Get To Know Your Camera (Part 1) - Camera icons explained

6/7/2012 6:31:35 PM

Mode dial

Change the settings on the camera using the mode dial

Description: Mode dial

Shutter release

This button is used to take the picture. On most cameras, pressing it halfway in Auto will focus the image

Description: Shutter release


The light enters the camera here. Lenses can be changed on some camera models


The hotshoe allows you to attach an external flash to the camera

Description: Hotshoe

Lens release

Press this button to remove the lens from your camera

Description: Lens release


If your camera has an on-board flash, press this button to use it

Description: Flash


For options such as formatting your memory card

Description: Menu


An optical viewfinder shows the image through the lens      

Description: Viewfinder


Zoom in on your image to check it’s in focus

Description: Zoom


Use the control panel to change settings, scroll through menu options or move around a photo when in Playback mode

Description: Controls

LCD screen

Displays an electronic view of the scene in front of the lens

Description: LCD screen

Different types of camera

Don't know a superzoom from a CSC? Read on…

Interchangeable lens

Description: Interchangeable lens

Refers to DSLR cameras and Compact System Cameras (CSC) as they both offer the ability to switch lenses


·         Great image quality

·         Fast shooting speed

·         Manual and Auto


·         Can be expensive

·         Can be complex

·         Can be heavy

Fixed lens

Description: Fixed lens

Includes compact cameras and superzooms. As the name suggests, the lens cannot be changed making them simpler


·         Easy to use

·         Light and versatile

·         Lots of features


·         Fewer manual options

·         Can be slow

·         Less adaptable

Cameraphones/ smartphones

Description: Cameraphones/ smartphones

The main contenders are currently Apple’s iPhone and the Android Smartphone. You can buy accessories and apps for achieving different effects


·         Light and compact

·         Cool app add-ons

·         Share instantly


·         Small lens and sensor

·         Flattens perspective

·         Fewer features

Camera icons explained

Make sure your camera is always on the correct setting by following this guide

If you’re using a compact camera, then most of your controls will be on the back. A DSLR or Compact System Camera will usually have a mode dial on top. Either way, the icons for setting the camera to shoot in different conditions and for basic operation such as deleting images are usually universal


If all else fails, let your camera do the hard work for you


Boosts saturation in blues and greens for vivid outdoor shots


Customise your most used settings in Program

Shutter priority

Select the shutter speed and the camera will change the aperture


Select the aperture while the camera chooses shutter speed


For super-flattering shots of your friends and family


Uses a fast shutter speed to capture action without blur


For shooting close-ups such as flowers and insect

Jargon buster


Affects the amount of your image that is in focus - the ‘depth of field’


Compact system camera


Digital single lens reflex camera

Drive mode

Continuous or burst mode, single shot and self timer

Dynamic range

The term used to refer to the amount of detail in the highlights and shadows


A balanced exposure has detail in light and shadow areas alike

Exposure compensation

Adjusts the tonal range of your photo, lighter or darker

Focal lengths

Wide-angle - a wider angle of view than normal, eg 28mm Telephoto - a magnified view of distant subjects, eg 200mm


Autofocus means your camera focuses for you; manual puts you in control


Refers to how sensitive the sensor is to light and affects the visible grain or ‘noise’ in a photo


The display screen on the rear of the camera used to compose images

Live view

An electronic view of the scene in front of the lens


Refers to the way the camera reads the light in the scene


Number of pixels on the sensor, in millions


Refers to the visible digital grain in a photo

Shutter speed

Fast speeds freeze action while longer ones blur any motion


Optical - shows you the view through the camera lens and is good for accurate framing Electronic - shows the view on an LCD in the viewfinder

White balance

Affected by the ambient light around you, your camera can alter this to ensure a natural colour result


Optical - the magnification provided by the camera lens Digital - a camera crop factor

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