diego, California at Kaitlin Cooper Photography. She is also a contributor to many large publications, including Bridal GuideBustlePixpaWith Joy, and Hello Giggles.