Print this page

Basic Photography Lessons - Parts of a Camera


A digital camera contains hundreds of parts but it is important to understand the most essential parts of the camera that you will have to deal with as you explore its features.

camera parts 01

1. Body - Made of high grade plastic or metal, this holds all the other parts together as well as provide protection to the delicate internal parts of the camera.

2. Lens - A proper term for this part should be Lens Assembly, this consists of several layers of lenses of varying properties providing zoom, focusing, and distortion correction. These lenses are mechanically interconnected and adjustment is controlled either manually or electronically through the camera's body.

3. Shutter Release Button - This is the "trigger" of the camera. In most cameras, a half-press activates and locks the auto-focus, and a full press initiates the image capturing process.

4. Mode Dial - Contains several symbols (slightly different on various camera models), this dial allows you to select a shooting mode, automatic or manual or a choice between one of the pre-defined settings.

camera parts 02

5. Viewfinder - A small viewing window that shows the image that the camera's imaging sensor sees. This can either be an optical view finder, which shows the actual image in front of the camera through a peep hole or through mirrors, or an electronic view finder which is simply a small LCD display.

6. Aperture Ring - Found around the old manual lens of SLR camera this is used to select an aperture opening. In modern lenses, the aperture is controlled electronically through the body.

7. Focusing Ring - This can also be found around the lens of a DSLR camera. This is turned to manually focus the lens.

8. LCD Display - In some compact cameras this acts as the viewfinder. This is a small screen (usually 1.8" diagonally or bigger) at the back of the camera which can be used for framing or for reviewing the recorded pictures.

9. Flash - Built-in on the body of most compact and some DSLR cameras this can either be fixed or flip type, it provides an instantaneous burst of bright light to illuminate a poorly lit scene.

10. Control Buttons - Usually includes a set of directional keys and a few other buttons to activate certain functions and menus, this is used to let users interact with the camera's computer system.

camera parts 03

11. Power Switch - Turns On or Off the camera. This may also contain a Record / Play Mode selector on some cameras.

12. Zoom Control - Usually marked with W and T, which stands for "Wide" and "Tele" respectively, this is used to control the camera's lenses to zoom-in or zoom-out. For DSLR cameras, the zoom is usually controlled by a zoom ring in the lens.


camera parts 04


13. Battery Compartment - Holds the batteries. Depending on the camera model, this varies in size and shape.

14. Memory Card Slot - This is where expansion memory cards are inserted. The proper position of the card are often indicated. A mechanical catch usually holds the card in place and a spring helps it eject.

diopter15. Flash Mount (Hot-Shoe) - Standard holder with contact plates for optional Flash accessory.

16. Diopter Adjuster - Usually available in mid to high end sub-compact cameras and DSLRs located besides the viewfinder. This varies the focal length of the lens in the viewfinder to make even people wearing eyeglasses to see clearly through it even without the eyeglasses.

17. Tripod Mount - Here is where your standard Tripod or Monopod is attached for added stability.