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Rating digital cameras (february)
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Everything is relative: interchangeable lenses for cameras from third-party manufacturers
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Deciphering the series and labeling of Sony cameras
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Collaborations of well-known smartphone manufacturers and photo industry giants
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Deciphering the series and markings of Nikon cameras
As part of this article, we will focus on decoding the Nikon camera series
Digital Cameras: specifications, types
— Digital compact. This term refers to the simplest variety of modern digital cameras — those that are often called "soap dishes" in everyday life. As the name implies, these models are small in size, so most of them can be carried even in your pocket. Other specific features include a small sensor (see "Sensor Size"), a fixed lens, and a high degree of automation — digital compacts with full manual shooting options are the exception rather than the rule. In general, this type of camera is designed mainly for amateur shooting — in most cases, the image quality is quite sufficient for domestic purposes, but such devices are usually unsuitable for professional photography.
— “Mirrorless” cameras MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera — literally “mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses”) are compact cameras that are a kind of hybrid between compact digital cameras and “DSLRs”. They are not equipped with a system of mirrors, the viewfinder (if any) is made electronic or optical (see below), which allows you to minimize the weight and dimensions of the camera. On the other hand, such devices use matrices of the same class as in SLR cameras, which ensures high quality shooting with a minimum of noise. As the name suggests, MILC cameras also typically work with interchangeable lenses.
— Digital SLR cameras. The most technically advanced class of digital cameras. It got its name from the system of mirrors installed in the...camera body; thanks to these mirrors, light enters the viewfinder directly through the lens (and not through the auxiliary window, as on compact cameras). As a result, the photographer sees what will be shot in real time, with high-quality colour reproduction and high brightness. It is also important that the "SLR" matrix is closed from light most of the time — the light hits it only at the time of shooting, due to which it practically does not heat up and the noise in the resulting image is minimized. The lenses of such cameras are made interchangeable, and many settings, unlike conventional digital cameras, can be set manually.
— For a mobile phone. Cameras designed to be installed on a smartphone as an external accessory and not designed for stand-alone use. Outwardly, such a device resembles a lens with a mount on the phone case; however, inside this “lens” there is a full-fledged matrix, an image processor and a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth wireless module for connecting to a smartphone. The smartphone itself, when used, simultaneously plays the role of a screen and a control device, in addition, footage can be immediately transferred to it. Technically, a similar camera can be connected to another gadget — for example, a tablet: it's not a fact that it can be fixed on the case, but the connection itself is quite possible.
The presence or absence of a lens in the scope of delivery of a SLR or mirrorless camera (see "Type").
— Body (without lens). A kit that includes only the "carcass" of the camera — optics for it must be purchased separately. On the one hand, this is associated with additional troubles and costs; on the other hand, you can choose the lens at your discretion (or use a compatible “glass” already available on the farm). Therefore, professional photographers most often prefer this configuration option.
— Kit (with lens). A kit that includes both the camera itself and the lens for it. This configuration allows you to use the camera immediately "out of the box" without purchasing additional accessories. At the same time, complete "whale" lenses are often the simplest universal optics with modest capabilities, designed more for teaching the basics of photography than for serious tasks. Therefore, this option is considered suitable mainly for beginners and undemanding photographers. However, there are exceptions: top camera models can be equipped with fairly advanced lenses that immediately provide quite decent image quality.
— Double kit (2 lenses). An extended version of the "kit" configuration (see above), which includes two lenses with different characteristics. The specific capabilities of such lenses may be different: for example, the kit may includ...e a "station wagon" and a telephoto lens, or a telephoto lens and a portrait lens. Anyway, this equipment expands the possibilities available out of the box. However, like a regular kit, this option is most often designed primarily for beginners and undemanding photographers.
The camera has firmware based on the Android operating system.
This OS was created specifically for mobile gadgets, primarily smartphones and tablets. In the case of cameras, the key differences between Android and more traditional firmware are:
— An abundance of additional features, some of which are very far from the original purpose of the camera. Examples include the built-in browser, email client, calendar, player, etc.
— The ability to further expand the functionality of the device by installing additional applications.
— Tight integration with Google services: Internet search, Gmail, Google Docs and Google Photos, etc. (however, in modified versions of Android, this functionality may be curtailed or removed altogether).
In addition, a touch screen and wireless communication modules are almost mandatory for Android devices — at least Wi-Fi, often also Bluetooth and a GPS receiver.
Thus, cameras with Android on board, in fact, are multifunctional devices — a kind of analogue of smartphones with advanced photographic capabilities, but without telephone functions. On the other hand, such versatility significantly affects the cost; and at a similar cost, a camera with Android will most likely be inferior in quality to a device with more traditional firmware.
It is also worth mentioning that this feature is found only in digital compacts (see "Camera type") — it is inconvenient or un...justified to use Android in other types of devices.
Ability to capture a 3D image with a camera.
3D content is perceived by the viewer not as a flat picture, but as a three-dimensional scene. To create this effect, you need to have two separate images, slightly different from each other — one for each eye. But the ways of obtaining such an image may be different.
So, some cameras have a pair of lenses or use special adapters for standard optics. With this method, hardware, you can get not only photos, but also video in 3D, but it is not cheap. Therefore, in fact, software methods of 3D shooting are more common — for example, combining two photos taken from different points into one shot. These methods also work with conventional lenses, but are limited in use — in particular, they are not suitable for shooting moving objects and do not allow recording video.
Note that to view 3D content, you will need a 3D-enabled screen, such as a TV.
The result shown by the camera in the DxOMark ranking.
DxOMark is one of the most popular and respected resources for expert camera testing. According to the test results, the camera receives a certain number of points; The more points, the higher the final score.
— CCD (CCD). Abbreviation for Charge-Coupled Device. In such sensors, information is read from the photosensitive element according to the “line at a time” principle — an electronic signal is output to the image processor in the form of separate lines (there is also a “frame at a time” variant). In general, such matrices have good characteristics, but they are more expensive than CMOS. In addition, they are poorly suited for some specific conditions — for example, shooting with point light sources in the frame — which is why you have to use various additional technologies in the camera, which also affect the cost.
— CMOS (CMOS). The main advantages of CMOS matrices are ease of manufacture, low cost and power consumption, more compact dimensions than those of CCDs, and the ability to transfer a number of functions (focus, exposure metering, etc.) directly to the sensor, thus reducing the dimensions of the camera. In addition, the camera processor can read the entire image from such a matrix at once (rather than line by line, as in CCD); this avoids distortion when shooting fast-moving objects. The main disadvantage of CMOS is the increased possibility of noise, especially at high ISO values.
— CMOS (CMOS) BSI. BSI is an abbreviation for the English phrase "Backside Illumination". This is the name of "inverted" CMOS sensors, the light on which does not penetrate from the side of the photodiodes, but from the back of the matrix (from the side of the substrate...). With this implementation, the photodiodes receive more light, since it is not blocked by other elements of the image sensor. As a result, back-illuminated sensors boast high light sensitivity, which allows you to create images of better quality with less noise when shooting in low light conditions. BSI CMOS sensors require less light to properly expose a photo. In production, back-illuminated sensors are more expensive than traditional CMOS sensors.
— LiveMOS. A variety of matrices made using the technology of metal oxide semiconductors (MOS, MOS — Metal-Oxide Semiconductor). Compared to CMOS sensors, it has a simplified design, which provides less tendency to overheat and, as a result, a lower noise level. It is well suited for the "live" viewing mode (viewing in real time) of the image from the matrix on the screen or in the camera's viewfinder, which is why it received the word "Live" in the title. They also feature high data transfer rates.
The physical size of the photosensitive element of a camera. Measured diagonally, often indicated in fractions of an inch — for example, 1/2.3" or 1/1.8" (accordingly, the second matrix will be larger than the first). Note that in such designations it is not the “ordinary” inch (2.54 cm) that is used, but the so-called "Vidiconovsky", which is less than a third and is about 17 mm. This is partly a tribute to the tradition that comes from television tubes — “vidicons” (the forerunners of modern matrices), partly a marketing ploy that gives buyers the impression that the matrices are larger than they actually are.
Anyway, at equal resolution (see Number of megapixels), a larger sensor size means a larger size of each individual pixel; accordingly, on large sensors, more light enters each pixel, which means that such sensors have a higher photosensitivity (see Light sensitivity) and a lower noise level, especially when shooting in low light conditions.
Most often in modern cameras there are such options:
— 1/2.3" and 1/1.7". Small matrices, typical for models without interchangeable lenses — compacts and digital ultrazooms(see "Camera type").
— 4/3. A kind of "transitional option" between small sensors of compact devices and large, but at the same time expensive "SLR" APS-C. The size of such a matrix is 18x...13.5 mm, which gives a diagonal of 22.5 mm (approximately 4/3 of the "Vidicon" inch described above, hence the name). It is used in SLR and "mirrorless" cameras (see "Camera type"), mainly entry-level, with Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds mounts, respectively.
— APS-C. The size of matrices of this type can vary from 20.7x13.8 mm to 25.1x16.7 mm, depending on the manufacturer. They are widely used in entry-level and mid-level SLRs, as well as "mirrorless" models.
— APS-H. Somewhat larger than the APS-C described above (the size is 28.1x18.7 mm), otherwise it is almost completely the same.
— Full frame (or APS). The size of such a matrix is equal to the frame size of a classic photographic film — 36x24 mm. It is usually equipped with professional-grade SLR cameras.
— Big frame. This category includes all types of matrices, the size of which exceeds 36x24 mm (full frame). Cameras with similar sensors belong to the so-called medium format class and are, usually, professional models of the premium level. Large matrices allow you to use a resolution of tens of megapixels, while maintaining high clarity and colour quality, however, such devices cost accordingly.
The total number of individual light sensitive dots (pixels) provided in the camera's sensor. Denoted in megapixels — millions of pixels.
The total number of MPs, usually, is greater than the number of megapixels from which the frame is directly built (for more details, see "Effective number of MPs"). This is due to the presence of service areas on the matrix. In general, this parameter is more of a reference than practically significant: a larger total number of MPs with the same size and effective resolution means a slightly smaller size of each pixel, and, accordingly, an increased likelihood of noise (especially at high ISO values).
Effective number of MP
The number of pixels (megapixels) of the matrix directly involved in the construction of the image, in fact — the number of points from which the captured image is built. Some manufacturers, in addition to this parameter, also indicate the total number of MPs, taking into account the service areas of the matrix. However, it is the effective number of MPs that is considered the main indicator — it is this that directly affects the maximum resolution of the resulting image (see “Maximum image size”).
A megapixel is 1 million pixels. Numerous megapixels ensures high resolution of the captured photos, but is not a guarantee of high-quality images — much also depends on the size of the sensor, its light sensitivity (see the relevant glossary items), as well as hardware and software image processing tools used in the camera. Note that for small matrices, high resolution can sometimes be more of an evil than a blessing — such sensors are very prone to the appearance of noise in the image.
Maximum picture size
The maximum size of photos taken by the camera in normal (non-panoramic) mode. In fact, this paragraph indicates the highest resolution of photography — in pixels vertically and horizontally, for example, 3000x4000. This indicator directly depends on the resolution of the matrix: the number of dots in the image cannot exceed the effective number of megapixels (see above). For example, for the same 3000x4000, the matrix must have an effective resolution of at least 3000*4000 = 12 million dots, that is, 12 MP.
Theoretically, the larger the size of the photo, the more detailed the image, the more small details can be conveyed on it. At the same time, the overall image quality (including the visibility of fine details) depends not only on resolution, but also on a number of other technical and software factors; see "Effective MP number" for more details.
Light sensitivity (ISO)
The sensitivity range of a digital camera matrix. In digital photography, light sensitivity is expressed in the same ISO units as in film photography; however, unlike film, the light sensitivity of the sensor in a digital camera can be changed, which gives you more options for adjusting shooting parameters. High maximum light sensitivity is important if you have to use a lens with a low aperture (see Aperture), as well as when shooting dimly lit scenes and fast-moving objects; in the latter case, high ISO allows you to use low shutter speeds, which minimizes image blur. However, note that with an increase in the value of the applied ISO, the level of noise in the resulting images also increases.
The presence in the camera of a special mechanism for cleaning the matrix from dust and other contaminants.
This function is found only in models with interchangeable lenses — "reflex cameras" and MILC (see "Camera type"). When replacing the lens in such cameras, the sensor turns out to be open, and the probability of its contamination is quite high; and extraneous particles on the matrix, at best, lead to the appearance of extraneous artifacts, at worst, to damage to the sensor. To avoid this, cleaning systems are provided. They usually work on the principle of ultrasound: high-frequency vibration "resets" debris from the surface of the sensor.
Note that no cleaning system is perfect — in particular, such systems are “too tough” for condensate, salt deposits and other similar contaminants. So the matrix may still need manual cleaning (ideally, in a service centre). Nevertheless, this function allows you to effectively deal with at least dust, which greatly simplifies the life of the user.
Recording in RAW format
Ability to take photos in RAW format.
This format is a kind of "digital negative": unlike JPEG, the RAW file does not contain the finished image, but the original digital data from the matrix. This data in such a file is not subjected to any processing or compression; in addition, they include a number of service information: camera model, shooting conditions, processing parameters, graphic preview, etc. The meaning of this format is that RAW data can be processed in different ways and several images can be obtained from one “negative”, which differ in to its properties.
Anyway, the ability to shoot in RAW is typical for fairly advanced cameras designed for professionals and keen enthusiasts. At the same time, many models are able to save one picture in two formats at once — both the finished JPEG and the “raw” RAW.
No AA filter
No AA filter in camera design.
The AA filter is responsible for "anti-aliasing" — the elimination of the moiré effect. This effect can occur when shooting objects with a lot of thin horizontal or near-horizontal lines (for example, a brick wall at a great distance, or a suit made of a certain type of fabric). It leads to the appearance of a characteristic pattern in the picture, which, usually, is inappropriate; to eliminate this phenomenon, an AA filter is provided. At the same time, this feature is said to reduce the overall sharpness of the image; therefore, it may not be available in some cameras. These are mainly professional models: the absence of an AA filter gives the photographer additional features, but puts forward increased requirements for shooting skills.
The type of bayonet mount — mount for interchangeable lenses — provided in a SLR or MILC camera (see "Camera type"). Bayonets come in different sizes, and interchangeable lens specifications usually indicate which mount it is designed for. Most often, mounts of different types are not compatible with each other, but there are exceptions (sometimes directly, sometimes using adapters).
Also note that one brand can use different mounts for different classes of cameras — and vice versa, one mount can be used by several manufacturers. So, Canon releases cameras with mounts EF-M, EF-S, EF and Canon RF. Leica has Leica M, Leica SL, Leica TL. Nikon has in its arsenal Nikon 1, Nikon F, Nikon Z. Pentax — Pentax 645, Pentax K, Pentax Q. Samsung offers NX and NX-M mounts. Sony cameras have Sony A and Sony E, Fuji has Fujifilm G and Fujifilm X. And as an example of a mount used by different brands, one can cite...Micro 4/3, which is widespread in Olympus and Panasonic cameras.
Aperture of the lens installed in the camera or supplied with it in the kit (for models with detachable optics).
In a simplified way, this parameter can be described as the ability of the lens to transmit light — in other words, how much the light flux weakens when passing through the optics. It is believed that two main indicators affect the characteristics of light transmission: the diameter of the relative opening of the lens and its focal length. Aperture is the ratio of the first indicator to the second; in this case, the diameter of the active hole is taken as one and is generally omitted when recording, as a result, such a recording looks, for example, like this: f / 2.0. Accordingly, the larger the number after the fraction sign, the lower the aperture ratio, the less light the lens transmits.
Zoom lenses (zoom lenses), usually, have different aperture values for different focal lengths. For such optics, two values of this parameter are indicated in the characteristics, for the minimum and maximum focal lengths, for example, f / 2.8–4.5. There are also vario lenses that maintain a constant aperture over the entire range of focal lengths, but they are much more expensive than analogs with variable aperture.
The high light transmission of the lens is important if the camera is planned to be used for shooting in low light conditions or for shooting fast moving objects: high-aperture optics allow you to shoot at low sensor sensitivity (which...reduces the likelihood of noise) and at low shutter speeds (at which moving objects are less blurry) . This parameter also determines the depth of field of the imaged space: the higher the aperture, the smaller the depth of field. Therefore, for shooting with artistic background blur (“bokeh”), it is recommended to use fast lenses.
Focal length of the camera lens.
Focal length is such a distance between the camera matrix and the optical centre of the lens, focused at infinity, at which a clear and sharp image is obtained on the matrix. For models with interchangeable lenses ( mirrorless cameras and MILC, see “Camera type”), this parameter is indicated if the camera is supplied with a lens (“kit”); Let us recall that, if desired, optics with other characteristics can be installed on such a camera.
The longer the focal length, the smaller the viewing angle of the lens, the higher the degree of approximation and the larger the objects visible in the frame. Therefore, this parameter is one of the key for any lens and largely determines its application (specific examples are given below).
Most often in modern digital cameras, lenses with a variable focal length are used: such lenses are able to zoom in and out of the image (for more details, see "Optical Zoom"). For "DSLRs" and MILC, specialized optics with a constant focal length (fixed lenses) are produced. But in digital compacts, "fixes" are used extremely rarely, usually such a lens is a sign of a high-end model with specific characteristics.
Note that the actual focal length of the lens is usually given in the characteristics of the camera. And the viewing angles and the general purpose of the optics are determined not only by this parameter, but also by the size of the matrix wit...h which the optics are used. The dependence looks like this: at the same viewing angles, a lens for a larger matrix will have a longer focal length than a lens for a small sensor. Accordingly, only cameras with the same sensor size can be directly compared with each other in terms of lens focal length. However, to facilitate comparisons in the characteristics, the so-called EGF — focal length in 35 mm equivalent: this is the focal length that a lens for a full frame matrix having the same viewing angles would have. You can compare by EGF lenses for any matrix size. There are formulas that allow you to independently calculate the equivalent of 35 mm, they can be found in special sources.
If we talk about a specific specialization, then the EGF up to 18 mm corresponds to ultra-wide-angle fisheye lenses. Wide-angle is considered "fixed" optics with EGF up to 28 mm, as well as vario lenses with a minimum EGF up to 35 mm. Values up to 60mm correspond to "general purpose" optics, 50 – 135mm are considered optimal for shooting portraits, and higher focal lengths are found in telephoto lenses. More detailed information about the specifics of various focal lengths can be found in special sources.
The magnification factor provided by the camera by using the capabilities of the lens (namely, by changing its focal length). In models with interchangeable lenses (see “Camera type”), indicated for the complete lens, if available.
Note that in this case the magnification is indicated not relative to the image visible to the naked eye, but relative to the image produced by the lens at minimum magnification. For example, if the characteristics indicate an optical zoom of 3x, this means that at the maximum magnification, objects in the frame will be three times larger than at the minimum.
The degree of optical zoom is directly related to the range of focal lengths (see above). You can determine this degree by dividing the maximum focal length of the lens by the minimum, for example 360mm / 36mm=10x magnification.
To date, optical zoom provides the best "close" image quality and is considered to be superior to digital zoom (see below). This is due to the fact that with this format of work, the entire area of \u200b\u200bthe matrix is constantly involved, which allows you to fully use its capabilities. Therefore, even among low-cost models, devices without optical zoom are very rare.
The magnification factor provided by the camera only at the expense of software, without using the capabilities of optics. The general principle of such an increase is that the image, "visible" by a small section of the matrix, is stretched over the entire frame, due to which the apparent size of objects in the frame increases.
Digital zoom does not depend on the capabilities of the lens (in particular, it is available even with optics with a fixed focal length), does not complicate the design as much as optical (see above), and is cheaper. At the same time, the quality of such an increase is usually much lower, and therefore the pure digital principle is usually found only where it is not possible to install a lens with a variable focal length — mainly in separate ultra-compact cameras and low-cost compacts. In models where such a lens is installed (or can be installed), digital zoom, if available, plays an auxiliary role: it turns on when the optics reaches the limit of its capabilities.
Possibility of manual focus of camera optics. On the one hand, such focus is more difficult than automatic focus, as it requires unnecessary actions from the user, time consuming and increases the risk of spoiling the frame or missing the moment. On the other hand, this function allows the photographer to independently focus on the desired object, without relying on autofocus (which, for all the reliability of modern technology, may well not work as we would like).
Among digital compact cameras (see "Camera type"), manual focus is usually found in mid-range and high-end models that are intended for people who are familiar with the basics of photography. In devices with interchangeable lenses (reflex and "mirrorless", see ibid.), the type of focus essentially depends on the characteristics of the lens, and not on the camera itself. But since there are very few lenses without manual focus (more often there are “only manual” models, without autofocus), it is generally accepted that cameras with interchangeable lenses, by definition, support this function.
An image stabilization method provided by the camera. Note that systems of the optical type and with a matrix shift are sometimes combined under the term "true" stabilization — due to their effectiveness. See below for more on this.
By itself, stabilization (regardless of the principle of operation) allows you to compensate for the effect of "shake" with an unstable camera position — especially when shooting handheld. This is especially true when shooting with a significant increase or at slow shutter speeds. However, anyway, this function reduces the risk of spoiling the frame, so cameras with stabilization are extremely common. The principles of work can be as follows:
— Electronic. Stabilization, carried out due to a kind of "reserve" — a section along the edges of the matrix, which initially does not participate in the formation of the final image. However, if the camera electronics detect fluctuations, it compensates for them by selecting the necessary image fragments from the reserve. Electronic systems are extremely simple, compact, reliable and at the same time inexpensive. However, for their work it is necessary to allocate a fairly significant part of the matrix — and reducing the usable area of the sensor increases the noise level and degrades the image quality. And in some models, electronic stabilization is turned on only at lower resolutions and is not available at full frame s...ize. Therefore, in its pure form, this option is found mainly in relatively inexpensive cameras with non-replaceable lenses.
— Optical. Stabilization, carried out when light passes through the lens, is due to a system of movable lenses and gyroscopes. As a result, the image hits the matrix already stabilized, and the entire sensor area can be used for it. Therefore, optical systems, despite the complexity and rather high cost, are considered more preferable for high-quality filming than electronic ones. Separately, we note that in SLR and MILC cameras (see "Camera Type") the availability of this function depends on the lens installed; therefore, for such models, optical stabilization is not indicated in our catalog in principle (even if the complete lens is equipped with a stabilizer).
— With matrix shift. Stabilization, carried out by shifting the matrix "following" the shifted image. Like the optical one described above, it is considered a fairly advanced option, although in general it is somewhat less effective. On the other hand, matrix-shift systems also have serious advantages — first of all, the fact that such stabilization will work regardless of the characteristics of the lens. For cameras with fixed lenses, this means that the lens can do without an optical stabilizer and make the optics simpler, cheaper and more reliable. In SLR and MILC cameras, the matrix shift makes it possible to use even “non-stabilized” lenses with convenience, and when installing “stabilized” optics, both systems work together, and their efficiency is very high. In addition, sensor shift is somewhat simpler and cheaper than traditional optical stabilizers.
— Optical and electronic. Stabilization that combines both of the options described above: initially it operates according to the optical principle, and when the capabilities of the lens are not enough, an electronic system is connected. This improves the overall efficiency compared to purely optical or purely electronic stabilizers. On the other hand, the disadvantages of both options in such systems are also combined: the optics are relatively complex and expensive, and not all of the matrix is involved. Therefore, such a combination is rare, mainly in separate advanced digital compacts.
— With matrix shift and electronic. Another type of combined stabilization systems. Like “optical + electronic”, it improves the overall stabilization efficiency, but at the same time it combines the disadvantages of the two methods (they are also similar: the camera becomes more complex and expensive, plus a decrease in the useful area of \u200b\u200bthe matrix). Therefore, this option is used extremely rarely — in single models of digital ultrazooms and advanced compacts.
Min. focus distance
The minimum distance from the camera lens to the object being shot, at which the lens is able to focus in the normal shooting mode (not with macro shooting, see "Macro shooting, about it").
Macro shot, from
The minimum distance from the lens to the object being filmed, at which the camera optics is able to focus when the camera is in macro mode. Macro shooting is a special mode of operation designed to obtain large images of small objects; the distances to the objects being shot during macro shooting, usually, do not exceed 10 cm. The smaller the minimum distance for macro shooting, the larger and more detailed image the device allows you to get in this mode (ceteris paribus).
AF drive (screwdriver)
The presence in the camera of an autofocus drive of the "screwdriver" type. This feature is only found on models that use interchangeable lenses — SLR and mirrorless (see "Camera type"). Its essence lies in the fact that the motor responsible for the operation of autofocus is installed in the camera itself, and not in interchangeable lenses. Thus, lenses with "screwdrivers" turn out to be lighter, more compact and inexpensive than optics with a built-in motor (classic or ultrasonic). However, they can only fully work with cameras that support the “screwdriver” drive.
The number and/or types of subject programs provided in the design of the camera.
Scene Modes are preset settings for some of the most common scenes you shoot, such as Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Sunset, and more. In addition to these presets, this list may include special effects and creative tools (such as colour swap or fisheye), as well as exposure modes (see below). The presence of scene programs is especially useful for beginners and non-professional photographers, as it eliminates the need to fiddle with each setting separately — just select the most suitable programme, and all the necessary settings will be set automatically. The more scene programs provided by the design of the camera, the wider its capabilities for automatic adjustment.
Frames per series (JPEG)
The highest number of shots a camera can capture "in one go" in JPEG continuous shooting.
The technical features of modern digital cameras are such that during continuous shooting, photos have to be recorded in a special buffer, and only then, after the end of the series, they can be transferred to a memory card. This buffer has a limited capacity, so the number of frames in one series is also limited. At the same time, we note that this indicator is usually indicated for shooting at the highest possible resolution (see "Maximum image size"); at lower resolutions, the volume of each image is reduced, and the number of frames in the series may be more than stated in the specifications.
JPEG, the most popular digital photo format today, is smaller and requires less processing power than RAW (see "Recording in RAW Format"). Therefore, in a JPEG series, usually, more frames are available to the photographer. However, in some models that have two separate buffers (for RAW and JPEG), it may be the other way around.
Frames per series (RAW)
The highest number of shots the camera can capture “in one shot” when shooting in RAW format continuously (see “Recording in RAW Format”).
The technical features of modern digital cameras are such that during continuous shooting, photos have to be recorded in a special buffer, and only then, after the end of the series, they can be transferred to a memory card. This buffer has a limited size, so the number of frames in one series is also limited. At the same time, we note that this indicator is usually indicated for shooting at the highest possible resolution (see "Maximum image size"); at lower resolutions, the volume of each image is reduced, and the number of frames in the series may be more than stated in the specifications.
RAW images take up more space and require more processing power than "finished" JPEGs. Therefore, the number of frames in a series of this format is usually lower than that of JPEG. However, there are exceptions — usually these are cameras that have two separate buffers (for RAW and JPEG).
Frames per burst (JPEG RAW)
The highest number of frames the camera can capture “in one go” in continuous shooting mode, where the same frame is saved in both JPEG and RAW format at the same time (see “Recording in RAW Format”).
The technical features of modern digital cameras are such that during continuous shooting, photos have to be recorded in a special buffer, and only then, after the end of the series, they can be transferred to a memory card. This buffer has a limited capacity, so the number of frames in one series is also limited. At the same time, we note that this indicator is usually indicated for shooting at the highest possible resolution (see "Maximum image size"); at lower resolutions, the volume of each image is reduced, and the number of frames in the series may be more than stated in the specifications.
Shooting JPEG and RAW at the same time requires a lot of resources, and the materials themselves take up a lot of space. Therefore, the possibility of such shooting itself is available mainly in premium cameras, and the number of frames in a JPEG RAW series is usually less (at best, the same) than in any of these formats separately.
Camera support for HDR.
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. The main application of this technology is shooting scenes with significant differences in illumination, when there are both very bright and very dark areas in the frame. The features of modern digital photography are such that in the normal shooting mode, only a rather narrow range of brightness can be correctly processed; as a result, with a large difference in illumination, the image contains either too dark or overexposed fragments. HDR avoids this phenomenon: in this mode, the camera takes several shots with different exposure settings, and then glues them together in such a way as to reduce the brightness in bright places and increase in dark places. This allows you to shoot, for example, landscapes against the backdrop of a bright sunset sky, the interiors of dimly lit buildings with bright windows, etc. In addition, HDR can also be used as an artistic technique — to give the picture an unusual colour scheme.
Note that this effect can also be achieved using post-processing in a graphics editor; however, using the camera is much more convenient.
2 control dials
The presence of two control dials in the design of the camera.
This design feature makes it easier to control the camera and change settings on the fly: additional operating parameters are transferred to the second disk, and turning it to the desired position is easier and faster than “digging” in the on-screen menu items. This feature is found mainly in semi-professional and professional cameras, which involve frequent use of manual shooting mode.
Measuring white balance
The presence in the camera of the function of measuring the white balance and adjusting the shooting parameters accordingly.
White balance describes how the same colour is perceived by the camera's sensor depending on the lighting conditions: for example, under a fluorescent lamp, colours will have colder shades than under sunlight, etc. The human eye is able to adapt to changes in lighting automatically, but digital sensors do not have this ability. Therefore, cameras have to use white balance metering — otherwise, with different lighting characteristics, the same object will be displayed in pictures in different shades of colour. White balance correction can be carried out automatically, according to presets, and in advanced cameras — completely manually.
The ability to manually (or automatically, according to predetermined parameters) change the exposure parameters during shooting, that is, the amount of light falling on the matrix. It is used when the automatically selected exposure parameters do not give a satisfactory result — for example, in difficult conditions, when the illumination of the main subject and the background is very different. The camera's exposure compensation capabilities are recorded in the format "± x EV, in y EV increments", such as "± 3 EV, in 1/2 EV increments". The first digit indicates the maximum amount by which the exposure can be changed from the original value by the compensation process; the second is the step (step) with which the change occurs. EV is a specific unit of measure for exposure; a 1 EV change in exposure means a 2x change in the amount of light hitting the sensor. An increase in EV indicates an increase in the amount of light due to opening the aperture or an increase in shutter speed, a decrease indicates the opposite. All modern cameras with exposure compensation function are capable of producing it “in both directions”.
Bracketing is called shooting a series of frames, in which in each next frame the shooting parameters (exposure, white balance, focus, etc.) change by a certain amount. This allows, for example, to choose the most successful shot from several options, or to determine the effect of changing the settings in one direction or another. Auto bracketing allows you to take such shots automatically. At the same time, it should be taken into account that the set of parameters changed in the process may differ in different camera models. For example, some devices are able to change only the exposure, others — the exposure and/or white balance, etc.
Exposure modes supported by digital camera. Exposure is the amount of light that hits the camera's sensor when shooting a single frame. It is determined by two main parameters — shutter speed and aperture: increasing the shutter speed or opening the aperture leads to an increase in exposure, and vice versa. There are four main control modes for these parameters:
— Automatic. Both shutter speed and aperture are chosen by the camera itself, based on an automatic assessment of the specifics of the scene being shot. This mode is very convenient, because it saves the user from fiddling with the settings and allows even people who do not have photography experience to work with the camera. At the same time, automatic exposure does not allow the use of many artistic techniques and can fail under non-standard shooting conditions; and even in relatively simple situations, the settings chosen by the system are not always optimal.
— Shutter priority. A mode that provides manual exposure setting. The aperture is automatically adjusted by the camera. This scheme of work is useful in situations where you need to clearly define the shutter opening time: for example, when shooting dynamic scenes, the shutter speed should be minimal, and when shooting art with motion blur, on the contrary, long.
— Aperture priority. A mode that provides manual aperture setting; shutter speed is automatically determined by the camera. The depth of field depends on the aperture...value: shooting with artistic background blur (“bokeh”) is carried out with the petals as wide as possible, but reducing the aperture opening reduces the degree of blur and increases the depth of field. Accordingly, this mode is convenient in cases where the correct depth of field plays a key role.
— Manual mode. The ability to independently set any shutter speed and aperture value. On the one hand, this requires serious knowledge and skills from the photographer, because there is a high risk of spoiling the frame without calculating the exposure parameters. On the other hand, manual adjustment gives complete freedom and provides features that are not available in other modes (in particular, it allows you to intentionally “underexposure” and “overexpose” the image).
Exposure metering refers to determining the amount of light a camera needs to produce a good image. It is on the basis of this procedure that the camera automatically calculates the required shutter speed and aperture values. Exposure measurement in modern cameras can be carried out using different systems:
— Dot. With this measurement, the device determines the illumination of one small point in the frame, and on its basis measures the exposure. Most often, the metering is done in the centre of the frame, although sometimes you can set a different location. Spot metering is useful if the frame covers objects that are very different in brightness: by selecting the metering point directly on the desired object, you can get a high-quality image of it, regardless of the presence of nearby, for example, bright light sources.
— Centre-weighted. This system uses information about the overall illumination of the entire image to calculate exposure, but the central part of it (where the main subject is often located) is given increased attention.
— Matrix (estimated). The most advanced exposure metering system: illumination is measured at several fixed points of the frame at once (and the higher the level of the camera, the more such points), after which, based on the data obtained, the device “draws a conclusion” about the intended plot of the frame and selects the optimal exposure for it — for example , if there is a slightly darker object in the centre...of the frame against a general light background, the camera will be set up for portrait shooting.
VGA shooting (480p)
The maximum resolution and frame rate of video captured by the camera in VGA (480p).
Formally, the 480p standard covers several resolutions with a vertical size of 480 pixels, but there are practically no other options in cameras other than 640x480 pixels. This is a very low resolution for modern technology, it is provided mainly for the case when you need to save memory space or battery power. Regarding the frame rate, it is worth noting first of all that a normal (not slow-motion) video is shot at a speed of up to 60 fps, and in this case, the higher the frame rate, the smoother the video will be, the less jerks will be noticeable when moving in the frame. If the frame rate is 100 fps or higher, this means that this camera has a slow motion video shooting mode.
Filming HD (720)
The maximum resolution and frame rate of video captured by the camera in HD (720p).
The most popular resolution for such a video is 1280x720, and it is this that is used in almost all modern cameras. Such an image is already high-resolution; however, given the emergence and development of more advanced standards (Full HD, Ultra HD, etc.), nowadays, HD 720p is considered a good, but far from outstanding indicator. Regarding the frame rate, it is worth noting first of all that a normal (not slow-motion) video is shot at a speed of up to 60 fps, and in this case, the higher the frame rate, the smoother the video will be, the less jerks will be noticeable when moving in the frame. If the frame rate is 100 fps or higher, this usually means that this camera has a slow-motion video shooting mode.
Filming Full HD (1080)
The maximum resolution and frame rate of video captured by the camera in Full HD (1080p).
The traditional Full HD video resolution in this case is 1920x1080; other options are more specific and practically do not occur in modern cameras. Regarding the frame rate, it is worth noting first of all that a normal (not slow-motion) video is shot at a speed of up to 60 fps, and in this case, the higher the frame rate, the smoother the video will be, the less jerks will be noticeable when moving in the frame. If the frame rate is 100 fps or higher, this usually means that the camera has a slow-motion video mode.
Ultra HD (4K) shooting
The maximum resolution and frame rate of video captured by the camera in the Ultra HD (4K) standard.
UHD 4K refers to resolutions with a frame size of approximately 4,000 horizontal pixels. Specifically, in cameras for video shooting, resolutions of 3840x2160 and 4096x2160 are most often used. Regarding the frame rate, it is worth noting first of all that a normal (not slow-motion) video is shot at a speed of up to 60 fps, and in this case, the higher the frame rate, the smoother the video will be, the less jerks will be noticeable when moving in the frame. If the frame rate is 100 fps or higher, this usually means that the camera has a slow-motion video mode.
Shooting above 4K
The maximum resolution and frame rate of video taken by the camera in a standard higher than 4K.
As of the end of 2020, the situation with shooting such video with cameras is as follows. Most often we are talking about working in 6K format, at a resolution of 5952x3988 or 7680x4320, and the frame rate does not exceed 30 fps, and in many models even 24 fps. Such a shooting speed by modern standards is very low, but it is technically difficult to achieve a higher frame rate — in this case, this would require a very powerful and unreasonably expensive hardware hardware. And even at this speed, cameras with 6K support are very expensive, so there are not many of them on the market. On the other hand, these resolutions provide an extremely high level of detail.
Featured Video Programs
The number and/or types of scene programs for shooting videos provided in the design of the camera.
Scene programs are a set of presets designed for different shooting situations — for example, in sunlight, on a cloudy day, in a darkened room, etc. Also, this list may include other specific modes — for example, creative tools. Anyway, the presence of scene programs facilitates the choice of video shooting parameters, which is very useful for novice users.
File recording formats
File formats in which the camera can record video. Given that the footage is designed to be viewed on an external screen, you should make sure that the playback device (DVD player, media centre, etc.) is able to work with the appropriate formats. At the same time, many camera models themselves can play the role of a player by connecting to a TV via an audio / video output or HDMI (see the corresponding paragraphs of the glossary). And if the video materials are to be viewed on a computer, you should not pay special attention to this parameter at all: problems with format incompatibility in such cases rarely occur, but are usually solved by installing the appropriate codec.
The ability to illuminate the scene being shot when the camera is in video recording mode. This feature can be indispensable when shooting in low light conditions: it eliminates the need for additional light sources, besides, its own illumination is always directed to the same place as the lens.
The built-in flash is usually used for illumination (see below), but the presence of a flash does not mean that it can be used in this mode. Therefore, if the backlight function is important to you, you should choose from models where it is directly stated.
Manual focus video
The ability to manually focus the camera during video shooting.
This feature is typically found on cameras that support manual focus in photo mode (see "Manual Focus"); however, not all such models are capable of focus manually when shooting video, so this feature is highlighted separately. As in the case of photography, manual focus allows the user to independently choose the object to be focused on, without relying on automation (which quite often does not work the way we would like). This can be useful not only to ensure the overall quality of the material, but also to use original creative techniques.
Maximum video length
Restrictions on the length of the recorded video provided in the design of the camera. In some models, the recording time is limited in time (for example, 30 minutes) — thus, to record a longer video, it will have to be split into separate clips. In others, the duration depends only on the amount of free memory — you can record as long as there is enough space. There is also a combination of these options; in such models, video recording stops as soon as either of the two limits is reached.
— USB-C. A universal USB interface using a Type C connector. The USB ports themselves (of all types) are mainly used to connect the camera to a computer to copy footage, to control settings, update firmware, etc. Specifically, The Type C connector is comparable in size to earlier miniUSB and microUSB, but has a reversible design that allows you to insert the plug in either direction. In addition, USB-C often works according to the USB 3.1 standard, which allows you to achieve connection speeds of up to 10 Gbps — a useful feature when copying a large amount of content.
— HDMI. A comprehensive digital interface that allows one cable to transmit video (including high resolution) and sound (up to multi-channel). The presence of such a port makes it possible to use the camera as a player: it can be directly connected to a TV, monitor, projector, etc. and view the footage on the big screen. At the same time, broadcasting capabilities can include not only video playback, but also a demonstration of the captured photos in a slide show mode. HDMI inputs are present in most modern video equipment, and connection is usually not a problem.
Nowadays, there are several versions of the HDMI interface on the market:
— Video output. Analogue output for transmitting video signal to an external device. Allows you to connect the camera to a TV, media centre or other similar device (via a composite video input) and use it in player mode — similar to HDMI described above, except that the video output capabilities are more modest. So, it does not support HD resolutions and cannot be used for audio transmission. However, the first drawback is partly offset by the prevalence of this interface — it is found both in modern and outright outdated video equipment; and to eliminate the second, the video output is often combined with the audio output (see below) — to the extent that both interfaces can be combined in one connector, for example, a 3.5 mm mini-jack.
— Audio output. Analogue output for broadcasting recorded audio from the camera to a TV, video or audio equipment. It is most often used in parallel with the video output (see above), in many respects it is similar to it — in particular, it is usually connected to the composite audio input of an external device and can be useful for both the latest and rather old video equipment.
— Microphone audio input. Dedicated input for connecting an external microphone to the camera. External microphones are far superior to built-in ones in terms of sound quality. Firstly, they are not as sensitive to the "own" sounds of the camera — from buttons, control wheels, focus motors, etc. (and if the microphone uses a long wire and is not attached to the body, these sounds will not be heard at all). Secondly, external microphones themselves have more advanced characteristics. On the other hand, their use is justified mainly for professional video recording; therefore, the presence of a microphone input, usually, corresponds to advanced video shooting capabilities
Autofocus operating modes provided in the camera design.
— One picture. The main mode of autofocus operation is found in all modern cameras and is used most often. Designed for shooting motionless objects.
— Follower. This mode is used for shooting moving objects, the distance to which is constantly changing: the camera constantly monitors the position of the object, constantly adjusting the optics so that it is in focus. Usually found in middle and upper class cells.
— AI focus. A peculiar combination of the previous two modes is used when a stationary object can start moving at any moment. If the scene is static, autofocus works in the single frame mode, but if the object on which focus is made starts to move, the device switches to tracking autofocus mode. AI mode allows you to almost instantly set the optimal autofocus settings, which is especially useful for sequential shooting. Initially, it was found in expensive models, however, thanks to the development of technology, today it can even be used in inexpensive compacts (see “Camera type”).
— By the face. Autofocus mode that uses a face recognition system and focuses on them. This feature is especially useful for taking pictures of people at a great distance from the camera, when the face is much smaller than the frame size, such as in group shots.
— With a smile. A further development of the face autofocus mode described above, when, in accordance with the name, the sys...tem reacts not just to a face, but to a smile. This mode can be combined with the function of automatic shooting at the moment of a smile.
— Animal in the frame. A mode designed primarily for shooting animals, which can be difficult (and often impossible) to make them sit still in the frame. It is usually a variation of the tracking autofocus described above, but specific features of operation may vary depending on the camera model.
This list is not exhaustive, and other specific autofocus modes may be provided in the design of modern cameras.
The autofocus system provided in the camera, more precisely, the general principle of operation of such a system.
Autofocus — the function of automatic focus — is possessed by almost all modern digital cameras. This also applies to models with interchangeable lenses — they were originally designed for lenses with autofocus, it is enough to install a compatible "glass". And autofocus systems fall into two main categories:
— TTL is an abbreviation for "through the lens", i.e. "through the lens". A variant also known as "passive autofocus". When such a system is operating, all the data necessary for focus is obtained by the camera directly through the lens. Further, the image is analyzed in a special way, and on the basis of this, commands are sent to the camera optics to adjust the sharpness. TTL autofocus is used in the vast majority of modern cameras.
— Active systems. Locator-based systems: the distance to the subject is measured using ultrasound or infrared radiation, and based on these data, optics settings are set. A rather specific option that has not gained distribution: active systems do not have noticeable advantages over TTL, while they are not able to shoot through glass — the lens will focus on the glass itself, and not on objects behind it.
The number of focus points (autofocus) provided in the design of the camera.
The focus point is the point (more precisely, a small area) in the frame from which the autofocus system reads data for focus. The simplest systems work with a single point, but their capabilities are very limited, and this option is practically not found today. Modern digital cameras have at least three focus sensors, and in the most advanced models this figure can reach several dozen.
The more autofocus sensors there are in the camera, the more advanced its autofocus capabilities will be, the more specific techniques it allows you to use. In this case, the choice of specific points used can be carried out both automatically, simultaneously with the choice of the subject programme, and manually (however, the second option is more typical for professional cameras). In addition, the abundance of focus points has a positive effect on the quality of the tracking autofocus (see "Autofocus Modes").
In general, more focus sensors are generally considered a sign of a more advanced camera; however, differences in quality become really noticeable only if the difference in the number of points is significant — for example, if we compare models with 9 and 39 points. A lot also depends on the location of the points in the frame — it is believed that sensors distributed over a large area work better than densely located in the centre of the frame, even if their number is the same.
The presence of the touch focus function in the design of the camera.
Such focus is necessarily combined with a touch screen (see below). It gives the photographer the opportunity to independently choose a point for focus in the frame being shot: for this, it is enough to touch this point on the image displayed on the screen. Touch focus is extremely simple and intuitive, and therefore very convenient, especially for beginners and non-professional users.
Front / back adjustment
The presence in the design of the camera of the function of adjusting the front / back focus.
"Front / back focus" (or simply "back focus") is the phenomenon when the autofocus system malfunctions and "misses" the desired object — despite the fact that this object was clearly visible in the viewfinder or on the screen. This phenomenon occurs due to a mismatch between the sighting system and the survey system; it can ruin a picture, especially when working with a shallow depth of field. Front / back focus is primarily affected by cameras with interchangeable lenses (see "Camera type"), because lenses (even "native", not to mention third-party products) can initially be poorly configured. Adjusting the front / back allows you to correct the parameters of such optics using the camera itself and do without replacing the lens.
The presence of the function of strengthening the contours in the design of the camera.
This feature applies to manual focus and is only available with electronic or optoelectronic viewfinders, and in Live View mode (see below). It consists in highlighting the contours of those objects that are currently in focus with colour. Thanks to this, the photographer can easily determine the location and boundaries of the area in focus, which greatly simplifies manual focus.
The type of viewfinder provided in the design of the camera.
A viewfinder is an eyepiece in which the photographer is able to see the image being shot, and in some cases additional information (the location of autofocus sensors, individual shooting parameters, etc.). Regardless of the type, viewfinders are useful in that they allow you to clearly see the image you are shooting, even in bright ambient light (which can cause displays to “blind”). Their disadvantages are the need to bring the camera close to the face, as well as the inconvenience when working with glasses (although the latter is partly offset by diopter correction in the viewfinder itself). The types of viewfinders can be as follows:
— Electronic. Such a viewfinder is a system of lenses with a small screen behind them. It is widely used in advanced cameras with non-replaceable lenses (see "Camera Type"), can be used in MILC cameras, and relatively recently full-fledged " SLRs " have appeared (in particular, made according to the so-called "translucent mirror technology") equipped with electronic viewfinders. The advantage of such a viewfinder is that, in addition to the image itself, it can display a large amount of service information (for example, about shooting parameters); the main disadvantage is the need to supply power from the battery (although the power consumption of such a system is still much lower than that of an ext...ernal display).
— Optical. In this case, an optical viewfinder means an independent system with its own eyepiece and lens, built into the camera body and directed parallel to the optical axis of the lens (mirror and prism systems are separated into separate categories). Such a system can be located both directly above the lens and in the corner of the body. The advantages of optical viewfinders are simplicity, low cost and compactness, due to the absence of a complex system of mirrors or prisms in the design. Such a viewfinder can be used in any non-reflex cameras (classic digital or MILC). The main disadvantage of this option is the mismatch between the position of its lens and the main lens of the camera (the so-called parallax effect); in most cases, this does not create inconvenience, but when shooting at close distances, you have to take an amendment (although there are camera models with viewfinders that automatically correct).
— Optical and electronic. A specific type of viewfinder that combines elements of both systems described above. Usually, such structures are based on an optical viewfinder, which provides for the possibility of projecting various service information onto a visible image. And in some models, the system can also be switched to a fully electronic mode, blocking the access of light through the optics and observing only the picture on the screen through the viewfinder.
— Optical (mirror). As the name implies, the design of such a viewfinder is based on a system of mirrors. Through this system, the real image perceived by the camera lens is fed into the viewfinder eyepiece (in other words, the photographer is actually looking directly through the lens). SLR viewfinders are used exclusively in cameras of the corresponding type (see above). Their advantages are the absence of the parallax effect and the ability to immediately evaluate a number of shooting parameters, such as depth of field, the effect of installed light filters, etc. The main disadvantage of reflex viewfinders is the need to raise the mirror at the time of shooting. This complicates and increases the cost of the design, makes it less reliable, and the operation of the mirror lifting mechanism can cause vibrations and the “stirring” effect.
— Optical (pentaprism). In fact, it is a kind of mirror viewfinder (see above), in which the role of a part of the mirrors is assigned to a pentaprism — a glass structure of a special shape. The action of the pentaprism is based on the effect of the so-called total internal reflection; it is believed that in this way it is possible to achieve a brighter and clearer image than when using classic mirrors. Other advantages and disadvantages are identical to conventional reflex viewfinders (see above). The pentaprism is widely used in mirror devices.
— Is absent. The complete absence of a viewfinder in the design of the camera; For sighting in such models, a display is used. This feature is typical mainly for digital compacts (see "Type of camera"). Firstly, the dimensions of the body of such models often do not allow for a viewfinder to be included in the design; secondly, the specifics of the use of such cameras is usually such that the display is quite enough for them, and sometimes it is even more preferable — for example, when shooting from a non-standard position (above your head, with your arm outstretched in front of you, etc.).
This setting can be simplistically described as the amount of magnification provided by the viewfinder relative to how the image appears to the naked eye. The features of modern viewfinders are such that most of them have crop values less than 1 — that is, it somewhat reduces the visible “picture”.
In general, the larger this parameter, the larger the objects look in the viewfinder and the easier it is to focus through it.
The ratio, expressed as a percentage, between the part of the image that the photographer sees in the viewfinder (see above) and the image actually captured by the camera when shooting. Most often it is indicated as a percentage of the width and height of the frame, and not of the area.
Modern digital cameras quite often have viewfinders with a frame coverage of less than 100% — thus, not only the visible scene, but also some space beyond its edges enters the frame. This creates some inconvenience — in particular, it may be necessary to crop the picture to ensure a pre-conceived composition. Therefore, a viewfinder with 100 percent coverage is still considered perfect. Some time ago, such systems were found mainly in premium cameras, but now, thanks to cheaper prices and advances in technology, they can be installed even in relatively inexpensive amateur compacts (see “Camera type”).
The range of shutter speeds that the camera is capable of shooting.
Exposure is the time between opening and closing the shutter (see below), in other words, the period of time captured in the photo. For different purposes, methods and conditions of shooting, different shutter speeds will be optimal. Small values (in modern cameras they can reach thousandths of a second) are important when shooting fast-moving objects and for shooting at long distances — in the first case, they minimize the effect of image blur from the movement of the object, in the second — the effect of camera shake in hands. However, for shooting at low shutter speeds, a good matrix light sensitivity or high-aperture optics are required (see above). Long shutter speeds (measured in seconds) are used for shooting in low light conditions — such as city streets at night or the starry sky — and also allow you to create the effect of movement in the frame. Accordingly, the greater the shutter speed range, the wider the camera's ability to choose the option that is optimal for certain conditions.
Continuous shooting speed provided by the camera at the maximum frame resolution. At lower resolutions, the speed may be higher, but this value is considered the key characteristic.
In continuous shooting, the photographer presses the button, and the camera takes several shots in a row, usually at intervals of a fraction of a second. Such shooting is convenient, for example, for capturing fast-moving objects: it allows you to choose the most successful from a series of frames, or to show the dynamics of movement using the entire series. And the higher the speed, the more effective the shooting, the more frames the camera can capture in a period of time. On the other hand, speed requires appropriate hardware and can significantly affect the cost.
The shutter is a system that regulates the duration of exposure, that is, the effect of light on the matrix (for more details on exposure, see above). Here are the main types of such systems:
— Electronic. A type of shutter that is only suitable for digital cameras. Such systems do not have moving mechanical parts; exposure in them is carried out electronically. At the moment the shutter is pressed, when the shutter is “opened”, the matrix is completely reset; and after a certain time (corresponding to the exposure time), when the shutter is “closing”, the accumulated charge is read from it. This allows you to carry out full-fledged photography and work with different shutter speeds without using complex structures. Another advantage over the mechanical shutters described below is that such systems are perfect for Live View (see above): the matrix can constantly broadcast the image on the screen, only sometimes “interrupting” directly into shooting. On the other hand, such a constant work increases the likelihood of heating and the appearance of additional noise in the picture. To compensate for this shortcoming, various solutions are used, and in most cases it is almost invisible; however, for professional photography, electronic shutters are still considered less suitable than mechanical shutters.
— Mechanical. There are many types of mechanical shutters, however, in modern digital camer...as, systems in the form of a pair of shutters are predominantly found. When the shutter opens, one of the curtains moves, and then the second “catches up” with it, closing the matrix. The main advantage of mechanical shutters is that when using them, the matrix always remains closed and opens only at the moment of shooting for a time corresponding to the set shutter speed (similar to how it happens in film cameras). Due to this, it is possible to avoid heating the sensor and the associated increase in image noise. On the other hand, additional mechanisms noticeably affect the weight, dimensions, cost and power consumption of the camera; when shooting fast moving objects, distortions may occur, and at low temperatures — failures and even failures. In addition, cameras with mechanical shutters are mainly designed to work through an optical viewfinder. For an electronic viewfinder or Live View mode (see above), you either need to install an auxiliary matrix (which further complicates and increases the cost of the design), or completely open the shutters and actually shoot in electronic shutter mode, which makes the very idea of \u200b\u200b"mechanics" meaningless. As a result, this type of shutter is currently used mainly in SLR cameras (see "Camera type") of the middle and top levels; it is also found in other varieties, but much less frequently.
— Electronic/mechanical. Systems that combine both options described above; more precisely, even — mechanical shutters, supplemented by the ability to work in electronic mode. One of the key disadvantages of purely mechanical systems is their poor suitability for ultra-short shutter speeds — it is not easy to provide the necessary shutter speed, and besides, the mechanism is subjected to significant loads in this mode. To eliminate this shortcoming, electronic-mechanical systems were created. They work as follows: at short shutter speeds, a purely mechanical method of operation is used up to a certain limit, and when the possibilities of mechanics are not enough, a combined mode is used. In this mode, the shutter curtains open for a relatively long time (longer than the required shutter speed), while the matrix works electronically (see above for more details), providing the required shutter speed. Theoretically, the combined method allows you to effectively shoot at ultra-low shutter speeds, but in fact the quality of the images is relatively low, and the “hybrid” shutter is often more of a marketing ploy than a really useful tool.
A function that is actually a timer shooting: the photographer starts the countdown, and at the end of the countdown, the camera itself takes a picture. In this way, you can, for example, set up a camera for a group shot: by turning on the self-timer, the user can have time to be in the frame himself before the shutter is released.
Size of the camera's native display in diagonal inches. The larger the screen, the more convenient it is, usually, to use. In particular, a larger and more detailed image can be displayed on a large screen; in addition, size is of great importance for the ease of operation of the touch display (see touch screen). On the other hand, the dimensions of the display have a corresponding effect on the dimensions of the device. Therefore, screens of more than 3 "in modern cameras are quite rare.
The size of the camera's native display in pixels. The higher the resolution of the display, the more smooth and detailed the image it reproduces, the less noticeable the graininess and individual pixels, and the more the display as a whole is pleasing to the eye. On the other hand, the high-resolution display affects the cost of the camera itself (albeit quite slightly).
Unlike the rest of modern electronics, it is customary for cameras to indicate this parameter not as the horizontal and vertical size, but as the total number of pixels on the screen. To date, screens of 230K pixels correspond to the entry level, 460K pixels to the average, more than 900K pixels to the advanced.
A touch-sensitive screen that allows the photographer to control camera functions. It is believed that such management is the most obvious; in addition, with its help, you can implement some additional features that are not available for other types of control — for example, touch focus (see above). And for models with Android OS (see below), the touch screen is a mandatory piece of equipment. On the other hand, such screens are more expensive than conventional ones, which can accordingly affect the price of the camera.
The camera has a swivel screen. The specific implementation of this function in different models may be different: the screen can rotate around its axis, lean to the side (like on a video camera), move down while tilting, etc. However, anyway, this feature can significantly facilitate shooting from difficult positions , when you have to hold the camera much above or below eye level — by turning the display as needed, you can easily control the shooting process.
The presence of the camera display on the front panel. Such a display usually performs the same function as the main one — it displays the image currently falling into the lens. The most popular application of this function is shooting self-portraits (selfies): the photographer can see himself at the moment of shooting. However, there are other ways to use the front screen. For example, some manufacturers equip their cameras with special programs for shooting children: before the shutter is released, a funny picture is displayed on the front display, and the photographer gets the opportunity to capture a smiling child.
The presence of an additional screen in the design of a digital camera.
Such a screen, usually, is located on the upper end of the case next to the controls (wheels, switches, etc.) and is intended to display various service information — primarily the current shooting parameters. This feature is especially useful for SLR cameras (see “Camera type”) that have viewfinders that do not provide additional information in the field of view: it allows the photographer to get the necessary information without using the main display and without looking away from the controls on the top of the camera. This not only speeds up work, but also saves energy — additional screens usually have the simplest black-and-white matrices and consume much less energy than the main ones.
A device that tracks the position of the camera in space and is able to make appropriate adjustments to the shooting settings. So, for example, when you turn the camera to the side to shoot in portrait orientation, the accelerometer captures this rotation, and all the captured photos are immediately saved in this orientation (whereas usually saving occurs in landscape format, the photos are rotated by 90 ° and must be rotated to the desired position using imaging programs).
The volume of the camera's own built-in memory, independent of removable media. In most modern cameras, it is about several tens of megabytes, which in the standard JPEG format (see File format) allows you to shoot the number of frames, also measured in tens (the specific number in each case is different and depends primarily on the shooting resolution); although there are exceptions. In fact, today the camera's own memory is rarely used — photos are saved to memory cards, the volumes of which are already calculated in gigabytes.
2 card slots
The presence of two slots for memory cards in the design of the camera. At the same time, slots can differ according to the type of cards used: for example, the main slot for a fast and reliable XQD card can be supplemented by a slot for a slower, but inexpensive SD card.
Anyway, in digital cameras there are three main formats for working with two cards:
— Backup: information from the main card is duplicated on the second one. Thus, if one of the media fails, the data will not be lost.
— Recording on overflow: recording on the additional card starts when the main one runs out of space. This mode allows you to increase the total amount of available memory.
— RAW/JPEG separation: when shooting in two formats, RAW sources are saved on the main card (usually faster), and finished JPEGs are saved on the secondary one.
The specific functionality in different camera models may be different, but it is not uncommon to find support for all the described methods of operation at once. On the other hand, an additional slot affects the dimensions and price of the device, despite the fact that it is not critical for amateur filming. Therefore, this feature is found mainly in professional-level devices.
Types of memory cards
The type of memory cards supported by the camera. To date, there are many types of memory cards, differing both in size and in the technology used; not all of them are mutually compatible. Many formats are a common standard and are used by many manufacturers, but there are also proprietary developments of individual manufacturers that are used only in their cameras.
Here are some of the most popular memory card formats found in digital cameras:
— SD and further modifications — SDHC, SDXC. An extremely popular format, used not only in most cameras, but also in various other types of equipment — laptops, media centers, etc. Earlier versions of SD cards are compatible with later card readers, but not vice versa.
— microSD (microSDHC microSDXC). A smaller version of the SD cards described above, used mainly in the smallest cameras.
— Memory Stick Pro (and its various modifications). The Sony proprietary standard is found mainly in the cameras of this company. Such cards are quite fast and roomy, but expensive.
— CompactFlash. Quite old, but still used in photographic technology, the standard of memory cards. These cards are quite large, but provide high speed and have a capacity of up to 128 GB. They are found mainly in "reflex cameras" (see "Type of camera").
— XQD. The standard, which is a kind of ideological successor to CompactFlash: it provides a large size of cards, which, however, is compensated by high capacity a...nd speed. It is found mainly in SLR cameras of the highest price category.
— GPS module. The camera has a built-in GPS satellite navigation module. In digital cameras, the GPS module is used primarily for setting the so-called geo-tagging to photos: information about specific geographical coordinates of the shooting location is recorded in the service information about each image. However, the matter is not limited to this, and models with this function can have many additional features — from classic navigation to special programs like a database of points of interest with hints based on the current location.
— Wi-Fi. A wireless standard originally developed for computer networking, but more recently allowing direct connection between devices. There are different ways to use Wi-Fi in cameras. Thus, the most popular option is to connect to a smartphone, tablet or other similar device for remote control (see below) and/or transfer footage to an external device. Some cameras have built-in software that allows you to directly connect to the Internet through wireless access points and upload photos and videos to popular network services. And in models running Android (see above), specific features depend only on the installed software and may include full access to social networks through client programs (see below) and even web surfing through a browser.
— Bluetooth. A wireless interface used to communicate with various electronic devices. In cameras, Bluetooth is mos...t often used to connect to a computer or laptop and transfer footage; in addition, it allows you to use the direct print function on printers equipped with Bluetooth. The range of the Bluetooth connection is up to 10 m, while the devices do not have to be in direct line of sight of each other.
— NFC. NFC (Near-Field Communication) is a wireless communication technology designed to connect various portable devices to each other at a distance of up to several centimeters. It plays an auxiliary role in cameras, designed to facilitate connection with other devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) using a more “long-range” standard (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth). Instead of digging through the settings — looking for devices, connecting them manually — just bring the NFC camera to a gadget equipped with the same chip and confirm the connection request.
— Social media client. The presence in the camera of a client programme for accessing one or more social networks (for example, Facebook or VKontakte). The main purpose of such programs is to directly upload the captured photos to the social network and manage them. However, the functionality of the client, usually, is not limited to this — it can even include quite advanced features. This function is typical mainly for cameras running Android OS (see above).
— Smartphone control. The ability to remotely control the camera using a smartphone, tablet or other similar gadget. The camera is usually connected to the control device via Wi-Fi (see above), while a special application is used for control, and the gadget screen plays the role of a viewfinder. The specific capabilities of such control can be different — shutter release on command, exposure settings and other shooting settings, touch focus, etc. Often, it is also possible to "merge" the footage to the control device and, through it, to the Internet. Note that for cameras used with mobile phones (see "Camera type"), this function is not indicated: such a camera is usually mounted directly on the device, and there is no talk of remote control.
The presence of a built-in flash in the design of the camera. The meaning of this function is generally obvious: in situations where a flash is needed (for example, in low light or backlit conditions), it allows you to do without external accessories. On the other hand, the power of built-in flashes is usually very low, and many of the features implemented in external equipment are not available for built-in flashes (for example, the lamp cannot be turned up to provide diffused light). Therefore, in more or less advanced cameras, this function, usually, is combined with the ability to install an external flash (see below), and in professional models, a built-in lamp is often absent altogether.
The guide number of the unit's built-in flash. This characteristic describes the power of the light pulse provided by the flash. The guide number is the maximum distance (in metres) at which, at ISO 100 and f/1 lens speed (aperture 1), the flash can illuminate an "average" subject sufficiently for a normal exposure; in other words, at what distance from the flash it will be possible to normally shoot the scene at the specified ISO and aperture.
There are formulas by which, knowing the guide number, one can derive the practical shooting distance for each specific value of sensitivity and aperture; they can be found in special sources.
The minimum/maximum distance from the subject to the lens at which the flash can be used effectively (usually limited to a few metres). Since lenses with a variable focal length have different aperture ratios depending on the set focal length (see Aperture), for cameras with such optics, two ranges of flash application are indicated — for the minimum and maximum focal lengths, for example "0.3 — 3.5 (W), 0.45 — 2(T)." The letters W and T in such markings indicate the minimum and maximum focal lengths, respectively.
Connecting an external flash
Ability to connect to the camera external flash. External flashes are usually more powerful and have more advanced features than built-in flashes, so both cameras without a built-in flash and those equipped with one (see Built-in flash) can have an external flash connection function. A standard hot shoe connector is usually used for connection. Most often , an external flash connection is provided in SLR and MILC cameras (see Camera type); in ordinary digital cameras, this function is quite rare, mainly in the most advanced models (“pseudo-reflex cameras”).
X-sync with flash
The fastest X-sync speed supported by a digital camera.
This characteristic is relevant only for models equipped with mechanical shutters (see “Shutter type”) and allowing connection of an external flash (see above). Recall that the operation of such shutters is based on the use of two curtains — one opens the matrix, the second, following the first, closes it. At the same time, at low shutter speeds, the shutter speed may not be enough to open the matrix completely — as a result, the exposure is carried out due to the gap between the shutters, which “runs” through the matrix. When shooting with constant lights, this is usually not a problem; however, the duration of the flash pulse is very short, during this time the said gap between the curtains does not have time to pass over the entire area of the matrix, and the picture is only partially illuminated. This means that you can shoot with flash only at shutter speeds at which the shutter opens fully.
The slowest X-sync shutter speed is, in fact, the slowest shutter speed at which the shutter can fully open. In most modern cameras, this figure is about 1/250 – 1/200 of a second, which is quite enough in most cases. And high-end professional models can support X-sync at shutter speeds of 1/1000 or even slower.
The type of element used to power the camera. To date, there are such food options:
— Accumulator. The camera is powered by its own built-in battery of the original design. The battery is usually supplied in the kit, so the power supply does not have to be purchased separately. The disadvantage of this power supply is the difficulty of quickly replacing a dead battery — for this you need to have a spare, pre-charged battery of the same type on hand, and in some cameras a quick battery replacement may not be provided at all. Charging the battery requires a power source and sometimes takes quite a long time.
— AA batteries. Powered by batteries, which in everyday life are called "finger-type". The advantage of such devices is the convenience of replacing “dead” batteries: this operation is performed in just a few seconds, buying new batteries in a more or less “civilized” area is usually not a problem, and you can take such batteries with you to places far from civilization. stock — they are small in size and weight. It is worth noting that AA cells can be both disposable and rechargeable, battery type; the latter are more expensive, but with frequent shooting they quickly pay off, as they save the photographer from having to buy new batteries every time.
— AAA batteries. Replaceable elements of the standard AAA size; outwardly similar to the AA described above, but more miniature, which is why they received the house...hold name "little finger" or "mini-finger". Due to their small size, they have less power and capacity, and therefore are rarely used — mainly in ultra-compact cameras, where dimensions and weight are crucial (however, even there, AAA is gradually being replaced by more advanced original batteries).
The model name of the original battery (see "Power Type") used in the camera. Knowing this name, you can easily find a spare or replacement battery for the device.
The capacity of the standard camera battery (for devices powered by their own batteries, see "Type of power supply"). Theoretically, a more capacious battery allows the device to work longer and take more pictures. However, the actual operating time on a charge is determined not only by the characteristics of the battery, but by the level of energy consumption — and it strongly depends on the hardware and can vary markedly even for models that are very similar at first glance. Therefore, this parameter most often has a purely reference value, and when choosing, one should not focus on it, but on indicators closer to reality — for example, the claimed number of shots per charge (see below).
Note that in cameras with removable batteries, it may be possible to install a more capacious battery (or battery pack) instead of the complete one.
Shots per charge
The maximum number of photos that the camera can take on a single battery without recharging/replacing it. In fact, this number usually turns out to be less (sometimes quite noticeable) due to the fact that part of the charge is “eaten up” by the lens mechanics, using the display, changing settings through the menu, etc. Nevertheless, this parameter is a good indicator of the battery life of the device, and different models can be compared with each other.
The model name of the case, case, or similar carrying and storage device that the camera is designed to hold. This name will come in handy when selecting accessories for the camera.
The model name of the charger for which the camera is designed. This name is useful when choosing accessories for the camera. However chargers are usually supplied as a kit, but such a device, like any other, may fail or be lost.
Underwater box model
The name of the model of the underwater box for which the camera is designed. Such a device allows, as the name suggests, to use the camera for underwater filming ; it is much easier to purchase it if you know the specific model of a compatible box.
The model name of the remote control or synchronizer for which the camera is designed. The purpose of the remote is clear from the name, and the synchronizer is a device that simultaneously fires the camera shutter and an external flash (or a system of such flashes). Knowing the names of models, it is much easier to choose such accessories for a specific camera.
The material from which the camera body is made. The following options are currently in use:
— Plastic. The simplest and cheapest material, used mainly in entry-level cameras. Plastic is light, has average strength characteristics, but is prone to scuffs and scratches and is quite sensitive to shock.
- Aluminium / plastic. The combination of aluminium and plastic in various versions allows you to increase the strength of the structure without increasing its weight and cost too much, because. aluminium is very light.
— Steel. Steel is characterized by high strength characteristics, resistance to impacts and scratches; on the other hand, this is the heaviest material of all used in modern cameras, and steel cases cost a lot.
- Aluminium alloy. Aluminium alloy has good strength characteristics, while being light and relatively cheap.
- Magnesium alloy. Magnesium alloy cases are strong, durable and impact resistant. Compared to aluminium, magnesium alloy is stronger, but heavier and more expensive.
- CFRP. The most advanced material for modern camera bodies. In terms of strength characteristics, some CFRPs are comparable to steel, while having a much lower weight. Their main disadvantage is the high cost, as a result of which this material remains the prerogative of advanced and premium-class image cameras.
The presence of the camera body, made in the style of "retro". This style imitates the appearance of cameras of the past decades (most often — film models of the second half of the 20th century). It is popular with both fans of historical classics and fans of stylish fashion devices — retro design is typical mainly for rather expensive cameras (moreover, a significant part of the cost of such models often falls on the design). At the same time, in terms of the main functionality, retro cameras are usually not inferior to cameras in a modern design, and sometimes even surpass them, offering unusual features (for example, specializing in black and white shooting). But the ability to record video is less common in such models than in conventional ones. However, this cannot be called a serious drawback — retro cameras are rarely bought for video shooting.
The level of additional protection against dust and moisture provided by the camera body (if any).
The most modest devices with this feature have general dust and moisture protection, and the most protected ones allow complete immersion under water. Note that in both cases, the degree of protection may be different. So, some dust and moisture-proof models are able to withstand even the impact of a sea wave, others are designed for a maximum of rain without strong wind; and submersibles may differ in their maximum diving depth. These details should be specified in each case separately.
Also note that the first category (“protected”) includes many cameras with interchangeable lenses; for effective operation in adverse conditions, such a device will need a lens that also has dust and moisture protection. But only digital compacts are made “underwater” (see “Camera type”).
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