Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video What is an SLR?, part of Canon 60D Essential Training.
All cameras have at least one thing in common; they have a lens that sits in front of a Focal Plane. On that Focal Plane is a recording medium, either a piece of light-sensitive film or paper or a digital image sensor. The Focal Plane needs to sit directly behind the lens because the lens is used to focus light on to your recording medium. Another way to think of it is that the recording medium looks through the lens. What's tricky about camera design is that if the recording medium is sitting there looking through the lens, how is there room for you to look through the lens to frame your shot? Camera designers have wrestled with this problem since the beginning of photography, and they've come up with lots of solutions.
For example, with a view camera you actually take the recording medium off so that you can look through your lens to line up the shot, and then you put the recording medium back on. Needless to say, this doesn't make for particularly speedy shooting. In a Twin-lens Reflex camera, you look through one lens and a second lens exposes the film. However, if I'm shooting up close my framing might be off due to the parallax shift between the two lenses. Similarly, in a Rangefinder camera I look through this viewfinder while the camera looks through this lens.
I still might have parallax issues, but with a camera like this I can actually change lenses and still have a viewfinder that works. The SLR, or Single-Lens Reflex, solves all of the issues with these other designs. With an SLR, there is just one lens, a single lens, and both you and the recording medium look through that same lens. To make that happen, there is a mirror inside your camera. Normally what happens is light comes through the lens and hits a mirror here, which bounces it up into this space up here, where there is a prism, or in some cameras, a series of additional mirrors, and the light is then bounced back out here through your viewfinder.
So if we look at it straight from the side here, you can see the light would go like this, and up here and out there. If I take the lens off of the camera, you can actually see that mirror. So, now we're looking inside the mirror chamber of the camera. Here's the mirror. You can see it's a 45 degree angle. When I take a picture, when I press the Shutter button, the mirror flips up, and that allows the light to get through to the Shutter. So the mirror flips up, the shutter opens, and what you see behind there is actually the image sensor.
You can see it's got kind of this weird, green, holographic look. Here's a slow-motion movie of this whole thing happening. You can see the mirror flip up, the Shutter open and close, and the mirror come back down. So, because of this mirror, it's possible when the mirror is down for light to get all the way through to the viewfinder so that I can see, but then when it's time to take the picture, the mirror comes up and light gets all the way through to the Image Sensor. So what's the downside? SLRs are larger than a typical Rangefinder camera, which makes them a little less convenient.
They can't have the giant media sizes of a big viewfinder. They've got lots of mechanical parts that can break, they can be noisy. But overall, today's SLRs, particularly digital SLRs, offer the best all-around camera design, allowing for incredible flexibility of lens choice, shooting options. They give you portability and a lot of ease-of-use. While there are a lot of great digital point-and-shoots on the market, and a point-and-shoot camera is often the best camera choice depending on the shooting situation... In spite of that, SLRs score over their smaller point-and-shoot counterparts both in terms of image quality and shooting flexibility. With their larger sensor size, they provide better quality, better low-light performance, and the ability to shoot with shallower depths of field.
With their interchangeable lenses, fast burst rates, and advanced features, you can shoot just about any subject with an SLR. Now, you just have to learn how to use it, but you'll learn all about that in this course.
- What is an SLR?
- Attaching a lens to a camera
- Deciding how many batteries and media cards are needed
- Setting Auto mode
- Changing ISO
- Changing image format and size
- Manually selecting a focus point
- Correcting exposure while shooting
- Controlling white balance
- Using a driver and self-timer
- Auto exposure bracketing
- Selecting a picture style
- Using Live View
- Shooting video
- Using custom functions, such as ISO expansion and mirror lockup
- Cleaning the camera and sensor
Skill Level Beginner
1. Getting to Know Your Canon SLR
2. Shooting in Auto Mode
3. Shooting in Program Mode
4. Controlling Autofocus
5. Controlling White Balance
Using white balance presets2m 28s
6. Using Drive Mode and the Self-Timer
7. Using Exposure Control Options
8. More Playback Options
9. Shooting with Scene Modes
10. Shooting with Flash
11. Shooting with Picture Styles
12. Using Live View
13. Shooting Video
14. Customizing Menus and Functions
15. Using Custom Functions
16. Caring for Your Camera
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