How Does Camera Work – The Only “DSLR Lecture” Before Shooting

How Does Camera Work – The Only “DSLR Lecture” Before Shooting

Before we dig into the “lecture” of how does camera work, it is better for you to know some of photography terms. By learning them, you will have a better understanding when it comes to the terminology. The working principle of a camera is very complicated. Here, I am putting them into as simple as possible so that who are not studying physics can understand much better. Learning how does camera work is not a must but you will have a better understanding on how a specific technique is done. If you think that you want to learn how to shoot like a pro first, just head over to the next chapter first. You can always come back to this basic principle later on. However, I highly recommend you to learn how does camera work before learning other skills.

Why DSLR is Called “DSLR”?

The first thing you may ask is that why a DSLR camera is called DSLR. DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex camera. It literally means that there is one lens inside the camera body and it is used to reflex light. Below are comparison between a DSLR camera, a mirrorless camera and a fool-proof camera.

How Does Camera Work

In the image, you can see that the path of light is totally different. For a DSLR, light travels through the lens, reflex up to the prism (a prism is much better than a mirror because it can provide total internal reflection), and then reflex again into photographer’s eye. On the other hand, for a mirrorless camera, light travels through the lens, directly onto optical sensor, and then display the image on the screen or electrical viewfinder. For the fool-proof camera, you can see that what you see in the viewfinder is not the same as the path travel into the camera body. In this case, what you see is different from what you will capture. That is why the mechanism of DSLR and mirrorless are much better. DSLR, however, is better than mirrorless because it use an optical viewfinder. No electronic process is required in using an optical viewfinder. Less power is consumer and the camera can save the processing power on processing and saving image faster. The most important thing is that the responsiveness of an optical viewfinder is so much faster than an electronic one. The is no delay, which means that you will not missing any moment for a fast moving object such as bird or athletes.

How Does Camera Work when Shutter is Released?

I think nothing is better than using a video to explain this. Here it is.

Here is what is going to happen when you press the shutter.

  1. Half press shutter.
  2. Camera will do auto metering and auto focusing. (Given that you are not setting them into manual mode)
  3. Fully press shutter.
  4. Aperture closes down to setting. (Given that you are not using fully manual lens)
  5. Mirror goes up.
  6. Shutter releases.
  7. Digital sensor captures the image.
  8. Shutter closes.
  9. Mirror goes down.
  10. Aperture opens back to widest.

All these steps happen within one of the second or even faster for a higher grade camera. Knowing this sequence is important for you to use manual mode or manual lens when you get more advance skill. As you know which part of the work flow is skipping or switching into manual, you can handle the manual mode better and faster.

OK. I think that is already enough for you to learn for how does camera work. For other details, such as how a camera auto-focus, I think they are more the less in the field of camera engineer. I hope you enjoy this tutorial. Please share it with your friends by clicking the social media button below.