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The Basic Parts of a DSLR Camera and Their Functions

DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex), I know you understand what they mean and surely it is easier for you to say “digital reflex camera”.

But do we really know that it is really a digital reflex camera and why are they still the favorite system of dedicated photographers today?

Basic Parts of a DSLR Camera and Their Functions

How many parts are there in DSLR?

The reflex system was created in 1861 but the first camera with this system came out in 1884 in England and was adopted as a standard system for many decades.

Today digital reflex cameras use the same system.

In the age of analog photography, a light-sensitive material was used, this material was known as film or “rolls” for the less technical.

Today in digital photography light-sensitive materials are also used but now they are small digital sensors that came to replace the film.

More easily, but cheaper and more common for all, digital photography quickly became the commercial standard, and not only that, now the cameras were on hand for any carrier.

Everyone wanted a camera and could have it, this happened with compact cameras.

Elements of DSLR:

The elements that matter to us today are from the reflex system:

  • Front elements of the lens.
  • Focus mechanism.
  • Diaphragm.
  • Shutter focal plane.
  • Movie.
  • Strap fastening.
  • Trigger.
  • Command speed.
  • Frame counter.
  • Rear reflex viewfinder.
  • The shoe flash.
  • Focus ring.
  • Pentaprism.
  • SLR mirror.

What does DSLR mean in Cameras?

Reflex cameras are the system preferred by photographers for a simple reason, it is possible for us to really see the light that is passing through our lens, and that is, it allows us to see the real scene through a mirror.

A clear comparison with bridge cameras is that we see the scene processed by a few chips through a screen that perhaps shows us an unbalanced scene of light and color because it may have a slightly unrealistic calibration.

That is why the reflex system is our favorite. Now we are going to tell you the parts of a DSLR camera and their functions.

Parts of a DSLR Camera and its Functions

External parts of a DSLR Camera

All the External parts of a DSLR camera are given below

  • Shoe
    A connection mount located on the top of the camera that allows you to attach flash or other accessories to the camera.

  • Integrated flash
    An electronic device that acts as a source of artificial light to illuminate a scene.

  • Lock button
    By holding it down, the security system is unlocked so that when placing the objective we do not fall. Similarly, to release the target, you must press on it again.

  • Image stabilizer switch
    This option can be on the lens or on the body of your camera. Turn it on for image stabilization to help you get sharper images.

  • ZOOM ring
    Rotating it determines the desired focal length (how close or far the object to be photographed will appear).

  • Manual focus ring
    Turning autofocus off turns this ring to focus manually. Ideal to use in low light conditions and autofocus does not find the image or you want to get creative.

  • Trigger
    A button that we press to activate the shutter and allow light to enter the sensor and take a picture.

  • Main dial
    It is used to change the different settings, for example, the ISO, the EV values (+ or -) and the different camera parameters.

  • ISO button
    A button that adjusts the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor according to the amount of light you are working with.

  • Mode dial
    It is a graduated wheel that allows you to select the shooting mode. Most cameras have an automatic mode (the camera chooses the shooting speed, aperture, and iso), manual mode (you as the photographer choose each parameter), and intermediate options.

  • Focus button
    Press this button to select the items you want to appear with the sharpest focus.
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Internal parts of a DSLR Camera

All the internal parts of a DSLR camera are given below.

  • Lens or objective: It is the removable device that is made up of several pieces and crystals inside.

    It allows the focus of the images and controls the entrance of light to the camera by means of the diaphragm or aperture adjustment according to its possibility.

  • Mirror reflection: Located inside the camera, with a 45-degree inclination. Directs light into a pentaprism that projects the image into the viewfinder. At this point the image is inverted.

  • Pentaprism: 5-sided piece of glass that is part of the eye-level viewfinder of DSLR cameras and serves to correct the lateral inversion of the image, which the mirror has already placed face up.

  • Viewer: Place, where the image is seen, allows determining the composition, the framing and the visual field that the image to photograph is covered.

  • Diaphragm: It is a mechanism of overlapping lamellae located inside the target. It has the function of controlling through openings the amount of light that enters the camera’s sensor.

  • Shutter: The mechanical curtain that controls the amount of light that enters the sensor during a certain time.

  • Image sensor: Light sensitive device that captures the information of the photographed image, and then passes it to the memory card.

Finally, on the sides we can find the odd dedicated button, although they are usually left for the connectors (TV output, miniUSB, etc. …) and at the bottom there is usually a hole for the battery and the thread for the tripod.

And basically, these are the internal and external parts of a DSLR camera, although they vary slightly depending on the model.

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Jason Baxter

Jason is a professional photographer based in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Loyd has been doing photography for over 14 years and specializes in fine art landscape photography. Loyd's work has appeared on book covers, CD covers, television, internet galleries, and on the walls of private residences.