Digital Photography Lesson 1: Parts of a Camera

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Introduction

Digital photography is a convenient way to take and store pictures. In this tutorial, you will learn the basic parts of a point and shoot digital camera and how to manipulate them to get the photographs you want. For our purposes we will be using a FujiFilm FinePix A150 camera, but it is similar to other entry level digital cameras.

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What are the Parts of a Camera?

The new digital cameras are very similar in looks to the film cameras of old. They still use a flash and a lens to capture the image. The difference lies in the internal components of the camera. Since film is no longer needed, the time to view and process the pictures is almost instantaneous. Holding and snapping the photos you want quickly becomes a fun task.

Below we have noted the most important parts to be aware of on a typical point and shoot camera.

The Camera Front and Top:

Camera front with parts labeled

Flash: Allows for photography in low light conditions.

Lens: Focuses the image seen at close or far ranges.

On/Off button: Used to turn the camera on and off.

Shutter button: This button takes the picture.

The Camera Back:

camera back with parts labeled

Indicator lamp: Shows the camera's status.  When it is solid green, your camera is ready to take a pictue.

Monitor Screen: The screen where you will frame your image for your picture.

Display/back button: Allows you to see the photo you just took/allows you to go back to a previous photo.

Playback button: Allows you to see what has been shot and to sort through the frames using the selector button.

Selector button: This button has many functions, which we will try out later.

Mode dial: On some cameras (but not on this one) a dial that allows the user to switch between various manual to automatic settings.

The back of the camera looks quite different from what most of us are used to, and while some of the digital cameras still have a viewfinder, most use the monitor screen instead. Since the monitor screen is larger, most find it easier to “frame” the picture they want. With this kind of all-automatic  camera, the camera does all the work for you, sensing the distance, light, and speed with which to accomplish the picture. You choose what to photograph, the camera will capture it. You can set some settings yourself, even with a “point and shoot” type camera. You will find those controls on the selector button.

The Camera Bottom:

Side view of camera with parts labeled

Battery chamber: This is where the batteries are stored. This camera takes 2 AA batteries, either regular alkaline batteries or nickel cadmium or lithium ion rechargeable batteries.  Some cameras are able to use an AC adaptor plugged into a household outlet, but this one does not have that feature.

Memory card slot: A slot that houses a removable storage card containing your photos.  This camera uses a type of memory card called an SD memory card.  It also has some internal memory to store photos if there is no memory card inserted.

The Camera Side:

USB Cable Connector: The connection port that allows you to connect a USB cable from your camera to the computer so you can download your photos.

Audio Visual Cable Connector: Allows you to use an A/V cable to connect to a TV or computer to run movies or show slideshows.

In order to get your pictures from your camera to your computer, you will need to download your photo information. Your camera should come with its own connector cable that you will need to use. One end plugs into your camera at the USB port, and the other end plugs into your computer at one of the computer's USB ports.

Important!

Your camera needs to be set up according to the instructions in the owner's manual in order to function fully. Please read and follow individual instructions carefully.

Interesting Tidbit

Your camera may shut off (hibernate) if nothing is done within a few seconds. It is not broken, but is conserving battery energy. Simply pick it back up and turn it on again.

Vocabulary and Glossary

Flash
Allows for photography in low light conditions.
Lens
Focuses the image seen at close or far ranges.
On/Off button
Turns the camera on and off.
Shutter button
Takes a picture.
Indicator lamp
Shows the camera's status.
Monitor Screen
The screen where you will frame your image for your picture.
Display/Back Button
Allows you to see the photo you just took/allows you to go back to a previous photo.
Playback button
Allows you to see what has been shot and to sort through the frames using the toggle buttons.
Selector button
A button that allows the user to select various options, such as the self-timer and flash, and to perform actions such as erasing photos and selecting options from menus.
Mode Dial
(On some models) A dial that allows the user to switch between various manual to automatic settings.
Battery chamber
The place in the camera where batteries are stored. The batteries are usually rechargeable.
Memory Card
A removable device that stores photos.
Memory Card Slot
The place a memory card is inserted.
USB cable connector
The connection port that allows you to connect a cable from your camera to the computer so you can download your photos.
Audio Visual cable connector
Allows you to use a cable to connect to a TV or computer to run movies or play a slideshow.

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More Information

Digital for Dummies:
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/photography-video/digital-photography.html

Digital cameras - a beginner's guide:
http://photo.net/equipment/digital/basics/

Photo tips:
http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2002/10/22/digi_photo_tips.html

More photo tips:
http://www.digital-photography-tips.net/

Tips for beginners:
http://digital-photography-school.com/digital-photography-tips-for-beginners

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