The Parts of a Digital Camera

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Explaining all camera parts and their functionalities in this short article to help you out knowing your photography device better.


All DSLR cameras are equipped with an optical viewfinder at eye level. Most available bridge cameras and compact systems are also equipped with eye-level viewfinders. As one of the most important camera parts, it is often rectangular-shaped and is present on the back of the device. It allows you to see what the lens sees.

Camera Parts: Pentaprism

A pentaprism, as the name suggests, is a five-sided reflecting prism that redirects light by a constant 90 degrees even if the beam of light is not at an exact 90 degrees to the prism. Two of the five faces of the pentaprism are coated to act as mirrors, and allow for this redirection of light to occur. In DSLR cameras, a mirror and pentaprism system is used to direct the light the coming through the lens to the optical viewfinder. This system is one of the main reasons for DSLRs and mirrorless being larger than their compact counterparts and is one of the most important camera parts.

Focusing Screen

The focusing screen is a thin translucent material found in a camera, that allows one to view the frame image through the optical viewfinder. Depending on the type of photographs being taken, several focusing screens are available. For low light photography, plain screens are preferred, and for wide-angle lenses and architectural images a screen with a grid etched on it is preferred. Most professional cameras also offer the photographer a choice of screens, that may be fairly easy to replace.

Condenser Lens

Two similar convex lenses form the condenser lens. The condenser lens’ role is to correct any aberration or color fringing that is typically encountered with traditional lenses.

Digital Sensor

One of the most vital camera parts is the digital sensor. This sensor is what captures light entering to create an image that we can see. Modern digital cameras use a CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) or CCD (charge-coupled device) imager to capture images. The size of the sensor plays a big role in the overall quality of the image, with larger sensors being able to reproduce colors more accurately and create sharper images.


Light enters the camera through the lens. This light, however, cannot reach the digital image sensor unless the shutter is released, by pressing the shutter release button. As soon as the shutter is opened, light floods in, and the sensor is exposed to it. The time that the shutter remains open is known as the shutter speed and is typically measured in fractions of a second. For example, a 1/60 shutter speed means that the shutter is open for one-sixtieth of a second.


The display is an integral part of digital cameras. It helps users tweak numerous camera settings such as shutter speed, exposure, ISO, and so on. Most modern cameras also show how the image will appear before the shutter release is pressed, without having to look through the viewfinder.


A camera’s electronic components can be categorized into three elements – controller, photo capture components, and user interface components. The photo capture elements, naturally, take care of the image recording aspects. The user interface elements allow the user to interact and control the device. The controller handles all the electronic camera parts, ensuring that they work in tandem.

Autofocus system

The ability to automatically and quickly focus on a subject is one of the major advantages that digital DSLRs and mirrorless have over their traditional counterparts. The autofocus sensors, one of the most important parts of modern digital cameras is what makes this feature possible. It works in tandem with a computer present inside the camera, commanding the lens to automatically adjust its focus to get clear images.

Reflex and Relay Mirror

The reflex mirror is a crucial element of any DSLR or SLR camera. It is positioned at a 45-degree angle to appropriately reflect the light entering through the lens to the viewfinder, allowing you to see what the lens captures.

Zoom Elements

Zoom lenses allow a user to shift between different focal lengths and capture subjects located at varying distances. It is possible to modify the focal range of a lens by turning the lens ring.


Like in the case of most electronic gadgets, batteries are a crucial aspect of a camera. A long-lasting battery is always preferred since it allows for more photographs to be taken over extended periods of time.

Read more details about camera parts here.

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