Pretty self-explanatory really – an LCD screen offering touch control for camera settings, setting the focus point, menus and more. These are becoming increasingly popular on compact cameras and mirrorless models as a way of supplementing or replacing knobs and dials.

Tilting screen

One that tilts up and down but doesn’t flip out and rotate in all directions (an ‘articulating’ screen). Tilting screens are nonetheless useful for composing pictures with the camera at waist or ground level or above head height.

Status LCD

More advanced DSLRs have a secondary LCD display on the top so that you can check the main shooting settings without needing the rear screen. Status displays are black and white (or black on green) and usually have a backlight button for use in dark conditions.

OLED display

OLED stands for ‘organic light emitting diode’. It’s a more advanced display tech than regular LCDs with wider viewing angles, faster response, better brightness and reduced power consumption. The OLED electronic viewfinder is a selling point in the Fujifilm X-T1, for example.

Live view

Where the camera displays what the sensor is capturing either on the rear LCD or in an electronic viewfinder. All compact cameras and mirrorless cameras are effectively in ‘live view’ all the time. It’s only out of the ordinary on a DSLR, which has to go into a special mirror-up ‘live view’ mode.

LCD backlight

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.

LCD display

The key specs here are the size, measured across the diagonal, and the resolution, measured in thousands of dots. For example, you might get a 3-inch LCD with 921k (921,000) dots.


A graphical display of the brightness values in the picture. The darkest tones are at the left and the brightest on the right, and the vertical bars show the number of pixels for each brightness value. Histograms are an invaluable exposure aid when taking pictures, and when editing them later.

Exposure preview

Some cameras can simulate the effect of exposure adjustments on the LCD screen or electronic viewfinder (this is not possible with an optical viewfinder), making the image lighter or darker as you adjust the exposure. It’s not a precise guide to exposure but it can be useful.

Articulating LCD

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 are still more versatile than regular fixed screens.