Whether you have a basic point and shoot camera or a high-end, complex DSLR camera, knowing its parts and features will help you make the most out of it. Knowing the different methods in terms of maintenance will also make your camera last longer, providing you a good return of investment.
The lens are the most vital parts of a camera. The light enters through the lens, and this is where the photo process begins. Think of the lens as something that functions like the iris in your eyes. Lenses can be fixed permanently to the body or interchangeable. They can also vary in focal length, aperture, and other details. For DSLR users, different types of lenses are needed for different kinds of shots. For example, a wider shot requires a wide lens camera or something like that. To clean the lens, there are a lot of lens cleaner kits available in the market. They usually come with a cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth. It might seem like an ordinary piece of cloth, but it’s specially made not to damage or scratch your lens so you should consider investing in one and replacing it every few weeks or months (depending on your usage).
The viewfinder can be found on all DSLRs and it is also making its way into some models of digital compacts. On DSLRs, it will be the main visual source for image-taking, but many of today’s digital compacts have replaced the typical viewfinder with an LCD screen. The viewfinder provides the photographer with a glimpse of the picture outcome, or also shows the slew of options that the photographer can tweak. Cleaning this part is simple, all you need is a microfiber cloth (a separate one from the one you use for your lens) moistened with water to wipe those smudges away. If your viewfinder features a touch screen feature, it can get oily or smudgy fast.
The body is the main portion of the camera, and bodies can be a number of different shapes and sizes. DSLRs tend to be larger bodied and a bit heavier, while there are other consumer cameras that come at a conveniently smaller size and even allow you to carry it in your pocket. Unless you’re a hardcore camera aficionado, taking apart your camera can be tricky and dangerous. Most compact cameras on the market don’t allow you to take it apart anyway, so cleaning and maintaining it can be simple like wiping it with cloth, using a protective case, or something simple like avoid dropping it.
The shutter release button is the mechanism that “releases” or opens the shutter and therefore enables the ability to capture the image. The length of time the shutter is left open or “exposed” is determined by the shutter speed. Since this is commonly used, it can get worn out very easily. Once that happens, it can be very difficult to use it, since the slightest touch could set the shutter release button off. What you can do is to have it replaced by professionals. There are lots of camera shops around, and replacing the shutter release button isn’t that expensive.
The aperture affects the image’s exposure by changing the diameter of the lens opening, which controls the amount of light reaching the image sensor. Some digital compacts will have a fixed aperture lens, but most of today’s compact cameras have at least a small aperture range. This range will be expressed in f/stops. For DSLRs, the lens will vary on f/stop limits, but it is usually easily defined by reading the side of the lens. There will be a set of numbers stating the f/stop or f/stop range. This will be your lowest settings available with that lens.
You might have guessed it, but the aperture is one of the main internal parts of the camera. When this gets damaged or worn out through time, then replacing it can be very expensive and can cost as much as a new camera. Of course, since it’s in the internal part, then it will be well-protected from the elements and human hands.
The image sensor converts the optical image to an electronic single, which is then sent to your memory card. There are two main types of image sensors that are used in most digital cameras: CMOS and CCD. Both forms of the sensor accomplish the same task, but each has a different method of performance. Since both types function similarly, we won’t delve into the unnecessary details. However for maintenance, it will be the same as an aperture. It’s located internally so wear and tear won’t be much of a problem. Not to mention that replacing it would also mean a hefty price tag.
The memory card stores all of the image information, and they range in size and capacity. The main types of memory cards available are CF and SD cards, and cameras vary on which type that they require. Although your camera might use a sizeable memory card, it’s still a good idea to backup your images or data. Memory cards have been known to break down and are unreliable nowadays. Even if you purchase a high-end or expensive memory card, there’s no assurance that it will last for a specific number of years. Backing up your data frees the space on your memory card and it also gives you a soft copy, if the memory card breakdowns. Keeping a spare one will also help you if it breakdowns in the middle of a shoot.
A lot of cameras nowadays offer the use of cloud storage, eliminating the use of memory cards. However there’s no assurance that you will have Wi-Fi signal out in the field or in some remote location while you’re doing your shoot. A reasonably sized memory card is still very useful in these situations; just don’t forget to regularly upload it.
The on-board flash will be available on all cameras except some professional grade DSLRs. It can sometimes be useful to provide a bit of extra light during dim, low light situations. Cameras nowadays have very reliable flash bulbs fixed onto them, ensuring that they last long or until you replace your camera. If for some reason it does get burned out earlier than anticipated, you can always buy one and have it replaced at a cheaper price. Some DSLR cameras let you change the type of flash, but this change would depend on the situation and not for maintenance purposes. Of course when your flash burns out, having the option to easily attach a newer one, would be of very good help.
These are the basic camera parts that you can find in a high end DSLR camera or a simple point and shoot one. Whatever your choice of camera will be, remember that maintaining it is very important in ensuring its longevity and providing you with good service until you decide to upgrade or resell it.