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Understand the SLR camera’s specifications

I publish SLR camera comparisons regularly, but it is possible that every time I post one I might be feeling intimidated by the terminology and the specifications of the photographic jargon. What does it mean if a camera has or doesn’t have a focus motor? And does the screen resolution affect the quality of the pictures? And what’s that about pictures per second?

Nikon D7200

In today’s article I will be clearing all those doubts. Bookmark it for a future reference because it sure will be helpful for you more than once.

SLR camera specifications

Megapixels: It indicates the maximum camera resolution. In theory, the more pixels it has, the better quality the final image will have. Although, you should beware of some manufacturers that advertise “interpolated” megapixels and that in small print they include the actual megapixels. Briefly put, the interpolated megapixels are forced, or not real. Also it is worth noting that after a certain number of megapixels, it is not necessary for a camera to have more. The importance about megapixels arises especially whenever when we want to print the photo in a large format. A 10 MP camera is more than enough to print a normal format. In the following link you can find how many megapixels you need in order to print in what size.

Screen Resolution: It is the number of pixels (or points in the screen). It reflects sharpness and clarity with which things are seen through the camera, but doesn’t affect the quality of the final picture.

Photos per second: The number of pictures the camera is able to capture within a second when using the burst mode. It can be useful in certain situations, like for example: if you want to photograph something that happens in the split of a second. Also, capturing 6 pictures per second will give you twice as much opportunities of capturing the desired picture than if you were just taking 3 pictures per second.

ISO: It is the sensitivity of the sensor. The higher the ISO value is, the more sensitive to light the camera will be, and therefore will be more likely to capture a picture in low light conditions.

Focus motor: To focus in auto mode, the camera and the objective need to communicate. The communication between the camera and the objective is carried out through the focus motor. If our camera has a focus motor, then it will be able to focus automatically with any (compatible) objective. However, if the camera lacks a focus motor, then it will only be able to auto focus those objectives that have their own focus motor.

External microphone connection: It allows the camera to record sound via an external microphone, leaving the camera built-in microphone aside, which normally doesn’t give great results.

Continuous focus video: This function allows the camera to autofocus continuously during the recording of a video. Some cameras allows autofocus when the recording is started, but do not change the autofocus as the object or person is moving. On the other hand, the continuous video autofocus function allows that precisely, the autofocus when starting to record and that the camera is responsible for keeping the object in focus automatically even if it moves, get closer or further.

Battery Life: It gives us an indication of how long the battery lasts approximately depending on the amount of shots.

Sensor size: Read this article if you want to know more about the size of the sensor and its importance.

Focus Points: Helps the camera to make a better autofocus. The more focus points, the easier and faster it is for the camera to autofocus.

Automatic Sensor Cleaning: Some cameras have an automatic sensor cleaning system of any dust particle harmful for the sensor.

Line-View: It allows to prescind from the typical traditional optical viewfinder and to view through a screen the same image the camera Is focusing at. The Live-View is old in compact cameras but rather recent with the SLR cameras, although it wouldn’t be too strange to find a SLR camera without it.

Dimensions: Easy, how big or small is the camera.

Weight: It not that big mystery.

Supported Video Formats: One the one hand we have the video resolution, which can be FULL HD (1080), Normal HD (720p) or lower resolutions. The bigger the number the better. And on the other hand we have the FPS (frames per second) that can record video scenes with a better naturalness movement.

That’s it for today. Ah! I will be updating this article in the future as I post future specs comparisons. For now, I hope now you get it better.

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