Topic: Cameras

AF Assist Lamp

What Is an AF Assist Lamp and What Is It Used for in Photography? An AF assist lamp is a small light, usually built into a camera body above the lens mount. It is used to assist the camera in focusing on a subject in low light conditions by lighting up the subject area while the camera focuses. AF Assist lamps only work at very short distances due to the low power of their output and in order to work correctly they must only be lit whilst the camera focuses. Were an AF assist lamp to remain on whilst...

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Anti-Shake

What Is Anti-Shake and how Is it Used In Photography? In photography an anti-shake system compensates for unwanted movement of the camera which would otherwise blur a photograph whilst shooting, for example hand holding a camera whilst shooting in low light conditions. There are two main types of anti-shake system; Lens based anti-shake uses a moving optical element to counteract shaking. Camera based anti-shake uses a mechanism which allows the image sensor to move to compensate for unwanted movement. Anti-shake systems are also extremely popular with videographers who’s cameras do double duty as both a stills and video capture...

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Autofocus

What Is Autofocus? Autofocus (AF) is the feature of a camera that tries to ensure that your chosen subject is sharp within the photo.  Sensors detect how far away the subject is from the camera, and this information is relayed to the lens, which then uses an electronic motor to adjusts the focal distance of the lens.  Most point and shoot cameras are autofocus only, but all DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have the option to disable AF if desired. The first autofocus cameras were developed in the late 1970’s and their speed and accuracy has been improved greatly since that...

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Battery Grip

What Is A Battery Grip? A battery grip is an accessory that attaches to the bottom a camera and duplicates several of the regular buttons in a position that makes them easier to access when holding the camera in portrait orientation.  The grip makes it more comfortable to hold the camera in this way, and also provides easier access to these important buttons like shutter buttons and AF settings buttons or joysticks.  On top of this, a battery grip normally allows two regular camera batteries to be placed inside to power the camera for twice as long before needing...

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Bulb Mode

What Is Bulb Mode? When selecting the shutter speed on a camera, almost all cameras are limited to shutter speeds up to 30 seconds long (see shutter speed chart).  If you want to shoot a photo which has an exposure time of longer than 30 seconds, you need to use bulb mode.  Many cameras have a “B” setting on the mode dial next to the “M” for manual, and this indicates bulb mode.  Sometimes a camera might give access to bulb mode when yo try to change your shutter speed past the 30 second mark as well.  Again, if...

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Burst Rate

What Does Burst Rate Mean In A Camera? When you camera is set in continuous shooting mode, it will continue to shoot photos as long as you hold down the shutter button.  The speed at which it takes the photos is known as FPS, or Frames Per Second.  Before photos get written to the memory card, they are first stored to a small amount of internal memory in the camera called a buffer.  This buffer memory has a very fast write speed, faster than a regular memory card which is why they do this.  Once stored in the buffer,...

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Digital Zoom

What Is A Digital Zoom? A digital zoom is when a camera recreates the effect of zooming in with a lens by capturing the image from an increasingly smaller area of the camera’s sensor, and then blowing up that image to the regular size.  It appears as if the lens is zooming in, but in fact the effect is purely software based and has nothing to do with optics at all.  The smaller the area used on the sensor to capture the image, the larger the zoom effect appears to be.  The problem with this method is that it...

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Fill Factor

What Does Fill Factor Mean When Talking About Photography? Fill factor is the ratio of the light sensitive area of a pixel to the total area of a pixel on a digital imaging sensor. The higher the fill factor, the more sensitive a sensor is to light. Sensitivity directly effects the ability of a camera to capture images in low light situations without having to use either long exposure times, which can lead to loss or sharpness, or high ISO levels which can lead to excess noise. Light sensitivity and performance is one of the most important factors to...

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Frames Per Second

 What Does Frames Per Second Mean? Often abbreviated to just FPS, frames per second refers to the speed at which a camera can capture photos.  At the time of writing this definition, Canon’s top-of-the-line pro bodies are capable of capturing up to 14 photos in a single second (14 fps).  Technology is evolving rapidly though, and the chances are pretty good that by the time you read this glossary term, things will have reached an even higher level. Lower end cameras like consumer point and shoots, tend to be much slower at around the 2-3 fps level.  Mid-range DSLRs...

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Lag Time

What Is Lag Time? Lag time in photography is more often referred to as shutter lag.  For a detailed description of what shutter lag is, and why it’s important, please view the shutter lag glossary entry.   Additional Reading What Is Shutter Lag? What Is Burst Rate? What Is Burst Mode?...

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