A brief about parts of a camera

If you wish to learn photography, then the very first thing to learn is how a camera works. And how the parts of camera work. Learning about parts of a camera is essential to learn about photography.

This fact will help you to use parts of a camera in a better manner. And will also help you to judge about the best quality cameras according to the functions of its different parts. It will also help you to buy a better camera for even professional purposes.

About the parts of a camera

  • In basic terms, a camera captures or records the light from the targeted area and then produces an image in itself.
  • The basic and the essential parts of a camera are its body, shuttle, lens, aperture and the image sensor.
  • The LCD screen in the camera is for two primary purposes. They are previewing the captured image and after that to view the image.
  • The body of the camera is generally a lightproof box. And the settings related to the exposure, controls and many other effects are there on the shape of the camera.
  • The shutter of the camera and the image sensor are also present on the body of the camera itself.
  • The lens of the camera varies from one model to another. Some cameras have a permanently attached lens while others have an option of a removable or interchangeable lens.
  • As soon as you press the shuttle button of the camera, the camera shutter immediately opens. And if any light is flowing through the lens of the camera, it directs to the image sensor of the camera via lens aperture and open shutter.
  • The camera’s lens size and the opening of aperture setting determine the light received by the image sensor. The exposure of light to the image sensor determines according to the speed of the shutter used.
  • The image sensor records the colors and features of the light when you take a picture, which saves to the memory card in the camera.
  • Generally, most of the objects reflect this reflected light takes some amount of light and color and the pictures or images captured by a camera.
  • The reflected light helps in capturing the images which save on the memory card of the camera. You can use this to produce images on the LCD screen of the camera or a computer screen, and it can even print on a photo paper.

Following is a more detailed description of parts of a camera for better understanding

The lens of a camera

The lens of the camera is one of the most critical components of a camera. It is the one which focuses on the reflected light of the targeted object. Moreover, the lens of the camera is a perfectly shaped plastic or maybe glass which are called elements.

Also, the light which is coming from the elements (or glass or plastic materials) go towards the center of the image, and here all the information regarding the light captures.

The quality of the lens plays a significant role in the quality and appearance of the picture because this part catches the light reflected from the object and decide the clarity of the illustration.

You can find different types of camera lenses in the market. However, there are few lenses which are most commonly used such as wide angle, standard, telephoto and zoom lenses.

If you start and want to study more about the working of these parts of a camera, then you should start by using tutorials for prime all zoom lenses as this will help you to learn the essential function of a camera lens.

You must remember that most of the basic compact cameras have fixed lenses which cannot change. However, the lenses which you can use in digital SLR cameras and other small system cameras are interchangeable that is, you can always change your camera lens according to the requirement of your images.

As this is one of the critical parts of a camera, we will discuss this part in a more expanded form in the further sections of this article.

Different types of camera lenses

There is no ambiguity in the fact that there are several options of camera lenses available in the market, but we have gathered information about the few most important and commonly used camera lenses:

Standard camera lens

A conventional camera lens has a mid-range focal length of approximately 50 mm. The angle of view is almost same as the angle by which human eye can produce images. Therefore, these lenses help in creating more natural photos.

Most of the standard camera lenses have a fixed focal length and aperture because of which they perform excellently even in low light. These lenses are very popular for many matters related to photography such as portraits, candid shots, and landscapes.

Macro camera lens

Micro camera lenses are especially for Close Up shots in photography. The internal construction of macro lenses is entirely different from standard lenses, which help in producing images which have an excellent sharpness and contrast balance.

These lenses are generally for shooting very close shots and even those objects which are very small such as insects, plants and animals and also for those objects where minute details are required to capture.

Telephoto camera lenses

Telephoto camera lenses are designed in such a way that they have a long focal length and provide a significant level of magnification facility. This fact allows us to capture images that are at an entirely far distance. The only demerit of these lenses is that they are bigger and more substantial as compared to other lenses.

However, their weight and size decrease because of modern technologies which have made it easier to carry.

There are many subjects where it is difficult to take photographs from a close distance such as wildlife and sports events. In such areas, telephoto lenses are very common. They are also in portrait photography because of their quality of providing a natural and clear perspective.

Wide Angle camera lenses

Wide Angle camera lenses have a short focal length which allows them to provide the view which cannot be captured by a standard camera lens. Wide-angle camera lenses capture the better scene in a single attempt.

Another category of Wide Angle camera lenses is there, which is known as extreme Wide Angle lenses and are commonly known as fisheye lenses. These lenses can capture up to 180 degrees in a single image, which helps in creating some abstract photos.

These lenses are widely used to capture scenes such as landscape views, different interiors and many such areas where a standard length won’t be able to catch an image.

Extreme Wide Angle lenses are beyond the primary Wide Angle lenses. Many events are captured by them such as skateboarding, surfing, and different sports events, where the images need to capture suddenly and in a precise manner.

Specialist camera lenses

parts of a camera

Some unique and different cases require the use of different types of specialist camera lenses.

Such rare cases include shifting and tilting of lenses for controlling the perspective, soft focus lenses for the portrait photography and many other lenses for capturing light outside the average spectrum.

Most specialist camera lenses are generally used to capture and create some different and creative effects. Hence, their requirement is least in the cases of general photography.

However, they are very much used in photography when you are capturing a particular subject for some research purposes.

Kit camera lenses

Kit camera lenses are generally there with a beginner level DSLR camera and are also called starter lenses. These lenses are usually very cheap, and thus, the quality is affected as they produce poor quality images.

As a beginner, you can go for them because they are best when you are low on your budget.

parts of a camera

Prime vs. Zoom camera lenses

  • A prime lens is that type of lens which has a fixed focal length, while zoom lenses are the ones who can zoom out or in a picture. Hence, they provide a better range of focal length. Both prime and zoom lenses have their own merits and demerits.
  • Prime lenses are the ones which have a better quality of optical lens than the zoom lenses. A better aperture is achieved with the help of prime lenses. Due to this, the performance of lens even in the low light remains excellent.
  • Their parts are immovable, and this makes them cheaper and lighter unlike the zoom lenses which are more flexible and mobile, which makes them better in different types of subjects.
  • As already mentioned, both prime and zoom lenses have their own merits and demerits. Therefore, the choice to buy them entirely depends on the experience level of the photographer and the subject which he wants to photograph.
  • For the beginners, zoom lenses can perform better as it will give you a wide range of focal length and allows you to experiment. On the other hand, those who are professionals in photography, then prime lenses can be a better choice as you know what your subject is supposed to be.

The Lens aperture

The lens aperture is not a different part but the part of the camera lens itself. The camera lens aperture is responsible for controlling the amount of light which reaches the image sensor of the camera. The lens aperture has different types of sides openings which are commonly known as F-stop.

The lens aperture having a wide opening will have the aperture setting as F2.8 or maybe F4 while on the other hand, the small opening will have an aperture setting of F16 or F11. The size of the opening of the camera also depends on the subject where the camera should be focusing and where it will not, this concept is called depth of field.

The Camera shutter

The light reflected by the subject matter enters the camera with the help of the camera lens. The light will not reach the sensor of the camera until you press the shutter button and it opens up. Out of all the parts of a camera, this part slows the light by which the image sensor of the camera exposes to light.

Shutter speed is the amount of time till which the shutter of the camera remains open, which is generally expressed in seconds or maybe fractions of the second.

A shutter speed of 1 by 30 means the camera shutter will remain open for one-thirtieth part of a second and in the same way the shutter speed of 1 by 250 means the shutter will rest open for two hundred and fiftieth of a second. The rate of the shutter plays a significant role in capturing an image.

Camera image sensor and pixels

The focused light which comes through the lens of the camera further directs to the image sensor of that digital camera. The detector first reads strong light is first read by the sensor and then captured, which later stores in the memory of the camera.

The camera sensor of the image has a proper grid which has millions of microscopic information related to light which gathers few elements called photo sites.

parts of a camera

All those photo sites are also widely known as pixels, and there are 1 million pixels in a single megapixel. Every photography image consists of millions of pixels. More the number of pixels, the better will be the quality of the image.

The camera’s images sensor also played a significant role in the quality of an image. Cameras which have bigger sensors tend to have more pixels. This fact will lead to the production of better colors and shadow areas. The image sensors of a DSLR camera are quite more extensive than those of the basic compact cameras.

Due to the improvement of technology, nowadays even the cameras inside the cell phones can create good quality images. This point is because good image sensors are present in them, which help in producing good quality images. All the professionals tend to choose the cameras which have greater image sensors because of the quality images.

The screen of the camera

Most of all the cameras nowadays have a liquid crystal display screen. The LCD screen is one of the parts of a camera which displays the captured image. It also makes it visible to you even before taking the picture.

The screen checks for any change in the focus or a re-evaluation while capturing the image. It later shows you the final output. When you analyze the model on the LCD screen before clicking it, this mode is called live view.

As soon as you press the camera shutter, the light coming from the lens reaches directly to the image sensor. It is recorded and displayed on the LCD screen of the camera.

All the settings and effects which you have done before capturing your image are visible on the LCD screens. These effects include the speed of the shutter, aperture setting, histogram, etc.

Eye level optical viewfinder

Almost all the DSLR cameras equip well with the eye-level optical viewfinder, and all of them also have an LCD screen. However, mini compact system cameras and other bridge cameras also have this feature.

While using an eye-level optical viewfinder, keep your camera close to your one eye to capture the object. However, this is a bit complicated process to do, and many people find it awkward. But when you use an eye-level viewfinder, there are better chances of stability of the camera as it will result in a better picture.

The DSLR cameras generally use a pentaprism and mirror system which helps in reflecting the light directly into the eye-level viewfinder through the lens. As the mirror flips up, the light reaches to the image sensor when you press the shutter button.

This mirror system in the DSLR cameras is one of the reason because of which they have a bigger size and also a higher price.


These parts of a camera help to look into the camera so that one can compose a shot. However, some cameras use the LCD screen for the view finding purpose. Many cameras even have both the options available.

 After capturing an image, there may be the case that the picture doesn’t look same as the viewfinder. It can be because of specific factors such as lightning, lens settings of the camera, capabilities of the camera, etc. These may affect the final output.

This fact is also the reason why viewfinder does not provide the final preview of the photo. However, it is a simple tool which helps in making your photograph better.

Mode Dial

As the technology is developing, most of the cameras have a wide range of functions and automatic features. There are different modes in a camera such as the automatic mode, a program mode, a sports mode or a macro mode. They help you decide the perfect style according to your subject.

parts of a camera

On the other hand, the older models of the cameras rarely have such features. And even if they have, you have to set it manually. This feature is also there in the compact cameras. You can choose any mode available on your touchscreen instead of a dialer.

Focus Ring

Most of the film or digital SLR cameras have a focus ring. You can generally found it on the lens of the camera. It helps in focusing on the image with the help of some manual control over it.

With the help of this focus ring, you are free to decide the focus of the image. And can choose the best among all. Many films and digital SLR cameras also have a feature of auto-focusing along with an additional focus ring. This fact can save you from the manual process.

However, it will be difficult for you to find a focus ring on point and shoot cameras as in this type of cameras the camera itself automatically sets the focus.

LCD Screen

Another of the parts of a camera is the LCD. Today most of the cameras have an LCD screen with them. On the other hand, the older film and digital SLR cameras may not have them. You can use this LCD screen of the camera to preview the images before and after the shot. And you can also do its work with the help of a viewfinder.

parts of a camera

There are also some cameras which allow you to edit photos as soon as they capture. All those facts with the help of this LCD screen.

Shutter Release Button

Almost all the cameras have a shutter release button with them. So you can use this parts of a camera when you want to capture an image. It helps in closing and opening the shutter which further decides the reflected light to enter the camera.

The quantity of time the shutter rests open is dependent upon the shutter setting done before capturing an image.


The body is one of the essential parts of a camera. Because of it most of the buttons set. And the frames can vary in shapes and sizes according to the camera. DSLR cameras have a large body and are generally more massive than the compact cameras.

However, there are also options for smaller sized cameras which can fit in the pocket.

So, these were some parts of a camera and the other necessary details, which will help you to learn more about photography and controlling different types and components of a camera.

Morgan Dominguez

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