A list of the parts of a digital camera

Written by matt brogan
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A list of the parts of a digital camera
Digital cameras can be broken down into a list of simple functions and processes (camera in white image by Chef from Fotolia.com)

While film cameras still exist, the digital camera is the predominant means of photography around the world. Makes and models of the digital camera vary in their offerings and functionality but all revolve around the same parts and processes. A brief understanding of these components can not only improve the ease in which you operate your digital camera but also have a large impact on the quality of the final image.

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Lens

The lens, made from glass optics, helps to focus on an object and capture the final image. A prime lens has a fixed focal length while a zoom lens allows users to zoom in closer to a subject.

Aperture

Some digital cameras have a fixed aperture but most are adjustable. When adjustable, the aperture is a hole that can be made larger or smaller to control how much light falls on the sensor. This will determine how light or dark the final image is.

Shutter

The shutter determines how long light is allowed to fall on the sensor. The time a shutter stays open can range from milliseconds to hours. Also affecting the brightness of the capture, longer shutter speeds will record movement within an image while short shutter speeds will provide clean and crisp captures.

Sensor

A digital sensor replaces the film aspect on a digital camera. Using a large array of small dots, this component captures light and colour information to produce what we see when looking at a photo.

Viewfinder

This is the window that allows a user to see what image the camera will capture.

Flash

The flash is an optional device which sits above the lens, usually on the top of a camera. It can be used to lighten up a scene with a single burst of light given off when an image is taken. Not all cameras have an on-board flash. They can be bought separately and attached to a camera body.

Shutter Button

Located on the top of any camera, this button is pressed to capture a photo.

LCD Panel

Most modern digital cameras have an LCD screen to view captured images and navigate menu screens.

Menu Controls

All digital cameras will have some degree of menu controls. Most commonly located next to the LCD screen, these buttons allow users to control functions on the digital camera such as white balance, ISO speeds, aperture, shutter speeds, custom settings and other functions depending on the brand of camera.

Memory Card

Once an image has been captured by the digital sensor it will be transported to the memory card. This is the storage device of any camera and allows users to view images and transfer them to a computer.

USB port

Using a USB cable connected from this port to a computer, users can transfer or copy images to a PC or Macintosh.

Battery

This provides life to a camera. Batteries must consistently be charged using the camera's charger kit.

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