I. Common Camera Terms
F–stop settings which allow varying degrees of light to enter through the lens, affecting the depth of field; the smaller the number, the wider the aperture opens, allowing in more light.
The Speed at which the shutter opens and closes (seconds and fractions of a second), affecting the amount of light entering the camera, also affects the stopping or blurring of motion.
This is the amount of the image that remains in focus:
Smaller f–stop numbers (2.8, 3.5) produce a shallow depth of field.
Larger f–stop numbers (11, 16, 22) produce a wide depth of field.
DoF is also affected by focal length (i.e. wide angle has more DoF than telephoto).
The combination of aperture and shutter speed governing the quality and characteristics of an image. This affects whether an image is over–, under– or correctly exposed (whether the image is too light or dark), how motion is portrayed (whether the motion is stopped or is blurred), and the depth of field in the image (what is in focus and what isn't).
Sensor within the camera used to read the amount of light in a scene. Many meters work differently, allowing for different readings and ultimately different exposures. Most digital cameras allow at least a few different metering settings for different lighting situations.
Film speed rating, how sensitive the film is to light;
50 ISO less sensitive
1600 ISO more sensitive
In digital cameras, this affects the amount of "digital noise" that is present in an image. This "digital noise" affects how "grainy" the image looks, which is similar to how an image taken with high ISO film will look.
This is commonly measured in millimeters.
Focal lengths < 50mm = Wide Angle
Focal lengths = 50mm = Normal (what your eye sees)
Focal lengths > 50mm = Telephoto
One mega–pixel is equal to a million points of light (or pixels), the higher the mega–pixels, the higher the resolution of the digital image. This directly affects the size that an image can be enlarged, for example a 3.2 mp image can be enlarged up to 8x10 without losing quality, while an 8 mp image can exceed 16x20 and still be clear. Resolutions commonly range from 3.2 to 12 mega–pixels.
This is the device used to store images from your camera. In essence, it functions as your "digital film". There are many different types and chances are your camera only takes one of them. Make sure that you are clear about which type this is.
Function within the camera used to achieve white light in the image, is usually done automatically but can be manually adjusted to tell the camera what lighting situation you are in; lighting situations are categorized by color temperature in degrees Kelvin.
Common Color temperatures:
1,200 K: candlelight
2,800 K: tungsten/incandescent bulb, sunrise/sunset
3,000 K: studio lamps, photoflood bulbs
5,000 K: electronic flash, daylight
6,000 K: bright midday sun
7,000 K: slightly overcast
8,000 K: hazy sky
10,000 K: heavily overcast
II. Digital Camera Modes
In this mode, your camera will choose what it sees as the best settings for your current situation. This is basically a "hands–off" mode, allowing you to simply frame the image and take the picture.
This mode will allow you to focus on objects close up. The camera will open the aperture to allow in more light, which also gives a shallow depth of field.
The camera uses a wider aperture opening (2.8–5.6), allowing for a shallow depth of field. In essence, the subject will be in focus while everything in front or behind your subject will not be.
The camera uses a smaller aperture opening (11–22), allowing for a wider depth of field, meaning the foreground as well as the background will be in focus.
The camera uses faster shutter speed to capture motion without blurring. This mode often includes a continuous shooting mode, which allows for a quick succession of shots to be taken.
The camera uses slow shutter speed to blur motion.
This allows you to enhance certain colors within the image as well as highlight only one color leaving the rest of the image black and white.
The camera uses slower shutter speed and wider aperture opening along with a flash to get correct lighting in foreground and background.
These modes allow you to adjust the camera to a specific lighting situation so that a correct exposure is achieved (Example: Indoor, Beach/Snow, Foliage, etc.)
In this mode the last image taken is partially displayed on the screen so that it can be lined up with the next image to be taken.
This allows you to take short videos. The video length depends on the size of your memory card and/or individual camera specifications.
In this mode, the camera sets the aperture and shutter speed so that a correct exposure is achieved. This is essentially an auto mode except that this mode will allow you to adjust some of the cameraâ€™s functions, such as white balance, exposure compensation, and image quality.
This will allow you to set your own shutter speed while the camera will set the correct aperture.
This will allow you to set your own aperture while the camera will set the correct shutter speed.
This mode allows you to set both the aperture and the shutter speed using the cameras built in meter.
This allows you to save any setting from the above manual modes.