02 – What is a camera?

We’ll start this class with a rather gentle introduction, by asking ourselves what a camera really is, and what its different components are. Chances are that you will already know some of this, but going through it anyway will at least ensure that we have defined a common vocabulary.



In the strictest sense, it is simply a device which can record light. It does so by focusing light on a photosensitive surface. From this simple sentence, we can see the three main parts of any camera. 

The photosensitive surface reacts to light through either a chemical process (film) or an electric one (digital sensor). There are fundamental differences between these two, which we will cover in a subsequent lesson, but for now we can consider both of them to be identical: they are a grid of several million tiny dots (pixels) and each can remember how much light it received in a given period of time. There are three important qualities to each sensor: resolution, size and what we can call “quality”.

  • Resolution is simply the number of pixels (it is slightly more complicated with film, let’s forget about it for now). The more pixels you have, the more fine grained details you can theoretically record. Any resolution above 2 or 3 megapixels (i.e. millions of pixels) will be enough for displaying on a screen, but higher resolutions come into play for two important applications: printing and cropping.
    • In order to have a good reproduction quality, it is generally estimated that between 240 and 300 pixels should be used for every inch of paper (dots per inch, or dpi), which will give a natural limitation to the biggest size one can print. For instance, a 6MP image of dimensions 2000×3000 pixels can be printed at a maximum size of 12.5×8.3″ at 240dpi (2000/240 = 8.3, 3000/240 = 12.5). It is possible to print bigger by either lowering the dpi or artificially increasing the resolution, but this will come at a serious loss of image quality. Having a higher resolution allows you to print bigger.
    • Cropping means reducing the size of an image by discarding pixels on the sides. It is a very useful tool and can often improve composition or remove unwanted elements from an image. However, it will also decrease resolution (since you lose pixels), so how much cropping you allow yourself will depend on the initial resolution, which you want to be as high as possible. This is also what some cheaper cameras call “digital zoom”, which use should be avoided as the plague, as the same effect can very easily be reproduced in post-processing, and the loss of image quality is often enormous.
  • The physical size of the sensor is very important and will have an impact on many other parameters, most of which we will see in subsequent lessons: crop factor, depth of field, high ISO noise, dynamic range are some of them. Bigger sensors will also allow to have more widely spaced pixels (increasing image quality) or more of them (increasing resolution). Bigger is almost always better, and this is one of the main reasons that DSLRs (and medium format cameras) produce much better images than compact cameras. In tomorrow’s lesson, we will cover the different types of cameras in more details.
  • Finally, sensor quality is harder to quantify, but it refers to how well the sensor reacts to difficult light conditions: either low light which will require to increase ISO and for which we want the sensor to have as little noise as possible, or high contrast, which will require a good dynamic range to be recorded adequately.


The lens is the second component of any camera. It is an optical device which takes scattered light rays and focuses them neatly on the sensor. Lenses are often complex, with up to 15 different optical elements serving different roles. The quality of the glass and the precision of the lens will be extremely important in determining how good the final image is.

Lenses must make compromises, and a perfect all around lens is physically impossible to build. For this reason, good lenses tend to be specialized and having the ability to switch them on your camera will prove extremely useful.

Lenses usually come with cryptic sequences of symbols and numbers which describe their specifications. Without going too much into details, let’s review some of their characteristic:

  • Focal length refers roughly to the “zoom level”, or angle of view, of the lens. It will have its own lesson in a few days, as it can be a surprisingly tricky subject. A focal length is usually expressed in millimeters, and you should be aware that the resulting angle of view actually depends on the size of the sensor of the camera on which the lens is used (this is called the crop factor). For this reason, we often give “35mm equivalent” focal lengths, which is the focal length that would offer the same view on a 35mm camera (the historic film SLR format) and allows us to make meaningful comparisons. If there is a single length (e.g. 24mm), then the lens doesn’t zoom, and it is often called a prime lens. If there are two numbers (e.g. 18-55mm), then you can use the lens at any focal in that range. Compact cameras often don’t give focal lengths but simply the range, for instance 8x. This means that the long end is 8 times longer than the wide one, so the lens could for instance be a 18-144mm, or a 35-280mm, etc.
  • The aperture is a very important concept which we will talk about in much detail later on. The aperture is an iris in the centre of the lens which can close to increasingly small sizes, limiting the amount of light which gets on the sensor. It is refered to as a f-number, for instance f/2.8. To make things worse, it is quite counter-intuitive, as the smaller the number, the bigger the aperture! For now, we don’t have to worry about this too much. The important number on a lens is the maximal aperture, the lower the better. Professional zoom lenses often have f/2.8 maximal apertures, and cheaper consumer lenses have ranges such as f/3.5-5.6, meaning that at the wide end, the maximum aperture is f/3.5 and at the long end, it is f/5.6. Aperture can be closed to tiny levels, usually at least f/22.
  • Lenses also need a focusing system. Nowadays, most lenses have an internal motor which can be piloted by the camera: the autofocus. They also have a ring to allow the photographer to focus manually. There are plenty of options for autofocus motors as well, for instance hypersonic or silent ones.
  • Lenses are increasingly equiped with stabilisation systems (called VR by Nikon, IS by Canon). They detect small movements, usually handshake, and compensate for them by moving internally the optical elements in the opposite direction. Though no magic pills, those systems tend to work very well and allow to take sharp images at quite slow shutter speeds.
  • Finally, lenses can have all sorts of fancy options: apochromatic glass, nano-coating, etc, designed to increase the quality of the final image. You probably shouldn’t worry too much about those.


Finally, the body is the light tight box connecting the lens to the sensor, and ordering everyone around. Though some film cameras are just that, black boxes, most digital cameras are now small computers, sporting all sorts of features, often of dubious usefulness. Let’s review some of the components found in most bodies:

  • The most important is probably the shutter. Think of it as a curtain in front of the sensor. When you press the trigger, the curtain opens, exposes the sensor to light from the lens, then closes again after a very precise amount of time, often a tiny fraction of a second. Most shutters operate between 30 seconds and 1/4000s of a second. That duration (the shutter speed) is one of the three very important exposure factors, along with aperture and ISO.
  • A light meter. As the name suggests, it measures the quantity of light and sets the exposure accordingly. How much manual control you keep at this stage is one of the most important questions in photography. There are different metering modes, but except in very specific cases, using the most advanced, most automated one (matrix metering on Nikon cameras) will provide the best results.
  • A focus detector, used to drive the autofocus motor in the lens. There are two competing technologies, contrast detection and phase detection, with at the moment an edge for the latter, which explains why DSLRs tend to focus faster than compact cameras. These systems tend to vary greatly between basic and advanced bodies, but it should be noted that they all need reasonable amounts of light to work properly.
  • A way to store the image just created. Back in the days of film, this was just a lever to advance the roll to the next unexposed frame. Now, it is a pipeline which ends up in the memory card that the camera is using. If you are shooting jpg instead of raw (more on this in another lesson), there is an additional stage where the internal computer performs all sort of black magic on the image to output a ready-to-view jpg file.
  • A way to frame. It can be a multitude of things, optical or electronic viewfinder, LCD screen or even ground glass. Here too, DSLRs have an edge as an optical viewfinder allows “through-the-lens” viewing and immediate feedback, while electronic viewfinders (really, a LCD screen inside a viewfinder) and LCDs often have limited resolution and slight updating delays.



Take a good look at your camera, whatever its type, and try to identify each component we have discussed here. It might be a good opportunity to dig out the manual or to look up its exact specifications online. Now look up a different camera online (for instance at dpreview) and compare their specifications. Try doing this for both a less advanced and a more advanced body, and for different lenses. Report here if you find any interesting difference, or if some parts of the specifications are unclear.

Previous Lesson: On Photography (it’s not rocket science)
Next lesson: Different Types of Cameras


  • I just found this link via Reddit and started reading through. It reminds me of my college course and so far I love how you lay everything out. I’m definitely brushing up on a lot. Thank you for taking the time to write this all out for everyone! You’re appreciated. =D

    • hi toastie man, i was wondering if this class would be worth taking ? please get back to me ASAP toastie man ly xx

  • I’ve compared my Canon EOS 400D to the new Canon EOS 650D. One thing noted it the much higher sensitivity (ISO) for the 650D. Also the sensor for the the 650D seems to have greatly improved, supporting higher image resolutions.

  • I have a nikon D3100 with a 18-55 lens

    I love how you go through everything in laymen’s terms without being slow or patronising!

  • I have a Nikon D3200 with an 18-55mm lens, I also have a 55-200mm lens. It has 24.2mp and an ISO from 100 up to 6,400 for extreme low light settings. It captures up to 4 frames per sec. The Nikon D3100 is similar but with 14.2mp & 3fps, same ISO. The Nikon D600 has same mp, but 5.5fps, ISO sensitivity can be expanded from 50 to 52,600.

  • I just picked up a Canon Rebel T3i w/a 18-55mm IS II lens. Pretty entry level, but enough of a camera for my puposes; photographing artwork and making time-lapse, art-creation videos.

  • I have a Canon Rebel T3 DSLR with an 18-55mm focal length. The ISO is 100-6400. The shutter speed is .5-1/4000. Aperture goes from f/4-f/45.

    I’ll compare to my Canon Powershot SX30 point-and-shoot which has a 24-840mm focal length (35x optical zoom). The ISO is 80-1600. The shutter speed is 1 to 1/3200 per second. Maximum aperture is f/2.7.

  • I am learning to shoot with a Canon EOS Rebel t3, with a shutter speed of 1/4000 to 1/60 seconds and a maximum pixel of about 12 megapixels. I have two lenses, one of 75-300mm zoom and an f/4.5-5.6 aperture, the other an 18-55mm zoom and an f/3.5-5.6 aperture.

    For comparison, the Canon EOS Rebel T5 offers a shutter speed of 1/4000 to 30 seconds, and a maximum pixel of about 18 megapixels.

    For a lens comparison, the EF 70-300 lens F/4-5.6L is similar to the long range lens i have, but gives a greater aperture distance as well as image stabilization. (along with the other nifty things i don’t grasp yet.

    Thanks for the lessons, they are great so far

    • I am learning to shoot with a Canon EOS Rebel t3 as well! I have found this site to be immensely helpful in teaching myself more about such a fun hobby I love to do and hope to get better at.

      I have the same specs (sensor being around 12mp, shutter speeds from “bulb” to 1/4000, and ISO range from 100-6400). For lenses I have the same 18-55mm at f/3.5 -5.6 and a EF 75-300mm at f/4 – 5.6.

      Comparing to: Canon 70D – sensor size around 20mp, shutter speeds from “bulb to 1/8000, ISO 100-12800 (but expandable to 25600?)

      • Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything. However think of if you added some great images or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this blog could definitely be one of the greatest in its field. Excellent blog!

  • My camera of choice today is an Olympus OM-D EM-1 with an Olympus 17mm f1/8 lens. The camera is a micro four thirds design so has a crop factor of 2.

    Sensor: 4/3 Live MOS Sensor
    Resolution: 16 megapixels

    The lens is an Olympus 17mm f1.8 fast wide angle prime.

    Focal length is 17 mm or 34 mm 35mm equivalent
    Aperture is f/1.8 so it is considered a fast lens. The aperture range is f/22 to f/1.8
    Focusing: Is autofocus and manual focus
    Image stabilisation: None. The camera has built in image stabilisation.
    Lens construction: 9 elements in 6 Groups (DSA lens, 2 Aspherical lenses, HR lens)

    The alternative camera I considered at the time of purchase was a Sony A6000.

    Sensor: Mirroless BIONZ X™ image processor with a focal length crop factor of 1.5
    Resolution: 24.7 megapixels

    I didn’t really investigate lens options at the time as I was looking only at bodies.

  • I have recently acquired a D800 and would like to make a note on the difference in image quality compared to my previous camera, a D5100. An overview of spec differences can be seen at (http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon-D5100-vs-Nikon-D800). I think the most noticeable to me are the noise levels at higher ISOs (opening a whole world of night photography) and how much the extra detail the 1.4 stops of dynamic range really allow you to pull out of the shadows and highlights.

  • Just wanted to say I really appreciate your class room here online.
    I’ve been meaning to learn photography but have always fell short because of other priorities. Today is a snow day and i’m stuck home so I’m sitting in front of the computer with a perfected cup of coffee and already learning so much. I do not have a camera but I’m thinking of purchasing a point and shoot. Maybe the Sony RX100MIII or Lumix LX100 either or..

    Gonna read the next chapter now!

  • Recently got my mom the Fujifilm X-E2 for Christmas (but of course I’m the one learning to use it!)

    Sensor: X-Trans CMOS II – 23.6 mm x 15.6 mm
    Resolution: 16 megapixels

    The lens is an Fujinon XF.

    Focal length is 18-55mm.
    Aperture is f/2.8-4
    Focusing: Is autofocus and manual focus
    Image stabilisation: Yes

    Still not exactly sure that all these mean but I am looking forward to further my understanding in the next lesson.

  • My camera (that I just bought a few weeks ago) is the Pentax K-50. I have the 18-55 and 50-200mm kit lenses as well as a handful of manual focus lenses from my dad’s old Pentax film camera. My camera has a 16MP APS-C sensor.

    It’s been pretty great but it’s not full frame and coming from film, that has a pretty big impact. If I were to go to full frame (when I become rich) I’d buy the Canon 6D. Unlike my camera, it has a 20MP full frame sensor.

  • Compared my Panasonic DMC GF3 to the Nikon J1. The Panasonic has 2 more MP on the sensor than the Nikon however, it does lack some of the shutter speed (1/4000 vs 1/16000). The Panasonic also has more light sensitivity with 6400 ISO compared to the Nikon at 3200 ISO.

    I have two lenses right now. The Lumix 14-42 and Lumix 45-200. The 14-42 has an aperture of f/3.5-5.6 and the 45-200 has an aperture of /4-5.6.

  • am now learning photography & videography.

  • I kinda feel that my little compact isn’t going to hold up to some of the questions asked. However, I have a Canon powershot sx280hs that takes fairly decent photos (from previous history). I was interested to see however that the manual settings seem to be able to adjust this quite nicely with an ISO up to 6400 (I’ve used auto in the past and haven’t looked before). It seems like it has a decent range of zoom, but I was unable to find some of the topics discussed above like the aperture.

  • For this course I hoped to use my new camera – its a Sony RX10 and its no DSLR but its close so I hope I wont run into problems later on in this course. ( if so I have a back up I can loan from a friend ) it does has RAW both as JPG options.
    The Lens is Carl Zeiss diameter62 , 2,8/8,8 -73,3 Lens
    24-200mm equivalent stabilized F2.8 lens
    Its a 20MP Camera
    ISO 125 – 12800 (expandable down to ISO 80)
    I compared it with a Nikon 5200 ( the one I can borrow in case I have to )
    And noticed that the nikon5200 has a bigger pixelrange with 6000 x 4000 – and the sony rx10 has 5472 x 3648 as max.
    The max shutterspeed is also in advance of the nikon5200 with 1/4000 sec compared to the 1/3200 for the sony rx10

  • I own a Nikon D3300 DSLR.
    resolution: 24 megapixels
    sensor size: 23.5 X 15.6 mm
    ISO: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800
    max shutter speed: 1/4000 sec.

    The lens currently attached is the Nikon DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
    focal length: 35mm. no zoom and relatively short focal length. must use your feet with this one.
    aperture: f/1.8. very helpful in low light.

  • Between the Canon EOS Rebel T6 and Nikon D3300 18, which one is better? I’m still planning on buying my first camera yet. For what I read here and the specs of each camera, the D3300 is better because it has higher ( I don’t know if I’m using the term “higher” correctly here, probably not) ISO.

  • I own the entry level Olympus mirrorless and comparing it to the high end Sony mirrorless.

    OM-D EM10: 1/4000 – 60s
    Sony a7R II: 1/8000 – 30s

    Light Meter:
    OM-D EM10: ISO 100-25600
    Sony a7R II: ISO 100-102400

    Focus detector:
    OM-D EM10: High-speed imager AF with automatic, single, continuous Autofucs, Manual Focus
    Sony a7R II: Fast Hybrid AF with automatic, single, continuous Autofocus, Manual Focus

    OM-D EM10: SD Memory card
    Sony a7R II: Memory Stick Pro Duo, SD Memory card

    OM-D EM10: KCD viewfinder, 1.44M dots
    Sony a7R II: XGA OLED, 0.5 in electronic color viewfinder, 2.36M dots

  • So, I have a Nikon D3300 which has the following specs:
    Shutter speed:1/4000 – 30 s
    Megapixels: 24.2 MP
    Lens Size: 18-55 mm
    Aperture on the lens:f/3.5-5.6
    ISO Sensitivity: 100-12800
    Up to 5fps

    And I was looking online at a Canon EOS 77D with the following specs:
    Megapixels: 24.2 MP
    Lens Size: 18-55 mm
    Aperture on the lens:f/3.5-5.6
    ISO Sensitivity: 100-25600 (still not sure what this is)
    Has an autofocus speed of 0.03 s (not sure how fast mine is)
    Has built in wifi/bluetooth
    Up to 6.0 fps

    My camera was $350, the Canon is $1049. To me at this point, I don’t see a huge difference or an upgrade in the Canon. Hmmmm.

  • I have a Nikon D5100 with the following specs (was good to get the user manual out again and learn more about my camera!)

    Megapixels: 16,2
    Sensor size: 23,6 x 15,6 mm
    Shutterspeed: 1/4000 – 30 sec
    Focal length of lens 1: 18-55 mm
    Focal length of lens 2: 55-200 mm
    Aperture range of lens 1: f/3.5 – f/5.6
    Aperture range of lens 2: f/4 – f/5.6

    I compared it with a similar camera from Canon I looked into at the time: the Canon t3i Rebel. What I noticed is that they’re very similar. Canon has slightly more MP (18) but a smaller sensor.

  • I have a Canon 60D, I’d have to say the most interesting piece of information I learned is that the sensor size will impact multiple things and that I must take it into account, constantly.

  • I have a Canon Powershot SD750 Digital ELPH
    framing- LCD monter
    Sensor-1/2.5in, total pixels 7.4 million
    Lens focal length 5.8(W)-17.4(T) mm, f/2.8(w)-f/4.9(t) zoom 4x
    focus range(settings); Normal= 12in.-infinity Macro= 1.2in-1.6ft (W)/12in.-1.6ft (T), Infinity=9.8ft-infinity
    Shutter- speed 15-1/1500 sec.
    AF system: TTL autofocus &AiAF face detect
    light metering= evaluative, centre weighted average or spot

  • I use digital cameras as well analog ones. One that are 100 years old ( german made camera that was passed down from my grandfather to my father and me eventually. That was my first camera all manual) as well the new ones. Different companies makes settings in different way so need time to get used to for example most common nikon and cannon. Lets not forget about lenses, you can’t just fit ones company lense to different company camera without adapter. And than the lense parameters change a little. I found that choosing which camera Ill be using depends on the effect I want to get or conditions or just if I want to have fun with it.

  • A very informative lesson!

    Have the Canon 60D.

    It is a Canon DSLR with an APS crop sensor (22.3 x 14.9 mm, focal length multiplier 1.6x).
    Has a built in flash. Shoots photos of up to 18 megapixels with an ISO range of 100-6400.
    Has a 9 point autofocus system and an optical viewfinder.
    Shutter speed range – 30 – 1/8000.

    Compared to Canon 5D Mkiii, the biggest difference is the sensor size. The interesting thing discovered is that a full frame sensor (36 x 24 mm) has over 2.5x surface area than a APS-C sensor.
    Some differences are also – 22MP vs 18MP. More autofocus points (61 vs 9 – useful for studio scenarios?) and a higher max ISO (25600 vs 6400). Basically, 5D would capture images easier in low light conditions.
    This would prove useful of taking photos of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Gyms often have low lighting, can’t use flash and need to use a quick shutter speed (1/250th and up because of motion).

    Lens comparison is the kit lens Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS vs Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens.
    Kit lens focal length is between 18-135mm (1.6x on crop sensor) versus the non-zoomable prime lens 50mm (field of view 80mm on crop sensor). Aperture of kit lens is 3.5-5.6 versus a maximum of 1.4 (and down to 22) on the prime lens. Have been enjoying the 50mm!

  • I’m getting a used (but great condition) Canon Rebel T2i DSLR. I’m a relatively new photographer and my camera phone just doesn’t cut it. I think the biggest challenge is going to be finding the right balance of aperture, shutter speed and ISO to take the most optimal pictures. I’m already confused, but i’m taking it on as a challenge! I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can.

  • The is exactly what i was looking for. It took a week of searching but finally i have found the right course. thank you very much for taking your time to lay this course for us. God Bless You.

  • I’ve compared my Sony a6000 and the sony a7rii my sony a6000 has a 24.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and the sony a7rii has a 42MP Full Frame BSI CMOS sensor, one of the main differences is that the a7rii has a 5-axis image stabilization and that allows it to have a high-speed AF with non-native lenses, wich is really cool.

  • This is a superb course as I have been taking photographs for decades without proper understanding of the nuts ancbokts. Finally a proper course to equip me with all the info and great community to discuss too!

  • I have a Nikon D3100 as my first Nikon. I recently purchased a D500. There are a several differences… 14MP vs 21MP, max ISO 12,800 vs 1,640,000, max shutter speed 1/4000 vs 1/8000, 3 FPS vs 10 FPS to name a few.

  • I have a Nikon D850, which is overkill for a beginner like me, but my wife has some training and uses it for product photography, so I get the benefit of a beefy setup. I use primarily a 24-70 f/2.8 VR lens but we also have a 50mm f/1.8.

    Comparing with the Nikon D5, which is the pro-level that is most similar to the D850… they have almost the exact same size sensor, but the D850 has 42mp vs 21mp for the D5, max ISO is 25,600 vs. 102,400 in favor of the D5. The min/max shutter speeds are the same (30 sec down to 1/8000). Continuous shooting is 7fps vs. 14fps in favor of the D5. For storage, the D5 has dual compact flash or dual XQD slots, while the D850 has one SD slot and one XQD slot. The sensor size is identical, interestingly.

  • The specs on my camera’s sensor say APS-C (23.5mm – 15.6mm). I know from this lesson bigger is better for sensors but look forward to learning what APS-C stands for.

  • I treated myself to an Olympus E-M10MarkIII last fall; my first “big girl” camera. I very much want to learn how to take good quality pics. Purchased a second lens recently (40 – 150 mm) to supplement the 14-42 that came with my camera I have always used point and shoot cameras, so this is all very new to me! I am excited for this class, and the knowledge it will provide me. Thank you!

  • I have a Nikon D3400 with an 18-55mm lens. Shoots at 6, 13.5, or 24 MP. Shutter speed 30- 1/4000. Aperture f3.8-f25. ISO range 100-25600. It has an optical viewfinder with 11 points and live view with autofocus. Lens has a focusing ring. Lens has VR. On screen is the light meter and shows the shutter speed and aperture.

    I took a look at the Nikon D750 which is an older version from 2016. Some differences are that ISO from 100-12800. And it has a 51 point AF.

    I took a look at the 2018 Nikon D3500. It has the exact same features as the 3400. The only difference is the bbody with its placement of buttons. So i learned from this comparision just from recent Nikons that not much changes drastically just small improvements

  • I have a Canon 80D with a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor with Dual Pixel AF.
    45-point AF system with all cross-type points.
    3″ 1.04M-dot articulating touchscreen.
    1080/60p video capture.
    7 fps continuous shooting with AF.
    Weather-resistant body.
    7560-pixel RGB+IR Metering Sensor
    I compared it to the Nikon d3400 dslrEffective Pixels (Megapixels) 24.2 million.
    Sensor Size. 23.5 mm. x 15.6 mm.
    Image Sensor Format. DX.
    Storage Media. SD. SDHC. …
    Top Continuous Shooting Speed at Full Resolution. 5 frames per second.
    ISO Sensitivity. ISO 100 – 25,600.
    Movie. Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 60 fps. Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 50 fps. …
    Monitor Size. 3.0 in. I mean just by looking at those you can see the big difference

  • I have a sony rx100 V.
    It has a 24-70mm lens. It has an aperture of F1.8 – 2.8.
    Its ISO sensitivity is 125 – 12800
    Sony rx100v has a can shoot continuously at a max speed of 24.0 fps., and has a max shutter speed of 1/2000 sec. And an electronic silent shutter of 1/32000 sec
    It has a built in electronic viewfinder
    The rx100v uses both phase detection and contrast detection autofocus, plus it has a face detection AF
    It also has a 20.0 MP on a 13.2 x 8.8 mm sized BSI-CMOS(donut know what that is) sensor

  • I recently purchased a Nikon D5600 with 2 lenses. It’s my first DSLR camera. in my opinion it’s a great entry level camera.
    SENSOR : APS-C CMOS with 24.2MP and 39 auto focus points. ISO sensitivity range of 100-25600.
    LENSES :

    1] AF- P DX NIKKOR 18-55 mm VR
    Aperture : f/3.5 -5.6G
    This lightweight lens is great for street photography , shooting random stuff i.e you can do a lot from this lens . It’s very affordable and versatile.

    2] AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300 MM VR
    Aperture : f/4.5-5.6E ED
    This is a full frame telephoto zoom . Fast AF with SPORT VR mode. It’s great for travels and landscapes, sports and action and does a good job with nature and wildlife.

  • I am using the Olympus Pen E-PL9

    It has 16.1MP and 121 focus points. ISO 100 – 25600
    Lenses: 14-42 mm
    shutter: 1/320 – 60 sec.
    1/4000 – 60 sec. (1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV steps selectable)
    Aperture: f/ 3.5

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  • I have a Fujifilm S9500

    10.7x optical zoom
    9.0 MP
    28-300mm (10.7x) Fujinon zoom lens
    ISO 1600
    1.8” tilting LCD screen
    0.01-second shutter lag and 0.8-second start-up

  • I have an Olympus em-5 mark ii
    iso 25k
    focal length is 12-40 @ f2.8 of my
    also have a smal telephot 40-150mm ( 80 to 300 on 35mm equivalent due to drop factor of 2x) f3.5 to 5.6.
    16.1 MP
    has EXCELLENT Image stabilization that allows users to stop down at least 4 stops.

    I was comapring to a 5d mark ii
    more megapixels, bigger sensor, quicker iso with better ergononmics. will be worth updating but the portablility and lightweightedness of the 4/3 camera offerings are super useful. plus im already 1.5k-2k into the 4/3 world.

  • I compared my new Sony A7R III with the only other camera I had in the last years which is a Samsung NX1000. It was quite interesing to see the difference between an old 200€ and a new 2000€ camera for me and I started to understand the specifications a little bit more.

    Samsung NX1000 vs. Sony A7R III
    Resolution: 20.3MP vs. 42.4MP
    Sensor size: APS-C (23.5×15.7mm) vs. 35mm full frame (35.9x24mm)
    ISO sensitivity: 100-12800 vs. 50-102400
    Shutter: 1/4000-30s vs. 1/8000-30s
    Focal length: 20-50mm (31-77mm 35 eq.) vs 24-70mm
    Aperture: f/3.5-5.6 vs f2.8-22
    Image stabilisatzion: No vs. Yes
    Weight: 222g vs. 657g (1543g with lens)

    The Sony beats the Samsung in every aspect as expected. But comes with a lot more weight too. When I went out yesterday for the first time I was quite suprised by how heavy this is. I used a neck strap to carry it around but if I would do that all day I would be completely exhausted. How do you guys do that?

  • I use a Nikon D3400 and for this lesson, I ended up down a rabbit hole of information on DSLR cameras vs mirrorless cameras; something I never knew anything about. The mirrorless cameras are making a comeback but have no optical viewfinders. You can only see your images on the camera’s screen, which I find to be strange and I don’t think I would enjoy using. I also read through stats on newer versions of Nikons and found it to be interesting that some of them were almost identical to mine, but far more expensive. The max burst speed is what I paid the most attention to since I’ve started photographing people more and it helps to capture the perfect moment. Some newer Nikons have the same max burst speed as mine and others work twice as fast! I guess I know what I’ll be looking for if I become a professional. 🙂

    • I have Nikon D3500 🙂 The specifications are almost the same, just the difference between the looks. Which lens do you use? I am using 18-55mm which comes along with the camera.

  • I am comparing my mom’s camera the Canon Rebel T5 to the camera that i have been wanting the Canon Rebel SL2 (200D)
    The Shutter Speed- T5: 1/4000 – 30 sec, SL2: 30-1/4000 sec
    The Sensor size- T5: 22.30mm x 14.90mm, SL2: 22.3 x 14.9mm
    Aperture- T5: f/3.5- f/5.6, SL2: f/6.0

  • I have a Canon 7d mark II. It is a crop factor 1.6 APS-C camera which from what I understand about it you can multiply all lens focal lengths by 1.6 times so it ‘gets out there more’ … I think that is about all. It has a smaller image sensor than some full frames but 20.2 mp effective which i’m not real good with the math and all just yet but I’m pretty sure it is ‘good enough’ for most real world applications I will ever use. ISO goes up to 25,600 I believe which I’m not sure what situation you would ever want it this high. It seems it would be way to grainy of images unless your filming the next blair witch film or something lol ??? max shutter speed it 1/8000th of a second. It also has 10fps continuous which i believe is very good as well. I just upgraded this body from my t7i wanting a more weather resistant and professional style to hopefully get more into it … I’m still very much a beginner of about a year or so old.

    As far as lenses I have the couple kit lenses 18-55 and 80-135 i believe. I have the nifty 50 1.8 and I also have a tamron 70-200 and tamron 150-600 f5-6.3. Wish I could afford the Canon lenses but I think tamron is ‘good enough’ for some real world applications until I can afford more. It helps me get out there and I have been getting much better results it seems after moving to the 7D body.

    • john from indy is that you?

  • I just picked up a Nikon D3500. It has an ISO 100-25,600. The shutter speed is 1/4000 to 30 seconds.

    The kit I bought came with two lenses. One is an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens with Nikkon’s VR image stabilization. The other is a 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 telephoto lens.

    I am most likely going to stick with the 18-55mm lens for the most part until I really get my bearings. I may start breaking out the telephoto lens for nature or sports photography sometime down the line.

  • I have a Canon Powershot SX130 IS. It has a 12x zoom lens. A 12 x 200 mm focal length. ISO of 80 – 1600. It has a shutter speed of 1 – 1/2500 sec. An aperture of f5.6 – f8.0. I compared it to a Canon Powershot SX720 HS. There are quite a few differences. The SX720 has a 40x Optical Zoom (24-960mm) lens. Shutter Speed is 1 – 1/3200 sec. ISO 80-3200.
    The 40x zoom and faster shutter speed would really help when I am trying to film a butterfly or hummingbird that moves very quickly.

  • I have a Sony Cyber-Shot HX400V, and I’ll compare it to the iphone 5S camera, and the Canon EOS RP:

    Sony Cyber-Shot HX400V

    Resolution (Mp) 20.4
    Sensor Size (mm) 6.17 x 4.55
    Focal Length (mm) 4.3 – 215
    Aperture (f/) 2.8 – 6.3
    Stabilization Optical
    Shutter Speed (s) 1/4000 – 30
    Focus Detection Contrast detection
    Image Storage JPEG
    Viewing Screen or eyepiece

    iPhone 5S

    Resolution (Mp) 1.2
    Sensor Size (mm) 4.89 x 3.67
    Focal Length (mm) 4.12
    Aperture (f/) 2.2
    Stabilization Software
    Shutter Speed (s) 1/14000 – 1/14
    Focus Detection Contrast detection
    Image Storage HEIF
    Viewing Screen

    Canon EOS RP

    Resolution (Mp) 26.2
    Sensor Size (mm) 39.5 x 24
    Focal Length (mm) 24 – 105
    Aperture (f/) 4
    Stabilization Optical
    Shutter Speed (s) 1/4000 – 30
    Focus Detection Phase detection
    Image Storage RAW or JPEG
    Viewing Screen or eyepiece

  • I have a Nikon D3500. I’m going to compare it to the Nikon D750.

    Nikon D3500:
    Max resolution is 6000×4000
    24 megapixels
    Sensor size is 23.5 x15.6mm
    ISO has auto capability and ranges from 100-25600
    Max shutter speed is 1/4000 sec

    Nikon D750:
    Max resolution 6016×4016
    24 megapixels
    Sensor size is 35.9 x 24 mm
    ISO has auto capability and ranges from 100-12800, can be expanded to 50-51200
    Max shutter speed is 1/4000 sec

    When comparing these, I noticed the difference in sensor size. As mentioned in this lesson, sensor size affects image quality and resolution. There’s a big difference between the two sensor sizes, meaning you’d probably get much better photos when using the D750 (better in terms of quality and resolution).

  • I own a Canon A610 compact and I’ll compare it with Nikon D3400 DSLR camera.

    A610 has 342g weight (with batteries included) while the Nikon is 445.

    A610 has a 5mp 1/1.8″ CCD sensor and 2592 x 1944 maximum resolution while the Nikon has a
    24mp 23.5 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor and 6000 x 4000 maximum resolution for pictures. This means, I am able to print 2592×1944 / 240 = 10.8×8.1″ without loosing quality while pictures taken with the Nikon can be printed at 6000×4000 = 25×16.6″ (A2)

    A610 has 4x optical zoom 35-140mm and F2.8 – F4.1 lens while Nikon D3400 has a standard 3.1x zoom 18-55mm (equiv 27-92.5mm) F3.5 – F5.6 lens.

    A610 max ISO is 400 while Nikon D3400 goes up to 25600.

    A610 screen is a 2.0″ LCD with 115,000pixels while Nikon D3400 has a 3I own a Canon A610 compact and I’ll compare it with Nikon D3400 DSLR camera.

    A610 has 342g weight (with batteries included) while the Nikon is 445.

    A610 has a 5mp 1/1.8″ CCD sensor and 2592 x 1944 maximum resolution while the Nikon has a
    24mp 23.5 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor and 6000 x 4000 maximum resolution for pictures. This means, I am able to print 2592×1944 / 240 = 10.8×8.1″ without loosing quality while pictures taken with the Nikon can be printed at 6000×4000 = 25×16.6″ (A2…nice!).

    A610 has 4x optical zoom 35-140mm and F2.8 – F4.1 lens while Nikon D3400 has a standard 3.1x zoom 18-55mm (equiv 27-92.5mm) F3.5 – F5.6 lens.

    A610 max shutter speed is 1/2500 sec while Nikon has a maximum of 1/4000 sec

    A610 max ISO is 400 while Nikon D3400 goes up to 25600.

    A610 screen is a 2.0″ 115,000 pixels LCD flipping screen while Nikon D3400 has a 3″ 921,000 pixels fixed screen.

  • I shoot with a Canon EOS Rebel t6, which seems pretty standard. I have two lenses that I bought secondhand: one 18-55mm (f/3.5-5.6), and one 75-300mm (f/4.0-5.6). It is capable of ISO 100-6,400.

    There’s a lot that I don’t really know about my own camera, and I’m really excited to learn how to properly use it and take advantage of its full capabilities.

  • I have just got a Nikon D3500 which has the following specs:
    Shutter speed:1/4000 – 30 s
    Top resolution: 24.2 MP
    Sensor size: 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Lens Size: 18-55 mm
    70-300 mm
    Aperture on the lens:f/3.5-5.6
    ISO Sensitivity: 100-25600
    Top Up shooting speed: 5fps
    Autofocus points: 11
    Video: Full HD (1080p at 60 fps)
    Has inbuilt Bluetooth
    Storage: SD card

    As a comparison I was looking online at a Nikon D850 with the following specs:
    Shutter speed:1/8000 – 30 s
    Top resolution: 45.7 MP
    Sensor size: 35.9 x 23.9 mm
    Lens Size: 35mm
    Aperture on the lens: f/1.4G
    ISO Sensitivity: 64-25600
    Top Up shooting speed: 7fps
    Autofocus points: 153
    Video: Full Frame 4K UHD
    Has inbuilt Bluetooth, Wi Fi and NFC.
    Storage: 1 x QD Card + 1 x SD Card
    It does put my camera to shame, but obviously has a price tag!

  • I use a Nikon Coolpix P500 which I bought roughly 10 years ago.

    Type: Zoom lens – 36x zoom – 4 – 144 mm – f/3.4-5.7
    Optical Zoom: 36 x
    Lens Aperture: f/3.4-5.7
    Min Focal Length: 4 mm
    Max Focal Length: 144 mm
    Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera: 22.5 m
    Min Focus Distance: 19.7 in
    Macro Focus Range: 0.4 in
    Focus Adjustment: automatic
    Zoom Adjustment: motorized drive
    Sensor Resolution 12.1 Megapixel
    Optical Sensor Type CMOS
    Optical Sensor Size 1/2.3″

    Light SensitivityISO 160, ISO 1600, ISO 200, ISO 3200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO auto (160-1600), ISO auto (160-200), ISO auto (160-400), ISO auto (160-800)
    Exposure Metering: center-weighted, multi-segment, spot
    Exposure Metering Zones: 256
    Exposure Modes: aperture-priority, automatic, manual, program, shutter-priority
    White Balance: automatic, presets
    Max Shutter Speed 1/1500 sec
    Min Shutter Speed 2 sec
    Exposure Compensation ±2 EV range, in 1/3 EV steps
    Auto Exposure Bracketing 3 steps

    I have been comparing with the Canon EOS 350D. It’s my parents’ camera which they will let me have. It’s an older model but with a higher quality sensor.

    Max resolution 3456 x 2304
    Other resolutions 2496 x 1664, 1728 x 1152
    Effective pixels 8 megapixels
    Sensor size APS-C (22.2 x 14.8 mm)
    Sensor type CMOS
    ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
    Image stabilization No
    Optics & Focus
    Phase Detect
    Selective single-point

    Lens mount Canon EF/EF-S
    Focal length multiplier 1.6×
    Viewfinder type Optical (pentamirror)
    Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
    Maximum shutter speed 1/4000 sec

    Comparing the specs I notice that both these cameras have certain specs which I prefer.

  • Okay so I woke up this from from a dream where I saw on my schedule “Photo class” … so Google found this. I do some photography as part of my job but I don’t really think of myself as a photographer. And that’s weird because actually I am. Gotta love OJT! Anyway when I plan to revisit this site; it’s amazing!

  • Sony A6000 mirror less Camera
    24.3 MP
    “Format” APS-C
    Bionx image processor
    Shutter+ 30 sec-1/4000
    Seems to have both contrast and phase detection
    ISO 100-25,000
    view finder and LCD screen
    64GB storage

    Pentax K-50 Camera
    compact SLR
    16 MP
    Shutter 30 sec-1/6000
    ISO 100-51,600
    view finder
    32GB storage card

  • I have an entry level Canon EOS Rebel T6. I’ve always loved taking photos, but not really a technical person. So learning what I need from my camera is important. My camera is restricted in the f/level I needed for a recent trip to Alaska from what I had researched. But not a trip I would take often, so I rented the lense I needed to shoot the northern lights. A good learning prior to going on the trip!

  • So I thought I had a DSLR camera but I guess it’s just a fancier point and shoot.

    My camera is a Nikon Coolpix L120. It’s a 14.1 megapixel camera. The focal length of this camera is 4.5-94.5mm and the aperture is 3.1-5.8. The extended ISO is 80-6400, the shutter speed is 1/4000-4sec, and the sensor size is 1/2.3inch.

    I’m trying to learn more about this camera and kinda get frustrated when trying to take indoor pictures. When I try to take an indoor picture without the flash, it takes forever and ends up being blurry. When I use a flash, the picture ends up dark. That’s one reason I’m going through these learnings.

    The camera I’m looking into getting is the Nikon D3500. This one is a DSLR and in my price range. It has a focal length of 18-55mm but the bundle I’m wanting has an additional lens with a focal length of 70-300mm. The aperture is 3.5-5.6. Hopefully I can save up enough money to get this one soon.

  • Thank you for this assignment. My intimidation of using manual mode to find these values is a great confidence booster for me!

    I am shooting with a Canon EOS Rebel T7i with the following specs:

    – 24.2 MegaPixels, 1.6X APS-C CMOS which is 22.3mm x 14.9mm large
    – Two lenses:
    o EF-S 18-55mm w/image stabilization, aperture range of F4.5 – F22
    o EF-S 55- 250mm w/image stabilization, aperture range of F5.0 – F29
    – Shutter speed is 1/4000 to 30 secs. 6 FPS burst shooting
    – Four light metering modes
    – Focus detector based on 45 pts.
    – View Finder at 19mm, has 95% coverage, 4 view finder fields of information with 63 zone metering
    – ISO Range is 100 – 25600

    I see the low light challenges with this camera, but selected it because I do take more action, outdoor photos.

  • Nikon D3200
    Total Megapixels: 24.70
    Sensor size: 23.2 x 15.4 mm
    ISO: 100 – 6400 & 12800 (with boost)
    Shutter speed: 30s – 1/4000s

    Nikon D750
    Total Megapixels: 24.93
    Sensor size: 35.9 x 24 mm
    ISO: 100 – 12800
    Shutter speed: same as D3200

  • My camera is a Canon SL3
    The camera came with two lenses: an EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens and an EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Lens.
    These lenes seem to be a typical zoom and an all-purpose lens.

  • I have a Sonny alpha 7iii along with two lenses.
    max shutter speed: 30s and 1/8000s
    max pixel and sensor type: 24.2mp (exon R CMOS sensor)
    ISO: 100-51200

    Lense 1 (aka Kit Lense:)
    aperture of f 3.5-5.6
    focus length 28-70mm

    Lense 2 (Tamron)
    aperture f 2.8-5.6
    focus length 28-200mm

  • I have Nikon and haven’t used it in a while. Found your site in google search to get back into photography since time allows now. Nikon D800, a 36.3 megapixel FX-format HD-SLR, ISO 100-6400 with the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR DX lens other than the lens not getting as good a close up with the F3.5 its a quality camera.
    . also a point and shoot old Sonys\DSC-H1 5.1 mp
    36-432mm equivalent (12x optical) F2.8-3.7 zoom lens, 1.3 fps up to 9 frames
    Super Steady Shot optical image stabilization. This camera was awesome for travel being so compact. I learned to adjust the AE compensation to accommodate the light in the Bahama’s. Takes good close ups. Cannot print large format photo’s in as great a detail as the DLSR’s due to its low megapixels.

  • I have a nikon d60
    Iso: 100-1600
    Focal length 18mm-55mm
    Aperture F3.5-5.6
    Sensor 23 x 15mm
    10.2 mega pixel1/4000 -30
    Shutter speed
    Vr reduction

    Compared to nikon d780
    Focal length 24-120mm
    Aperture f/4g
    Sensor 35.9 x24mm
    24.5 mega pixel
    Shutter 1/8000 -900
    Vr reduction
    This also records

    Big difference lol

  • Camera 1: Canon EOS-1D X
    Max resolution is 5184×3456
    18.1 megapixels
    Sensor size is 36.0×24.0 mm
    ISO has auto capability and ranges from 100-51200
    Max shutter speed is 30 – 1/8000 sec

    Camera 2: Nikon D7500
    Max resolution 5568×3712
    21 megapixels
    Sensor size is 23.5 x 15.7 mm
    ISO has auto capability and ranges from 100-51200, can be expanded to 50-1640000
    Max shutter speed is 1/8000 sec
    In comparing both cameras, the glaring difference is the sensor size. The Canon EOS-1D X sensor is nearly double that of the Nikon D7500. Having used both, I can confirm the degree of difference in image quality resolution. The EOS-1D X has proven to deliver higher quality images, despite being inferior to the Nikon D7500 in the other categories. With that said, the Nikon D7500 body is more optimal for daily use (720 g in comparison to the 1D-X 1530 g) and boasts more modern components such as a titled LCD and touch screen.

  • compared two cameras that I’ve been recently playing around with, both are Canon DSLRs

    Camera1 – Canon EOS 80D:

    – Resolution: 24.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor
    – Size: 22.3 x 14.9mm
    – “Quality”:
    – Pixel size: 3.72µm
    – Focal length: 18-135mm
    – Aperture: f/3.5-5.6
    – Focusing system: AF Nano USM (UltraSonic Motor) w/ FT manual focus
    – Stabilization system: IS
    – Shutter: 30 – 1/8000 sec
    – Light metering: full aperture. Through-the-lens (TTL)
    – Focus detector: contrast, phase detection
    – Storage: SD
    – Framing: optical viewfinder & LCD

    Camera 2 – REBEL T6:

    – Resolution: 18 Megapixel CMOS sensor
    – Size: 22.3 x 14.9mm
    – “Quality”:
    – Pixel size: 4.30µm
    – Focal length: 18-55mm
    – Aperture: f/3.5-5.6
    – Focusing system: AF (DC micro motor)
    – Stabilization system: IS
    – Shutter: 30-1/4000 sec
    – Light metering: full aperture. Through-the-lens (TTL)
    – Focus detector: contrast, phase detection
    – Storage: SD
    – Framing: optical viewfinder & LCD

  • Compared two cameras:
    1. My Sony ZV-E10
    2. Friends’ Canon EOS 1300D


    – Resolution:
    — Sony 24M, 6000×4000
    — Canon 18M, 5184 x 3456

    — Max Printing size:
    — Sony 6000/240 = 25; 4000/240 = 16.6. Answer: 25 / 16.6 inch
    — Canon 5184/240 = 21.6, 3456/240 = 14.4

    — Crop factor:
    — Sony 1.53
    — Canon 1.61

    – Size
    — Sony 23.5 x 15.6
    — Canon 22.3 x 14.9

    – Pixel Size
    — Sony 15.13 mcm^2
    — Canon 18.4 mcm^2

    – ISO sensitivity
    — Sony 100 – 32000
    — Canon 100 – 6400


    – Light Metering
    — Sony: Spot
    — Canon: Partial

    – Shutter
    — Both 30s – 1/4000s

    – Picture framing
    — Sony: LCD
    — Canon: Optical Viewfinder
    — Sony f/3.5 – 5.6 16-50mm
    — Canon f/3.5 – 5.6 18-55mm

  • I am a beginner trying to learn and just have some fun!

    I have a Samsung 1100F with 16.4 megapixels and 3.5 Aperture Value. This camera does not have the capability to exchange lenses.

    I compared a Samsung NX300. This camera comes with 20.4 megapixels and Maximum Aperture of 5.6. It also has the ability to remove and change lenses as desired.

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