New To Photography:Camera Parts and Terminology

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This page is a chapter in the book Equipment and Software.
This post provides a simple overview of a DSLR camera and some of the terminology used when discussing cameras.

DSLR Schematic

The following image shows the primary light paths in a DSLR camera. Lower cost camera use a penta mirror set-up rather than a solid pentaprism. Pentaprisms are better optically.

Cross-section view of SLR system.
1 - Multi-element lens
2 - Reflex mirror
3 - Focal-plane shutter
4 - Sensor
5 - Matte focusing screen
6 - Condenser lens
7 - Pentaprism
8 - Eyepiece


A typical DSLR camera (Pentax K10D as an example with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 auto-focus zoom lens).


The top view showing the mode dial and top display. Lower cost camera do not have a top display panel.
The dial on the left is where you set Aperture priority, Shutter Priority, Manual control etc.
The silver button on the right is the shutter release. Press half way to meter and auto-focus and all the way to take a photo.


The front view showing the mirror and reflection of the matte focusing screen.
The dial on the front can be used to set aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation or ISO depending on the mode the camera is set to.
The silver ring surrounding the opening is the bayonet mount for lenses.


The back view showing various controls and the LCD display screen.
The dial on the back right can be used to set aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation or ISO depending on the mode the camera is set to.
The four way arrow control is used to navigate the menu's.


The left view showing a lens and auto-focus control switch.



Lenses

The following is a 50mm f/1.8 fixed focal length lens (as different from a zoom lens).
This is colloquially referred to as a nifty 50.
In this image the lens aperture is wide open at f/1.8.


The following is a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom lens.


The following is a 200-500mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens.
This is a very big and expensive lens.






Sensor Sizes


Most current DSLR cameras use an APS-C sized sensor (which is around a half of the area of a 35mm film frame) and the latest upmarket models use a full frame sensor (i.e. the same size of 35mm film) sensor. You can divide the number of pixels (mega pixels) by the area to get a pixel density. Olympus use the 4/3 system. The following image show most of the sensor sizes used in digital cameras.


License for images on this post:
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License". http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Co...tation_License
and Bill Bertram 2007, CC-BY-2.5 Attribution
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