In this mode the camera keeps taking pictures for as long as you hold down the shutter release button. The speed it can take them is the continuous shooting speed, which is quoted in frames per second (fps), and the number the camera can take is determined by the size of the image files, the […]
This is a big topic! It hardly needs saying that cameras are complex in design terms and filled with complex technology too. Inevitably, then, this list of topics related to camera features is very long indeed and extends over several pages.
Different devices can’t always display the same range of colours, so your camera may be able to record a wider range of colours than your computer monitor or tablet can display, for example – in other words, the monitor offers a smaller ‘colour space’. To get round this, there are two main RGB colour spaces […]
This is one of the various light metering patterns offered on most digital cameras. It’s a relatively crude system which averages the light across the whole scene but gives special emphasis to the centre. It’s less reliable for for novices shooting in a wide variety of conditions, but its simple response to scenes actually makes […]
This is another name for ‘continuous shooting’ mode and it’s the term used by cheaper point-and-shoot cameras – though it’s actually the same thing. In this mode, the camera keeps taking pictures all the time you hold down the shutter button, right up until the time you release the button or the camera’s internal memory […]
Usually, the camera’s exposure time is set by the shutter speed you’ve selected, so that the exposure ends automatically. But in Bulb mode the shutter stays open for as long as the shutter button is held down, so it’s used a lot for night photography, where exposures can range from 30 seconds to 30 minutes […]
This is short-term internal memory used by the camera to store image data captured by the sensor while it’s waiting to be processed and saved to the memory card. It becomes important in the camera’s continuous shooting mode because the camera can capture photos faster than it can save them, so before long this buffer […]
Taking the same shot at a series of different exposures with the intention of choosing the best one later or merging them together to create an HDR image. Most cameras offer an auto exposure bracketing option. You choose the bracketing interval (the difference between the exposures, typically 1EV) and the number of frames (usually 3, […]
This is usually quoted as the number of shots you can expect to be able to take before the camera’s battery runs out. Compact cameras may only be able to take a couple of hundred pictures, while a DSLR might be able to take a thousand. Battery life is normally quoted using the CIPA standard […]
Most cameras use dedicated rechargeable lithium-ion cells, but some accessories like external flashguns, battery grips and hotshoe mounted LEd panels use regular AA cells instead.
Usually the camera will autofocus when you half press the shutter release button, but on more advanced cameras it’s possible to split off focus activation and assign it to a button on the back of the camera. Sports and action photographers generally find this a much more instinctive way to take pictures but it is […]
This is a very simple type of exposure reading where the camera’s light meter just measures the total amount of light in the whole scene. It often leads to underexposure because bright areas in the scene have a disproportionate effect. Today’s digital cameras offer a range of more sophisticated exposure metering patterns and only a […]
On simpler cameras the Auto ISO option simply increases the ISO setting in poor light to keep shutter speeds high enough to avoid camera shake. On more advanced cameras you can program in both the maximum ISO you want to use and the minimum shutter speed, which makes Auto ISO much more useful.
This the picture’s proportions as width versus height. DSLR sensors have a 3:2 ratio, so that photographs are 3 units wide to 2 units high. Most compact camera sensors have a slightly squarer 4:3 aspect ratio. It doesn’t matter what the units are – the ratio stays the same, so a photo could measure 3 […]
A rear LCD screen that can be flipped out and swivelled to face in any direction. This can be especially useful for filming video clips and for composing still images in confined spaces or at awkward angles. Some cameras offer tilting LCDs instead. These have a more restricted range of movements (up and down) but […]
This is an exposure mode on more advanced cameras where you choose the lens aperture yourself and the camera then sets a shutter speed that gives you the correct exposure. This gives you creative control over depth of field, for example, without losing the convenience of automatic exposure.
In dim lighting the camera’s autofocus system may struggle to lock on to your subject, but on some cameras a lamp on the front of the camera will light up in low light and shines a bright, tightly focused beam of light at your subject to help the autofocus system lock on. Not all cameras […]
This stands for AE (auto-exposure) and AF (autofocus) lock. Often it’s useful to fix the exposure settings and focus point ahead of taking a picture and on most cameras you can do this by half-pressing the shutter button, holding it in position, then reframing the picture. By default, the AE-L/AF-L button does the same, locking […]