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There are a heap of questions that I get asked regularly here on the blog, so I figured I would put together a frequently asked questions page to help you out as quickly as possible. Simply click the question on the table of contents below to find the answer straight away with no fluff.
What does DSLR stand for in photography?
This one is pretty straight forward. It comes from the old days of photography when people still used film. Basically it describes the mechanical attributes of the camera. It is an acronym that stands for:-
Digital Single Lens Reflex – DSLR
A single lens reflex camera (SLR Camera) is defined by the mechanism where the reflex mirror lifts up to allow the light information to be recorded to the image sensor (film). Refer to the image below to see how light travels through the camera, and how the mechanism operates. Note that the shutter (labelled 3 below) must also be raised after the reflex mirror has been activated.
In the case of an SLR camera this is done using a single frame from a roll of film in an analog manner. The ‘D’ in DSLR’ refers to the digital sensor that captures the light information in the form of 1’s and 0’s on to the camera’s digital media storage device (SD card, CF card, XD card out even wirelessly transmitted using WIFI).
How do point and shoot cameras differ from SLR cameras?
Point and Shoot and SLR cameras have a number of similarities, but also differ in some key ways. Read through the comparison table below:
Point and Shoot
- Very compact
- Smaller lenses that don’t collect as much light – not as good in low light situations
- Lenses are not interchangeable
- Often have very long zooms to compensate for not having the interchangeable lens. This results in less precise mechanics and a general loss of clarity
- Sensor is smaller so it doesn’t perform as well in low light
- Often lack a microphone Jack’s on them which are useful for capturing high quality audio when filming
- Don’t often shoot in RAW
- Far more difficult to control the settings, and are generally made to be set to ‘auto’
SLR (or DSLR)
- Often quite bulky
- Larger lenses mean they collect more light – better for low-light photography
- Interchangeable lenses allow for a more varied options when it comes to zoom lenses and lower aperture lenses
- Much larger sensor allows the gathering of far more light – meaning they generally perform better in low-light scenarios.
- Often come with a microphone jack meaning high quality audio can be gathered easily without the need for additional devices.
- Shoot in RAW format – allowing more data to be collected meaning that the image data is more abundant and the edited photos contain more image data and are of a higher quality.
- Ergonomically designed to give manual access to important controls very easily – meaning they are made to be used in a manual manner.
What is a Viewfinder on a camera?
A Viewfinder is the small window at the top of a camera that allows you to see what you are about to take a photo of. This process is often referred to as ‘framing up a shot’. Viewfinders these days come in two forms. Either a regular viewfinder on a DSLR camera or an Electronic Viewfinder (or EVF) on many of the Mirrorless type digital cameras.
Is a 16 megapixel camera good?
Yes, but also no. While the megapixel rating of a camera has historically been a good indicator of the quality of the camera, it is becoming less and less true.
As more and more low quality camera manufacturers flood the market with inferior and low quality products, they are also continuing to develop poor quality cameras with higher megapixel resolution.
That being said, if the 16 megapixel camera is manufactured by a reputable brand such as Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Pentax or Fujifilm (among a small number of others) then it is generally safe to say that; YES, it is a good camera!
What is framing in photography?
This relates back to the last question. Basically, framing is where you look through the viewfinder in search of the perfectly composed image. That is one that is pleasing to the eye and will look great when seen on a print on the wall, or as an image on social media.
Why is my camera failing?
Well, this is a tricky question to answer, but I will attempt to give you a set of troubleshooting steps to determine the type of problem you are having, along with some of the most common fixes. Here goes…
When is the best time to buy a DSLR camera?
This question can be interpreted in two ways. First of all:
What is the best time of the year to buy a DSLR camera?
What is the best time as an amateur photographer to buy a DSLR camera?
Can Nikon lenses be used on Canon cameras?
There is always a work around. You can purchase an adaptor to allow you to do this. There are some cheap and nasty options, but there are also some solid solutions. I can totally understand why you would want to do this, as buying a whole set of Canon lenses when you have just spent a fortune on a new Canon body really would hurt.
When do red light cameras flash?
I thought this one was hilarious so I had to include it. It doesn’t really fit with the general content of the website, but I guess it is about cameras and flashes, so I will give it a go:
Brad is a seasoned photographer whose journey began in 2006 with a 3.1-megapixel digital camera. Over the years, he has specialized in various photography genres—from weddings and portraiture to product and studio photography. Based on the Sunshine Coast of QLD, Brad combines his love for education and photography, sharing his expertise on DSLRAD.com, a platform committed to capturing life’s treasured moments and empowering photography enthusiasts.