Digital Camera Glossary



The aperture refers to the size of the opening inside the camera lens which can be adjustable and helps define the amount of light coming into the lens to hit the camera sensor. The measurement of the aperture is f-stops, and a higher number of f-stops shows that there will be less light passing through the lens. The aperture can be adjusted based on the settings of the camera for a specific image.

You often find the automatic aperture control options with entry-level digital cameras. For more high-end models, the aperture setting can be controlled manually or you can also let the camera automatically set it.

Popular Misspellings: apeture or apature

Shot to Shot Delay


Shot to shot delay refers to duration that is calculated from the time that a photo is recorded until the time that the camera needs for the preparation to capture another image. The delays from shot to shot are different for different digital models.

You will encounter more delays from shot to shot when the aimed subject is far from you or when the flash is required. The solution to deal with the delays from shot to shot is to select the available burst mode in your camera.

Response Times


Response times refers to a series of times, or delays, which appear as the natural properties of a digital camera. They include the initialing time, shutter lag, and delays from shot to shot.

For various digital cameras, you may find different response times. It can be pretty annoying to have the slow response times because you may not be able to capture several spontaneous images. Commonly, the response times are slower for inexpensive, entry-level digital models versus expensive, high-end digital models.

HD (High Definition) Video


High-definition (or HD) video refers to a kind of movie clip with the very large amount of resolution (i.e. small pixel size), commonly 1024×768 pixels at minimum. Although the capability to shoot movies is available in almost all lately still digital cameras, the HD movie shooting feature is not offered in all of these cameras.

You can shoot HD movies with some digital cameras, but just at the lower-speed frame rates.

Shutter Lag


The shutter lag refers to the duration that you have to wait from the time that you fully hold down the shutter button of your camera until the time that the photos are actually recorded by the image sensor. Different models have different shutter lags.

Although commonly, the lag time accounts for a fraction of one second, it is still enough to get you miss a spontaneous image at times when the subject is out of the frame. The shutter lag becomes more serious in some of the following cases: when the subject is in the long distance from the photographers, when you fully extend the long optical zoom lens, or when there is a lack of light. The solutions for this lag problem is to lock the focus to make the autofocus process become faster through holding down shutter button halfway.

Shutter Speed


Shutter speed refers to the duration that a digital camera opens the shutter when shooting a photo. The shutter is part of a digital model which opens to help the image sensor receive the light when you hold down the shutter button.

Commonly, the shutter speed is represented by fractions of a second, for example, 1/1500th of a second. When you shoot photos under inadequate lighting conditions, the shutter speed needs to be slower as the longer the shutter opens, a larger amount of light can come into the camera sensor to produce photos. For shooting subjects that are moving fast, the shutter speed need to be faster, so you can avoid the image blurriness.

Automatic Mode


Automatic mode refers to a mode in a digital camera in which all of the photo aspects have been fully controlled by software inside the camera, including the settings on the shutter speed, the aperture or the focus. There is not any setting that you can control over for shooting a specific photo.

On the contrary, you can select some certain settings manually via the manual control feature. The full auto mode is available in most digital model. Meanwhile, you can find both the auto mode as well as manual modes with advanced cameras. The point and shoot models offers the fully auto modes only.

Also Called: Fully Automatic



Resolution refers to the total quantity of pixels which can be recorded in an image by the image sensor of a digital camera. You often see the megapixel unit shown in the specification list of a digital camera, which accounts for millions of pixels.

In the theory, with digital models, the larger amount of resolution shown the more sharpness and larger printing sizes of photos. However, the important thing is that the high quality of photos is not only determined by the amount of resolution as there are a lot of other factors that affect the image quality, for example, the shutter speed, the quality of the lens or the lighting conditions outside the camera.

When you see the specification list of a digital model, there are possibly two types of resolution: Overall resolution and effective resolution. You should pay attention more to the effective type because it is more useful.

Resolution also show whether how sharp an image is when it is shown on the LCD screen of a digital image frame. The quantity of pixels that forms the LCD screen is also the resolution of the image frame. If the frame has the larger amount of resolution, the image will be displayed more sharply in the LCD in comparison with a frame of a smaller amount of resolution.

Also Called: Effective Resolution or Overall Resolution

Electronic Viewfinder


An electronic viewfinder, abbreviated as EVF, is a small LCD at the camera top and back panel which show the photos that shall be shot and photographers view through this for photo framing. You will find the LCD located inside a tiny window. You can see information on the camera’s configuration through EVFs, but it can be hard to see these EVFs if there is a lack of light.

Also Called: viewfinder or EVF

4:3 Ratio


4:3 ratio refers to the measuring unit of an image’s dimensions. 4:3 means that the image measurement has the ratio of four pixels in width and three pixels in height, so the width is 1.33 times as much as the height

There are two other typical aspect ratios available in a digital camera, including 3:2 and 16:9. For most digital models, the ratio is often configured via the camera menu.

Also Called: aspect ratio