Camera types

Digital cameras come in a multitude of different types and sizes, and some of the jargon can be quite unhelpful. For example, ‘compact’ cameras aren’t necessarily compact and the real difference is that they have non-removable lenses. DSLRs and CSCs...

Alpha (Sony)

‘Alpha’ is the generic brand name used by Sony for its interchangeable lens cameras. This can be confusing because Sony makes cameras in two types – SLT (single lens translucent) and mirrorless models. Both are Alphas, but the Alpha A9 (mirrorless) and...

SLT (single lens translucent)

SLT cameras are made by Sony as a kind of hybrid of the regular digital SLR design and the always-on live view of a mirrorless camera. They do have a mirror in the body, but it doesn’t flip up and down when you fire the shutter. Instead, it has a translucent...

Alpha (Sony)

‘Alpha’ is the generic brand name used by Sony for its interchangeable lens cameras. This can be confusing because Sony makes cameras in two types – SLT (single lens translucent) and mirrorless models. Both are Alphas, but the Alpha A9 (mirrorless) and...

A-mount (Sony)

The lens mount used by Sony’s Alpha SLT cameras. Because these cameras have a mirror in the body, even though it’s a non-moving one, the rear of the lens is further from the sensor, so Alpha mount lenses are physically different to Sony’s E-mount...

Quick release (QR) plate

This is an attachment for tripod heads designed to make it quicker to remove the camera for handheld photography and re-attach it. You attach the quick release plate to the camera with a slotted screw or butterfly nut, then clip the quick release plate on to the...

Gain control

Gain is a term you’re likely to meet in video rather than stills photography. It basically means turning up the input signal strength to record a decent value. Videographers are more likely to talk about increasing the ISO setting rather than the...

Stepping motor

As the name suggests, stepping motors move in small, incremental steps. They are simple, reliable and offer a good deal of control and precision. They’re now being used by Canon (STM lenses) and Nikon (AF-P lenses) in a number of consumer-orientated lenses,...

Go Pro mount

A mounting system first developed by GoPro but now used widely by other action camera and accessory makers. In theory, any GoPro mount compatible item should be compatible with any...

Cold shoe

Most cameras have a hotshoe for attaching flashguns and other accessories. These are ‘hot’ because they have the electrical contacts needed to connect with and trigger the accessory that’s been added. A cold shoe is simply the same kind of mounting...

Micro Four Thirds (MFT)

This is a sensor and lens format used by Olympus and Panasonic for their mirrorless camera ranges. The MFT sensor measures 17.3 x 13.0mm, so it’s smaller than the APS-C sensors used in rival mirrorless cameras. This does have a modest effect on overall image...