Photography is a form of art that is yet to be fully unrevealed. The most technologically, and technically challenging art form, it demands answers on a constant basis.
The many factors that affect the process and the end product of a fashion photographer, differ greatly from the same for a wildlife photographer. Something as basic as the amount of light one allows in through the lens to the sensor, can change the end product dramatically.
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It is this combination of specificities that makes it challenging, and interesting, to say the least. An aspiring photographer is aware of the challenges that will undoubtedly come their way in the future. To help you, whether you are an aspiring professional photographer, or simply a hobbyist, this blog compiles some crucial information about the technological aspect of photography.
While owning a DSLR camera, and experimenting with various settings can teach an individual a lot about this tool, it isn’t enough by itself. To be brilliant and efficient with photography, one must fully understand the technology that they are interacting with when capturing an image.
As per Newslike owner Bharat Prajapati:-
“It would be unfair to expect a photographer to take apart a camera and put it together with ease; but to be able to identify the most crucial and simple elements that affect the end product, is simply due diligence.”
While studying photography, videography, and other camera related occupations has become a more widely accepted educational field, many still begin with little to no knowledge of the finer details. Seeing as natural talent can surpass technical knowledge by far in some situations, learning these details is often surpassed for instinctive photography.
However, if there is anything we have learnt over years of observing the world around us, it is that for the most part, an education has tremendous advantages to it. So, to launch you into this thought process, read below and learn the intricacies of the essential tools of the field.
Given below are the essential details of 5 important technological aspects of a camera. Bear in mind, this information may also help you decide which camera you would like to buy in the near future.
Lenses are admittedly the most important part of all cameras, and understanding your lens is the first step towards being a skilled photographer. The lens is crucial in deciding what you can and cannot capture. They dictate everything from your frame, to image quality, and multiple other important tenets of your images.
When it comes to how exactly lenses work, it’s highly based on an understanding of the physics of lenses, light, refraction, and other concepts that we are not fully equipped to explain.
What makes a lens?
All lenses vary in terms of the features they use, their basic anatomy, or even their functions. However, some parts of a lense are basic and found across the board. Listed below are 7 of these standard parts:
- Filter Thread: This part allows you to attach various filters (image attached) that then control how much light gets through to the sensor.
- Front Element: This crucial element, captures light and refracts it to the other elements within the lens.
- Lens Hood Thread: A lens hood (image attached) is generally attached to a camera lens, to reduce the flare of the sun and capture well-adjusted images, without too much exposure.
- Zoom Ring: The Zoom ring exists in Zoom lenses. It is a crucial feature, and allows the photographer to control focal length in real-time, while capturing a series of images.
- Focus Ring: The Focus ring can be manually turned, which in turn moves elements within the lens to bring the object of the image into focus. An out of focus image fails its purpose. Making this very crucial.
- Lens Name: The name of the lens is its identifier. It states the name of the brand, the lens type, the focal length (mm), maximum aperture, and any other features. For example, “Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens”.
- A/M Switch: This switch allows the photographer to move between manually controlling the focus using the focus ring, or allow the automatic feature of the camera to do so. If set to automatic, one can see the focus ring move to adjust to the right setting.
Lenses are highly complex, and essential parts of cameras. In many cases, photographers build a collection of lenses, while maintaining the same camera model for years. It is also common for certain lenses to cost more than a camera itself. If that doesn’t indicate the importance of a lens, then I doubt anything could.
Always be willing to do your research when buying a lense. Ensure that you know what suits your style of photography and what you would need to capture the best images, especially in tandem with the model of your camera.
For instance, if you’re on a Safari and want to capture the perfect shot of that Kingfisher, you will need a telephoto lense. However, if you wish to dabble in product photography for your company, or something that you wish to promote, even a prime lense would do. Although, simply having the tools isn’t enough, always hone your skill and do not hesitate to hire professionals when it matters.
The Sensor is the one analogue part of a digital camera. It is not simply an element, but the heart of the camera. It is essentially a semiconductor integrated circuit, you can see your sensor when you remove the lense. It is crucial to keep the sensor clean at all times. Regular maintenance and cleaning of your camera in general is important, even more so for the sensor.
Crucial to capturing images, it consists of an array of light cavities, referred to as photosites, that this photosensitive element uses to capture images. When your camera button is clicked, and the sensor is exposed to light, it starts to capture these photons of light and releases an electrical signal once the exposure stops.
To appropriately capture colour images, a filter is placed over every photosite, generally in accordance with “the Bayer array”, which consists of alternating red-green and green-blue filters. This translates into a ratio of one red, two green, and one blue, for every four photosites. Each filter allows that particular light in, reflecting all other lights.
A RAW image file is the direct interpretation of what the sensor retrieves through the Bayer array. This image is then further processed and the final image colouring is formed essentially on the basis of an estimation.
This process is carried out by the Image Signal Processor (ISP). The primary function of the ISP is to perform something called “demosaicing.” This is an algorithm based process using which, the ISP reconstructs the image based on the colour samples output of the sensor.
In the frame of every picture you capture , there is a focus plane. This space has the highest potential for sharpness in your image. Adjusting your focus helps your camera find the subject of the image and highlight it above everything else, by making it the sharpest point in your entire image.
An unfocused image can cause the image to be bland, without any center point, or point of attraction, and in some cases an extremely blurred image.
The focus ring referred to in the information about lenses helps to control this focus. When the focus ring is adjusted, glass elements within the lense move forward or backward, further adjusting the path of the light before it reaches the sensor. In the autofocus setting, your camera focuses on an element within your frame, which you may choose manually, or can be chosen automatically, and adjusts the glass elements within the lense accordingly.
Take the images below for instance.
The image on the left fails to focus on a particular element, causing the front to be out of focus, while the elements behind it are slightly in focus. Whereas, the image on the right has a clear focus, highlighting the particular element and bringing it out, while the background remains out of focus. Focus can make or break an image, and it is simply the matter of adjusting a few glass elements.
To conclude, one must remember that all these technological facets of a camera are crucial to the process of forming that final beautiful image. Knowing and understanding them, will help anyone improve their skill set.
However, it is equally important to learn the other technical terms within photography as well. Terms such as resolution, aperture, exposure, ISO, so on and so forth are just as major in their contribution. Photography is not easy, and requires a great deal of trial and error, and practice.
Talent is needed, but so is a positive attitude towards learning. Always do your research, keep your mind open, and look to the professionals to do better.