There are so many dif­fer­ent cam­eras with dif­fer­ent fea­tures avail­able now that it can be hard to know which one is right for you if you’re just get­ting start­ed. That is why we decid­ed to focus on novice and ama­teur pho­tog­ra­phers and tell you a lit­tle about how the cam­era works and what is impor­tant to know at the very begin­ning of the jour­ney.


The cam­era, like an organ­ism, con­sists of var­i­ous parts, but we will not unscrew it and talk about each micro­cir­cuit, we will sim­ply con­sid­er those parts that have a direct impact on the result, that is, on the pho­to.

The cam­era body, or body, is essen­tial­ly the cam­era itself. Its main role is ease of use, set­tings and man­age­ment. Things like the dis­play, the lay­out of set­tings and but­tons affect the shoot­ing process.

The lens is the eyes of the cam­era and it is respon­si­ble for our final image. Each lens pro­vides dif­fer­ent fea­tures, so it’s impor­tant to know the dif­fer­ences and choose your lens care­ful­ly for every­day shoot­ing.

The Matrix is ​​a dig­i­tal ana­logue of the film, on which every­one was filmed en masse in the decade before last. Like film, the matrix cap­tures the light that enters the cam­era through the lens, records it and saves it to flash mem­o­ry (usu­al­ly a mem­o­ry card). The size of the matrix is ​​fun­da­men­tal­ly impor­tant for the qual­i­ty of pho­tog­ra­phy.

A flash dri­ve is our mem­o­ry, it is the space where pho­tos are stored. A novice pho­tog­ra­ph­er, as a rule, does not pay much atten­tion to her, right up to the first work “in the field”. How­ev­er, mem­o­ry cards dif­fer not only in size, but also in the speed of writ­ing / read­ing. For a hard­ened reporter, for exam­ple, such moments can play a very impor­tant role. And for dif­fer­ent shoot­ing pur­pos­es, of course, you should pay atten­tion to dif­fer­ent types of cards.

Bat­tery — As in any device, the bat­tery pro­vides imme­di­ate life and oper­a­tion of the cam­era. This seems sim­ple and obvi­ous, how­ev­er, lat­er in this les­son we will explain why some­times a small­er bat­tery capac­i­ty can work.

Camera Body

As men­tioned above, the body affects the con­ve­nience of shoot­ing. First of all, it is the size. It is not always con­ve­nient to car­ry a huge cam­era with you in order to catch the right moment. It is not always con­ve­nient to deal with a small case. The choice of the appro­pri­ate size depends, for exam­ple, on the hands, the length of the fin­gers, etc. The eas­i­est way to find out if a cam­era is right for you is to hold it in your hands, take pic­tures with it. In short, take a test dri­ve.

The size of the cam­era, of course, affects both the loca­tion of the but­tons and the ease of oper­a­tion. Small soap­box­es, for exam­ple, use a very sim­ple lay­out because they have few­er con­trollers and but­tons. Already on small SLR cam­eras, the dif­fer­ence becomes notice­able. And on flag­ships and pro­fes­sion­al cam­eras, all the but­tons are locat­ed so that the user can reach them with­out mak­ing unnec­es­sary move­ments. But then again, every­thing needs to be tried. For exam­ple, select man­u­al set­tings and check what each one does. If you have already encoun­tered shoot­ing, imme­di­ate­ly refer to the set­tings that you use most often. If you are new to this busi­ness, try and try to find the best option.

Of course, the most impor­tant but­ton does not have the last role — and its loca­tion varies on dif­fer­ent cam­eras. For exam­ple, on the top of the case, or on the front.


Each sit­u­a­tion is good for a cer­tain lens, so it is espe­cial­ly impor­tant to under­stand the dif­fer­ence between dif­fer­ent mod­els. The first and main dif­fer­ence is the zoom lens (vari­able focal length lens) and prime lens (fixed focal length lens). The zoom lens will allow you to enlarge the image or reduce it. They tend to be more expen­sive, larg­er and heav­ier than prime lens­es. But they pro­vide more options. Prime lens­es won’t let you zoom in, but they’re cheap­er, lighter, and small­er. In the cheap seg­ment, it often turns out that prime lens­es give high­er clar­i­ty. But among expen­sive lens­es there is no such dif­fer­ence.

The sec­ond clas­si­fi­ca­tion of lens­es is wide-angle, stan­dard, medi­um, tele­pho­to, and ultra-tele­pho­to. All these sub­species are based on the focal length of the lens. It is mea­sured in mil­lime­ters and, in fact, means the pos­si­bil­i­ty of increas­ing. The low­er this fig­ure — the fur­ther you can reduce the pic­ture, the more — the fur­ther you can increase it. Each type can be described in more detail:

wide angle lens

As a rule, any lens with a focal length up to 35mm is con­sid­ered to be such. The wider the lens (and the short­er the focal length), the more the lens can see. The widest are fish­eye lens­es, they usu­al­ly have a focal length of 8–10mm. The usu­al width has indi­ca­tors of 14–28mm. Wide-angle lens­es not only accom­mo­date more objects and space, but also dis­tort the image, cre­at­ing depth and giv­ing some spheric­i­ty to space. Depend­ing on the cir­cum­stances, this effect can play a plus or a minus. Some lens­es cor­rect for dis­tor­tion.

Standard Lens

The focal length of a stan­dard lens is 35–50mm. Such a lens, in fact, catch­es the image as close as pos­si­ble to what the human eye sees. While oth­er lens­es dis­tort or flat­ten the pic­ture. Stan­dard lens­es are called stan­dard lens­es for a rea­son — the pho­tos tak­en by them seem nor­mal in size and famil­iar to the eye. More often than not, the 50mm lens costs the least, while still deliv­er­ing the good qual­i­ty that expen­sive zoom lens­es can pro­vide. Stan­dard lens­es are also a com­pro­mise between dif­fer­ent types of glass, although there are of course sit­u­a­tions where oth­er types of lens­es need to be addressed.

Medium lens

The aver­age lens has a focal length of 60–100mm and is gen­er­al­ly not suit­able for every­day use. Of course, some pho­tog­ra­phers pre­fer 60 or 85mm for por­traits, but more often than not, this dis­tance is includ­ed in the size of the zoom lens­es, where it can be sim­ply used when need­ed. There are stan­dard lens­es with focal lengths rang­ing between 28mm and 70mm.

telephoto lenses

Tele­pho­to lens­es or tele­pho­to lens­es, as they are briefly called by pro­fes­sion­als, come to the res­cue when a strong increase is need­ed. All lens­es with a focal length of more than 100mm are already includ­ed in this class, but focal lengths of more than 400mm are already ultra tele­pho­to lens­es. These lens­es are heavy due to their size and are not cheap. They are used when it is not pos­si­ble to get close to the object. They have their draw­backs — they are more prone to image blur and are not that strong in low light. Accord­ing­ly, those lens­es that are lighter and have high­er char­ac­ter­is­tics, such as image sta­bi­liza­tion, will be much more expen­sive than sim­pler ver­sions.

Tele­pho­to lens­es are a nec­es­sary item in the arse­nal of a reportage pho­tog­ra­ph­er, when shoot­ing con­certs, sport­ing events (foot­ball match­es, etc.), in addi­tion, they are used by paparazzi in order to be able to dis­creet­ly shoot a char­ac­ter from afar.

Matrix and CPU

If we try to for­mu­late the func­tion of the matrix sim­ply, it is respon­si­ble for the “fil­tered” light that pass­es through the lens, so as not to con­fuse our­selves, let’s call this light an image. The type of matrix and its size (larg­er or small­er) deter­mine the result that we get — a pho­to­graph.

First of all, it must be said about the matrix that size mat­ters. In minia­ture soap dish­es, for exam­ple, the matrix is ​​small, so this fac­tor is not so sig­nif­i­cant when choos­ing a soap dish. When it comes to cam­eras with inter­change­able lens­es, such as SLR or mir­ror­less, the sen­sor is cru­cial. The larg­er size pro­vides bet­ter low-light per­for­mance, more con­trol over depth of field, and more res­o­lu­tion in the final image with less noise.

Most DSLRs use an APS‑C sized sen­sor. APS‑C typ­i­cal­ly increas­es lens capa­bil­i­ty by 1.6x. That is, a 35mm lens on an APS‑C SLR cam­era is prac­ti­cal­ly a 56mm lens on a reg­u­lar 35mm cam­era. This works well with tele­pho­to lens­es, but is not very use­ful when work­ing with wide-angle lens­es — not every one of them will give the promised width on an APS‑C sen­sor. A 10mm fish­eye will give the same result as a 16mm lens. For most pho­tog­ra­phers, this does­n’t mat­ter, but it’s some­thing you need to keep in mind.

Some expen­sive cam­eras (like the Canon 5D Mark II) use a full frame sen­sor. It is equal in frame size to 35mm film, while in APS‑C the frame is equal to half of it. A full-frame sen­sor gives you all the ben­e­fits of a larg­er sen­sor, but los­es 1.6x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. In fact, it gives the max­i­mum prox­im­i­ty to ana­log shoot­ing.

It is also impor­tant how many megapix­els are in the matrix. Here, the inverse pro­por­tion­al­i­ty just works — the more pix­els, the more noise is obtained in the pic­ture. There­fore, the ratio of a small matrix — a lot of megapix­els — this is not what you want from a cam­era. 6.3 or 8–10 megapix­els is more than enough for an aver­age cam­era. But again, do not for­get to test, con­sult and look for a ratio that suits you.

Flash card

So we got to the dif­fer­ent types of mem­o­ry cards: they dif­fer not only in size, but also in speed. Most cam­eras now use either SD/microSD or less com­mon­ly Com­pact­Flash cards. The speed of the card is impor­tant because the speed of the cam­era itself is impor­tant. The card must keep up with the cam­era, for exam­ple, when shoot­ing a large num­ber of pho­tos in a row, and espe­cial­ly when shoot­ing video. In the case of an SD card, it’s best to use any­thing faster than 15Mb/s, Com­pact­Flash is 133x.

Vol­ume is always impor­tant, espe­cial­ly for those who shoot in RAW for­mat. Such pho­tos weigh more than JPEGs and allow much more free­dom in post-pro­cess­ing.


So, most DSLRs include a bat­tery that will eas­i­ly last a full day. But com­pact cam­eras, on the con­trary, are far from always able to allow such a lux­u­ry to the user. If you’re look­ing for a com­pact cam­era, it’s best to con­sid­er both the capac­i­ty of the main bat­tery and the cost of a spare. Some­times the cam­era includes every­thing you need, but its bat­tery is not pow­er­ful enough, and a spare will cost much less than oth­er options for sim­i­lar cam­eras.

With a SLR cam­era, as a rule, every­thing is more com­pli­cat­ed — the bat­tery will be more capa­cious, that’s a fact, but there are also options that can be used to extend its life. For exam­ple, on old­er DSLRs, you can use either the viewfind­er or the dis­play, and the for­mer will last longer.

Now there are more and more new points that need to be tak­en into account — the dis­play, the touch­screen, the frame rate per sec­ond and much more. How­ev­er, the main parts remain the same and now you can get a lit­tle bet­ter under­stand­ing of how your cam­era works.