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Camera basics are the timeless and generic aspects of cameras; even as technology evolves, these things will remain essentially the same.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

93
votes
8answers
19k views

What is the “exposure triangle”?

What is the exposure triangle? How do the "sides" affect my photographs?
59
votes
12answers
8k views

What advantages does manual mode have over aperture priority mode?

I'm wondering what are the most compelling reasons to switch to manual mode on my DSLR. I mostly just use aperture priority mode so I have good control over the depth of field combined with an ...
51
votes
4answers
37k views

What does f-stop mean?

What does f-stop mean? Is it the same thing when people say "2 stops" for example?
47
votes
10answers
3k views

Is it lenses which make your photographs, not camera bodies?

I read somewhere on this site itself that you should spend more on your lenses and less on your camera bodies. Is it a myth or a fact that mostly it is the lenses which make your photographs not the ...
47
votes
4answers
3k views

What exactly determines depth of field?

There are several questions here about the definition of depth of field, about focal length, and about subject distance. And of course there's the basic how does aperture affect my photographs. And ...
43
votes
18answers
3k views

What are common beginner mistakes in photography?

What are common mistakes seen in images taken by beginning photographers? For example, a friend of mine pointed out that the horizon was not straight in one of my images, and now I see it ...
35
votes
8answers
35k views

What is aperture, and how does it affect my photographs?

How does aperture affect my photographs? Why should I care about the aperture with which a photo was taken?
34
votes
12answers
17k views

How can I get dramatic shallow DOF with a kit lens?

I'm currently using an entry-level DSLR with 18-55mm lens and having great trouble trying to creating a blurred background effect in my photos. Now matter what aperture or shutter speed I choose, I'm ...
34
votes
8answers
4k views

Do megapixels matter with modern sensor technology?

Are more megapixels good? Are more megapixels bad? Do more megapixels increase detail? Do they make my images sharper? On the other side, is there a point that is too much? Do megapixels cause ...
26
votes
7answers
5k views

When to use shutter priority instead of aperture priority?

Under what circumstances would you use aperture priority vs. shutter priority and vice-versa? I typically don’t use shutter priority (ever) and favor aperture priority to try to get a max aperture ...
24
votes
8answers
9k views

Can I leave the batteries in my camera?

I recently bought a Canon 1000d DSLR. I'm just an amateur and don't use my camera daily. I use it once or twice a week. Is it okay if I leave the batteries in the camera during this idle time?
23
votes
7answers
2k views

What are good resources for a beginning photographer?

What are good resources (tutorials/books/videos/etc) for a beginning photographer? Keep in mind that this is for a beginning photographer, who has recently moved from a point-and-shoot to an ...
22
votes
4answers
571 views

What's “real” and what's “virtual” on a (digital) camera?

I recently upgraded from a standard compact digital camera to one of the newish "halfway cameras", hoping to get a bit better at taking photographs through having a little more control over the ...
22
votes
3answers
6k views

How can a 18-55mm lens focus on objects beyond 55mm?

I guess this is a total noob question, but doesn't 18-55mm mean that it can focus only up to 55mm?
20
votes
4answers
3k views

What makes a DSLR camera “entry-level”?

When I look around the questions on this site, I feel everyone can clearly tell what makes a DSLR camera "entry-level". But I have no clue on how to tell. What makes a camera model "entry" level or ...
20
votes
6answers
7k views

What is one “stop”?

I always hear this term, e.g., I had to go down one stop Increasing X by Y raises Z by one stop I turned down the flash/the light two stops This lens/sensor/strobe/Photoshop tweak raises X by ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are there limitations to the upper limit of exposure time in digital cameras?

For example, my Canon 550D will only go as far as 30 sec (and then of course the bulb mode). For measuring exposure, I think all the camera needs is a timer, and I have no doubt they would have to do ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

What exactly is flash sync speed, and should it be a factor in a buying decision?

What exactly is flash sync speed and should it be a factor in a buying decision?
20
votes
5answers
2k views

What is mirror lockup and what is its primary function?

My SLR is equipped with a mirror lockup function. What does it do, and when would I employ such a feature?
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does a 15-second exposure on my camera actually last 16 seconds?

I was doing a test and wanted the shutter to stay open for 15 seconds -- no problem, I have a 15-second exposure setting in my camera. It seemed to stay open for about an extra second, though, so I ...
18
votes
4answers
12k views

How do I “focus and recompose” using spot metering?

I usually use the "[auto]focus and recompose" method for taking candid photographs. In situations where there is a high degree of contrast, I would like to use spot metering to correct expose for ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What makes a camera an “SLR”?

My question, specifically: why is the Fujifilm HS 10 not an SLR?
17
votes
5answers
2k views

How does a circular lens produce rectangular shots?

Is it something like the sensor captures a circular image and then what we get is the cropped version? Something like this: Or did I get it completely wrong?
17
votes
6answers
5k views

What are the advantages of using the optical viewfinder over live preview to take photos on a DSLR?

Forgive this novice question, I am basically a complete newbie to photography. Really, all I've ever used for most my of short life have been point-and-shoots; I've only recently started to pick up ...
17
votes
3answers
9k views

How do I predict exposure when using flash?

So I've got the basics down for the exposure triangle, but sometimes you just need to add more light to the room and the flash can be the most convenient way of doing that. The problem is that the ...
17
votes
4answers
747 views

What is ISO and how does it affect my photos

What is the ISO setting on my camera? What does it represent? What should I be aware of with regards to ISO when taking photographs
16
votes
3answers
739 views

What is Bulb Mode?

My camera has a 'bulb mode,' and several questions on photo-SE refer to using Bulb Mode. A few questions: What is 'Bulb Mode?' Why is it called 'Bulb Mode?' What is 'Bulb Mode used for?
15
votes
2answers
7k views

How iPhone 5S can have such a big aperture? f/2.2?

I thought that in order to have a big aperture such as f/2.2 a big amount of light should be able to enter to the sensor and in order to do it, a big lens was needed. How is it possible that in the ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

What are general rules for ISO settings?

Being a novice in photography and reading about preferable settings of my camera I'm a little bit confused about ISO settings. Sometimes I'm advised to set as little ISO as possible to have higher ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between teleconverters and extension tubes?

I'm aware of two devices that can extend the reach of a lens: the teleconverter and the extension tubes. What else would they have in common, and where do they differ? Are there situations where one ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Is there a difference in the sensor technology in entry level cameras vs. that in pro or semi-pro DSLRs?

Obviously there are differences in everything, both optics-wise and mechanism-wise, but I would like to know: Are the materials used to construct sensors (disregarding sensor size) different at any ...
13
votes
2answers
523 views

How do I use the +/- scale of the light meter in my camera?

I have just recently used the metering scale. I assume that if the scale arrow points in the middle, this means that the camera detects that the current exposure settings are the "right" ones. ...
12
votes
14answers
8k views

Why would I use manual camera controls instead of the automatic modes?

I'm very new to digital photography, so I still haven't gotten the hang of all this exposure and ISO stuff, etc. I have a Canon EOS T3. My question is how big of a difference does it make using ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

How can a lens like a 18-55mm have more than one focal length?

How can a lens have a range of focal lengths? Shouldn't it be a single number? Isn't focal length supposed to be fixed for a lens of a particular shape and geometry? What am I missing? How many ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the small +- wheel next to my view port for?

I had a scare last night when everything in my view port looked blurry on my brand new Canon 60D, even the digital display a red focus boxes. The images photos came out clear, the live view was ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

What is a normal lens?

I've heard people call 50mm lenses "normal lenses". For a lens to be considered normal, does it have to be exactly 50mm or is there some leeway? Does the normal focal length depend on crop factor of ...
12
votes
4answers
348 views

What is it called when an object appears to be the same size with the eye and through the camera viewfinder?

I have a Canon 18-135 lens. I am looking into the camera viewfinder with my right eye and not through the viewfinder with my left. I start from 18mm and keep zooming in till I see a particular object ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

Why are effective pixels greater than the actual resolution?

This page compares Canon EOS 550D and Canon EOS 500D cameras and mentions 18.7 million effective pixels for 550D. However the best resolution possible using this camera is 5184 * 3456 = ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

What is a remote shutter release?

What is a remote shutter release? In what kind of photo situation would I use a shutter release?
11
votes
8answers
66k views

How does 18 megapixels compare to 12 megapixels? [duplicate]

I'm purchasing a digital camera & it says, "Effective pixels: Approx. 18.00 Megapixels". What is this compared to 12.00 megapixels?
11
votes
5answers
7k views

Is there a formula to calculate DOF?

I am pretty clear about that DOF depends on: Focal length Aperture Distance from subject Sensor size and more (as pointed in the comment). But what is the question here is: Is there any formula ...
11
votes
3answers
936 views

How do I use the different shutter speeds my camera offers?

If I use a shutter speed below 1/30 on my Nikon P100, I get extremely dark images which are completely unusable. If I use the flash, it comes out fairly bright but just not natural. My camera ...
10
votes
5answers
950 views

Why do fixed lens cameras have a motorized zoom while interchangeable lens cameras don't?

I would like to know why motorized zoom (controlled by a W/T lever) is always on fixed-lens cameras and never on interchangeable lens cameras.
10
votes
5answers
6k views

What does the f-stop printed on the lens refer to?

I have read this,so I know what an f-stop is, but what does the number on printed the lens signify? Is this is the maximum f-stop, the ideal, or something else?
10
votes
7answers
657 views

What are the properties of a camera that affect taking pictures in poor lighting?

I had recently bought a Nikon CoolPix L110, which was stolen a few months later. In searching for a replacement, I'd like to get something that takes better pictures in poor lighting. The zoom on ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What is sync speed?

When referring to flash exposure, what does "max sync speed" mean?
9
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the meaning of W and T on a camera's zoom buttons?

On every conventional digital camera (excluding the models with detachable lenses), there are buttons to zoom in and out with W side and T side. When you press W, the lens zooms out. The lens zooms ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

How does 'Tv mode' translate to shutter priority mode?

What do the T and v stand for? Public-domain image from Wikipedia.
9
votes
7answers
1k views

Why do cell phones have the camera in a corner and not in the middle?

It seems counter intuitive because of how you hold the cell phone.
9
votes
4answers
4k views

What is a rolling shutter? When do I have to be aware of it?

In answer to another question, Adam Davis writes: Your camera complicates this by using a rolling shutter above a given speed (usually around 1/200. This means that only a portion of the ...