Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video What is an SLR?, part of Nikon D7000 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 onto 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. You already know where the lens is on your camera. It's this big thing sticking off the front and of course here's your viewfinder. Your image sensor sits right back here directly behind the lens. So to expose the sensor, light comes straight through the lens to the sensor.
So how is it that I can look through this viewfinder up here and see the light coming into the lens? On this camera it's all done with mirrors and prisms. Light comes into the lens and there is a mirror right here. It bounces off that mirror and comes up here into something called a pentaprism, a complex prism arrangement that then bounces the light back out so my eye can see it. Sitting right behind this mirror, there is a shutter that opens and closes. So when I push the shutter button, the mirror raises up, at that point the light can no longer get into my viewfinder.
That's why the viewfinder goes black when you press the shutter button. So the mirror flips off and now light can get straight back to the shutter. The shutter opens and closes to expose the sensor. You can actually see this if you take the lens off your camera, right in here in what's called the mirror chamber. You can see the mirror sitting right there, now when I press the shutter button that mirror pops up and then behind it is the shutter which opens and closes. In this video you can see that happening on a different type of camera.
You can see the mirror pop up, the shutter open and close and then the mirror come back down. So sitting right behind that mirror is the shutter that opens and closes and behind the shutter is the image sensor. So what's the downside? SLR is a larger than a typical rangefinder camera, which makes them a little less convenient. They can 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 Nikon SLR
2. Shooting in Auto Mode
3. Shooting in Program Mode
4. Controlling Autofocus
5. Controlling White Balance
Using white balance presets2m 11s
6. Understanding Release Modes
7. Using the 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 Modes
15. Using Custom Settings
16. Retouching Images
17. Caring for Your Camera
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