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Questions tagged [camera-basics]

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

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69 votes
5 answers
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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 ...
mattdm's user avatar
  • 143k
57 votes
9 answers
144k 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?
Dan McClain's user avatar
  • 2,087
46 votes
12 answers
42k 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 ...
David's user avatar
  • 545
53 votes
8 answers
11k 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 ...
mattdm's user avatar
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34 votes
6 answers
48k 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 around ...
William C's user avatar
  • 1,524
13 votes
3 answers
90k views

How can I take a photo with everything in focus with my DSLR?

I am quite new to DSLRs and one of the first things I noticed was the incredible focus points and appearance of depth that you can achieve. That is great in a lot of scenarios, but not in all. When ...
Bram Vanroy's user avatar
68 votes
4 answers
153k views

What does f-stop mean?

What does f-stop mean? Is it the same thing when people say "2 stops" for example?
matt burns's user avatar
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13 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is sync speed? [duplicate]

When referring to flash exposure, what does "max sync speed" mean?
Canon Gangsta's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
12k 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 ...
fmark's user avatar
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29 votes
7 answers
3k 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?
jfoucher's user avatar
  • 1,087
22 votes
5 answers
24k views

How can a lens with a single focal length focus on more than one plane?

By definition, a prime lens is a fixed lens system with a fixed focal length. Then, simple physics tells us that it should be able to focus only on one plane (at a fixed distance) in front of it. But ...
Lazer's user avatar
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15 votes
7 answers
8k 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 ...
Imre's user avatar
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78 votes
16 answers
32k 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 ...
Aquarius_Girl's user avatar
32 votes
4 answers
12k views

What is focal length and how does it affect my photos?

What is focal-length? Are focal-length and zoom synonymous? How does the focal length of a photo affect it? Are there common uses for different focal lengths, and how can I decide what to use when?
Dan McClain's user avatar
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25 votes
8 answers
4k 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 entry-...
Anton Gogolev's user avatar
13 votes
8 answers
20k views

How can I get everything in focus? (Why can't my camera just use all of its focus points at the same time?)

I have a Canon 550D with 70-200 f4 and 50mm prime lenses. Although the camera has built-in 9 focal points, I sometimes face a strange problem. Here's a sample photo: In reference to the above pic, ...
Rish's user avatar
  • 1,330
14 votes
5 answers
11k views

What does 'how much zoom' mean?

I have Canon 18-135 and 70-300 zoom lenses. People ask me how much zoom my camera supports. What am I supposed to tell them? "135 ÷ 18 = 7.5" and "300 ÷ 70 = 4.2"?
Lazer's user avatar
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26 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
Andrew Stacey's user avatar
81 votes
16 answers
20k 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 ...
Hamish Downer's user avatar
19 votes
4 answers
8k 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 ...
Lazer's user avatar
  • 4,049
21 votes
4 answers
22k 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 ...
fmark's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
Matheus Moreira's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is camera lens focus an exact point or a range?

I have often wondered if the focus of a lens at a particular focal length is an exact point or a range within a few millimeters. This becomes all the more important when manually focussing. How far ...
Anil Joseph's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
3k views

What is mirror lockup and what is its primary function?

My SLR is equipped with the mirror lockup function. What does it do, and when would I employ such a feature?
Canon Gangsta's user avatar
18 votes
3 answers
3k views

What makes a camera an "SLR"?

My question, specifically: why is the Fujifilm HS 10 not an SLR?
cambraca's user avatar
  • 395
31 votes
7 answers
8k 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 ...
kacalapy's user avatar
  • 7,908
14 votes
5 answers
37k 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?
John's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
6k views

What are the advantages of a lens having a fixed maximum aperture?

What are the advantages of a lens having a Fixed Maximum Aperture? Previous answers have indicated that "pros tend to want constant apertures in zoom lenses". While in general lenses with a fixed ...
fmark's user avatar
  • 2,641
6 votes
1 answer
11k views

Why the faces in the corner tends to skew a bit in almost all smartphone cameras

I have noticed in almost all the smart phones I have used, the faces of people in the corners (either side) tends to skew a bit in all smartphone cameras. Is it something the lens is not as good as ...
Java_User's user avatar
  • 173
1 vote
2 answers
311 views

What does different focal length offer me?

I have a beginner photographer and I have spent a lot of time learning the basics (exposures, lenses, focal lengths, crop factor etc). It's all good except I'm not so sure when I need to buy lenses of ...
erotsppa's user avatar
  • 3,298
25 votes
5 answers
9k views

Why doesn't the picture become darker the more you zoom in?

As your lens's focal length gets longer, fewer photons pass through the lens to hit the mirror/sensor. Why don't you see darkening when you look into the viewfinder and zoom in with a zoom lens, and ...
clickbait's user avatar
  • 1,293
20 votes
6 answers
43k views

Is there a formula to calculate DOF?

I am pretty clear about that DOF depends on: Focal length Aperture or f-stop Distance from subject Sensor size and more (as pointed out in this comment). But my question is: Is there any formula ...
vivek_jonam's user avatar
  • 3,506
10 votes
4 answers
7k views

What are the technical differences between using a DSLR viewfinder and live view?

The earlier question What are the advantages of using the optical viewfinder over live preview to take photos on a DSLR? asks for practical advantages of optical viewfinders. But what's the technical ...
Kiril Kirov's user avatar
  • 1,335
44 votes
18 answers
5k 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 everywhere!...
14 votes
15 answers
27k 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 ...
Snowman's user avatar
  • 707
1 vote
3 answers
36k views

In what way does shutter speed affect a photo?

Is there a rule like "the lower the speed the better quality?" I tried taking at different speeds but couldn't understand the difference.
Uday Kanth's user avatar
26 votes
9 answers
14k 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 ...
Uticensis's user avatar
  • 564
21 votes
5 answers
3k 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?
Lazer's user avatar
  • 4,049
21 votes
4 answers
2k 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
Dan McClain's user avatar
  • 2,087
7 votes
6 answers
24k views

What is the relationship between focal length and shutter speed?

I am very new to photography and am trying to grasp the basics of it these days. Can someone please help me understand the relationship between focal length of a lens and shutter speed of camera?
Atul Kumar's user avatar
28 votes
3 answers
12k 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?
Lazer's user avatar
  • 4,049
13 votes
2 answers
9k 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?
Canon Gangsta's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
6k views

Are mirror-less cameras good enough to buy instead of a DSLR for home/amateur use?

I'm an amateur photographer looking to buy a camera for my home use. I called myself "photographer" just because I actually can press the button and take a photo! My first digital camera was VGA ...
Mohsen's user avatar
  • 527
7 votes
4 answers
431 views

How do I start using a hotshoe flash?

I've just been given a Sigma EF-500 DG ST flash unit. I've not really had much experience using flash. How can I get started? Are there any good learning resources?
Simon's user avatar
  • 1,024
6 votes
2 answers
3k views

Which mode should I use on my camera?

On the top of most cameras is a selector knob which will allow you to select different modes. These range depending on the camera, my camera (Nikon D5100) has several choices. I have been told ...
L84's user avatar
  • 3,578
6 votes
3 answers
4k views

First time - Night Club Photography - what gear do I need?

One of my friends wants me to shoot some picture of him/people at the club where he is a DJ. But I just started out so I don't have so much knowledge on it so I need some help. My gear: Sony α6300 ...
RisingCode's user avatar
30 votes
9 answers
75k 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?
Shoban's user avatar
  • 760
27 votes
4 answers
4k 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 ...
Lazer's user avatar
  • 4,049
12 votes
5 answers
11k views

What is flash duration?

When speaking in terms of flash specifications, what is flash duration and how does it impact exposure?
Canon Gangsta's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
2k views

Why are the color spaces we have access to incomplete?

The question, then: If all colors are combinations of red, green and blue, and my monitor's pixels use all three, why is its color space limited to so small a portion of the actual complete color ...
Wombat Pete's user avatar