This is a sensor the same size as the 35mm film negative, measuring 36 x 24mm. This is the most desirable camera type for most enthusiasts and pros, but full frame cameras are bigger, heavier and more expensive. Most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras use smaller APS-C sensors. Cameras with full frame sensors give shallower depth of […]
Sigma’s Foveon sensor uses a unique layered design to capture blue, green and red light on separate layers. It mimics the multi-layer construction of colour film. This gets round the limitation of conventional single-layer bayer sensors, where each photosite can only capture red, green or blue light. This means that neighbouring pixels must be used to interpolate the full […]
This is a relatively uncommon sensor size mid-way between APS-C and full frame. Canon used it for its EOS-1D high-speed pro sports/press photography DSLRs before these were merged with the introduction of the full frame EOS-1D X. APS-H sensors measure approximately 30 x 20mm, or a couple of millimetres less. Canon has since announced the […]
This is the most common sensor size in cameras designed for enthusiasts and it’s found in consumer DSLRs, mirrorless compact system cameras and some high-end compacts. As you can see from this diagram, it’s around half the size of a full-frame sensor and much larger than other sensor types (there is an APS-H sensor size […]
Sensor cleaning can be an automatic process carried out by the camera to shake any dust particles from the sensor, but sometimes manual (user) cleaning is needed. This requires a special sensor brush (‘dry’ cleaning) or a swab and sensor cleaning fluid (‘wet’ cleaning). Manual cleaning needs a degree of skill and confidence.
Some DSLRs have an LCD status panel on the top plate for basic shooting information, battery life remaining and other items. This uses a high-contrast display with no backlighting to save power, but it can be hard to see in dim light, so there’s usually a backlight switch too.
These are an option on both DSLRs and in electronic viewfinders. You can use the grid to make sure horizons are level and buildings are vertical – some grids confirm to the ‘rule of thirds’ to help you get a satisfying composition.
Digital cameras automatically give each photo a unique filename, usually consisting of a series of letters and then a number. There is one key option to be aware of – you can have the camera start renumbering from scratch each time you erase/format the memory card, or you can have it continue from the last […]
A lamp on the front of the camera which lights up in low light and shines a bright, tightly focused beam of light at your subject to help the autofocus system lock on to your subject. Not all cameras have or need this kind of focus assistance.
Digital SLRs and compact system cameras use focal plane shutters and these have a design limitation – there is a maximum speed at which the whole sensor is exposed at once. This is the maximum flash synchronisation speed. Beyond this, the sensor is exposed in a moving strip, which is no good for flash.
Stands for Near Field Communication, a wireless transfer system that relies on very close contact between devices – sometimes you simply tap or touch the devices together to establish contact. It can be used for transferring photos from a camera to a compatible printer, for example.