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Cheat Sheet

Digital SLR Cameras & Photography For Dummies

The digital single-lens reflex (dSLR) camera is the great step upward for photographers who want to expand their creative horizons. Whether you want to become a serious photo hobbyist or simply want to take advantage of the improved control that digital SLR cameras give you, becoming familiar with the dSLR’s controls is one of your top priorities.

Digital SLR Camera Controls on the Front

All those controls! What are they? If you’re working with your first digital SLR camera, all those controls might seem like a mystery to you. Let this diagram help you familiarize yourself with the controls on the front of your dSLR camera.

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Digital SLR Camera Controls on the Top

Don’t let the controls of the digital SLR camera flummox you. This handy diagram of the dSLR controls on the top of the camera will help you master them.

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Digital SLR Camera Controls on the Back

Because you can do so many different things with a dSLR camera, the learning curve is a bit steep. You’re a more serious photographer, though, so those options are probably the reason you bought a digital SLR in the first place — even if you might find all those controls daunting at first. This list will help you get your dSLR controls under control:

  • Autofocus lock: Lock the focus zone at its current setting so that you don’t accidentally switch to another focus zone while shooting.

  • Cursor movement pad: A four-way cursor control pad that you can use to navigate menus and move indicators (such as focus zones) in your viewfinder.

  • Delete Photo: Press to delete the current photo.

  • Information: Change the status information display.

  • Jump: Advance to the next group of photos during review or to the next menu screen.

  • LCD screen: Use this screen to review your photos after you take them and to view menu options.

  • Main command dial: Spin this dial to adjust the main settings, such as exposure value (EV) or shutter speed.

  • Memory card access lamp: This lamp, usually green or red, illuminates when the camera is writing to the memory card.

  • Memory card door: The cover over the SD or CompactFlash slot.

  • Menu: Press to navigate your camera’s setup, picture-taking, and playback menu options by using the multi-selector or cursor movement pad to move the menu cursor.

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  • On/Off switch: Flip your dSLR on or off. Typical cameras sip juice judiciously, so you might not need to turn off your camera until you finish a shooting session.

  • Playback: Press to activate picture review.

  • Print/share: Mark the displayed image for printing.

  • Zoom in/zoom out: Magnify and de-magnify the image during picture review.

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