Know Your Camera – Part 2

In the last post, I’ve explained about 3 basic types of camera. Now let’s move towards the one which will take you away from your normal life and towards a wonderful journey once you are well aware about it.Yes the DSLR! When we hold a DSLR for the first time, it’s obvious we get confused watching so many buttons and function and a screen showing some values and bars we’ve never seen before. At that time people simply switch the camera on auto mode and start taking the pictures. But auto mode is not the one which we are gonna use ever ahead. So let’s know how to use a DSLR.

The first rule which is “must” before using a DSLR is “RTFM”, i.e. “READ THE F…. MANUAL!” Every electronic gadget comes with a manual explaining how to use that gadget. But I think its a most ignored thing in the world. But before using your DSLR, I’ll recommend that please read your manual of camera because all the basic functions and buttons are explained very clearly in that book. You must know which button or functions are used for which purpose to use your DSLR in efficient way, because a fighter is worthless if he doesn’t even know how to use the weapon. Still if you want to take a quick look over structure of your camera, let’s have a look.

I use canon 600D. So I’m gonna explain the structure and functions in reference of 600D. But basically all DSLRs have same architecture of design as all DSLRs are designed to provide similar functionality. So even if you are using Canon, Nikon, Sony or any other SLR, they have almost similar buttons and functions.

A. Front View


Front view


1. Shutter release button : Most important button in camera. When auto focus is on, half press the button to focus SLR automatically. Also half press will activate image stabilizer if it is on. Full press will capture the image.

2. Lens mount index : Used to mount the lens, align lens’ red or white dot with the one on your camera mount ring and attach the lens by rotating up to lock position.

3. Contact : Electronic contact between lens circuits and camera hardware to control auto focus, IS,etc.

4. Mirror and sensor : It is that part where we should avoid to touch or avoid to keep it in open to keep internal part clean. Mirror is used to form image on viewfinder via pentaprizm. When we release the shutter, mirror flips and shutter behind it opens to allow the light on sensor. We should keep lens attached to the camera or close the mount by cap provided otherwise dust and particles will enter inside effecting image quality.

5. Lens release button : used to remove the lens.

6. Flash and Flash button : Internal pop-up flash which turns on automatically if set on auto mode or can be turned on by flash button.

7. DOF preview : To view the actual depth of field (will be explained later) before capturing the image this button is used.

B. Top View


Top view


1. Display button : To turn on/off the display, movie digital zoom (DISP + MAGNIFY).

2. Main dial : It is next main thing in the camera after shutter release. Used to change values like shutter speed, aperture, exposure etc. By default it is set on that mode which we are using. For example, if it’s aperture priority, dial will adjust aperture value, if it’s manual mode, dial will adjust shutter speed and <Av button + dial> will adjust aperture.

3. ISO button : To adjust ISO.

4. Main switch : To turn camera ON and OFF.

5. External flash mount : to mount the flash externally.

6. Focal plane mark : All the distances(ex. Macro dist) are measured form this point. It is the mark where sensor exist inside the camera.

7. Mode dial : To adjust various inbuilt modes provided in camera.


Mode Dial


a. Basic zone : In these modes, all you have to do is to press shutter button and camera do the rest, just like a point and shoot camera

b. Image zone : These modes are designed according to various situations as their names suggests

c. Video mode : To capture video

d. Creative zone : These modes are generally used to optimize your SLR fully and to create the best

Programmed : shutter and aperture are adjusted automatically rest we can change manually.

Shutter priority : Shutter speed adjustment is manual, aperture is automatic.

Aperture priority : Aperture adjustment is manual, shutter speed is automatic.

Manual mode : Everything is manual, generally used to capture images by your creativity.

Auto depth of field : DOF is set automatically by adjusting aperture. Tries to gain wider DOF.

C. Back View


Back View

1. Menu : Camera menu to change various camera, interface and other settings.

2. INFO : Information button, gives information about image, modes etc.

3. LIVE mode/ movie shooting : To view the live feed (one in the viewfinder) on screen/start and pause video shooting.


Live Mode


4. Exposure lock/Reduce : To lock the exposure values of particular frame so we can use those settings in other fame/digital zoom out.

5. AF point select/Magnify : To select auto focus point/digital zoom in.

6. Aperture/Exposure compensation : Set exposure compensation if exposure is not as desired/in manual mode shift to aperture from shutter speed for main dial.

7. Quick control : To jump and control all the settings on your screen.

8. Set button : To set changed settings.

9. WB : White balance button to change white balance.

10. AF : To change auto focusing mode.

11. Colour settings : Change basic colour setting for images.

12. Shooting mode : Change shooting mode, like single shot, continuous, timer etc.

13. Playback : To view images.

14. Delete : To delete images.

15. Dioptric adjustment : Adjust to get sharp viewfinder image.

16. LCD panel : Current settings are displayed on this screen. In live mode, live feed is set on this screen. Also to view images.

So we’ve seen all the basic functions and settings, hope this article is helpful to you. As now you can use SLR efficiently, knows very well how to use it so we can move ahead. In next posts I’ll explain how to take image more efficiently, “3 kings of photography” i.e. Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO, few basic rules and how you can implement your creativity using various settings to get a picture perfect!


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