Body of the camera: What Are the Different Parts of a Camera Body?

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What Are the Different Parts of a Camera Body?

Get to Know Your Camera and Improve Your Photography


Liz Masoner

Liz Masoner

Liz Masoner is a professional photographer and she shares her tips and techniques on photo editing and how to photograph nature, portraits, and events with film and digital cameras. Liz has over 30 years of experience and she is the author of three books on photography.

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Updated on 10/27/19

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The camera is such a common object in modern life that it’s easy to take it for granted. Especially in the digital age, you might forget about all the moving and non-moving parts that make a camera function. Whether you’re still shooting film or thoroughly enjoying your new DSLR, it’s important to understand how this machine works.

From the moment you look through the viewfinder and your finger presses the shutter button, you’re engaging a camera’s operation. It’s all designed to capture a photograph using light. Once you understand how each part of a camera body works, you can have a better understanding of how to take great photographs.


The viewfinder is the hole in the back of the camera that a photographer looks through to aim the camera. Some viewfinders use a mirror inside the camera to look “through the lens” (TTL). Other viewfinders are simply holes through the body of the camera.

TTL viewfinders allow the photographer better accuracy when composing their images. This is because what you’re seeing is exactly what the lens is seeing. In a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, it is an optical TTL viewfinder. Other cameras may have an electronic TTL viewfinder.

Rangefinders, on the other hand, are slightly off. The hole you look through in the viewfinder is parallel to but not lined up completely with what the film plane sees. Photographers need to compensate for the deviation when composing the photo.

Additionally, on many digital cameras, you do not have to look through the viewfinder. You have the option of composing the image on an LCD screen on the back of the camera.

Shutter Release

The shutter release is a button that raises a shutter inside the camera for a specified amount of time to allow light to expose the film. Essentially, it’s the trigger and how you physically tell the camera to take a picture.

Depending on the type of camera, the shutter button has a number of other functions as well:

  • In some single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras, this button also raises a mirror that allows the photographer to use the viewfinder to look through the lens itself.
  • For autofocus cameras, including DSLRs, point and shoots, and some 35mm film SLRs, pressing the shutter button halfway focuses the lens.
  • In automatic film cameras, the shutter release also causes the film to advance to the next exposure. In manual film cameras, there is a “film advance lever” that must be turned in order to advance the film and the exposure counter.

Many SLR cameras also allow you to remotely engage the shutter via a cable release or wireless remote.


The shutter is an opaque piece of metal or plastic inside your camera that prevents light from reaching the film or digital sensor. The shutter is opened, or released, by the shutter release button. The amount of time the shutter stays open is controlled by the shutter speed setting.

In digital cameras, you will not be able to see the actual shutter. However, if you open up the back of a film camera, the shutter—typically a curtain or blades—is visible.

Shutter Speed Control

The shutter speed control is the place on the camera where you set the amount of time the shutter will remain open. The shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second but is generally shown as the denominator only. For example, 1/60 of a second is shown as 60.

  • On automatic cameras, the shutter speed control is generally accessed through a menu. This exposure information is displayed on the camera’s screens (on the top of the camera body, inside the viewfinder, and on the LCD screen).
  • In manual cameras, the shutter speed is generally controlled and displayed on a knob on the top of the camera.

F-Stop Control

The f-stop control is where you will select the appropriate aperture (the size of the shutter’s opening). It, along with the shutter speed, are the two main factors used to control the exposure of a photograph.

  • On automatic cameras, the f-stop control is on the camera and uses the wheel or dial that doesn’t control the shutter speed. The f-stop reading is next to the shutter speed on the camera’s screens and is generally just a number (e.g., 3.5, 5.6, 8,11, etc.).
  • For older manual cameras, the f-stop is controlled on the lens via a ring that is separate from the focusing ring.

Film Speed or ISO Control

The film speed control allows you to calibrate your camera’s meter to the film speed so that you will get an accurate exposure reading. The film speed may be sent electronically through a menu on an automatic camera or via a knob on manual cameras.

  • On manual cameras, the control is often integrated with a film speed indicator on the top of the camera.
  • On automatic cameras, the control and film speed indicators are generally separate with the film speed being indicated on the electronic menu display on the camera’s menu.

In digital photography, film speed is referred to as ISO (a term carried over from film meaning “International Organization for Standardization”). This can be changed based on lighting conditions using the camera’s menus. Though it is convenient to use a higher ISO when shooting in low-light situations, keep in mind that the image will also be more pixelated.

Film Compartment

In film cameras, there is a compartment in the back of the camera to hold the film. This compartment has a space for the film canister, sprockets to guide the film across the exposure area, a pressure plate to tighten the film, and a take-up reel to wind the film.

When the roll of film has been completely exposed, automatic cameras use a small motor to rewind the film. Manual cameras require the photographer to turn a small “rewind knob” to manually rewind the film into the canister. If the film is not rewound before the back compartment is opened, the film will be exposed to enough light to ruin the images.

Digital Sensor

In digital cameras, the film compartment is replaced with an array of electronics that makes the camera function but stays hidden to the photographer. Among these internal parts is a digital sensor, which is a solid-state device that captures the light much as a piece of film does. The information is then transferred through the camera to form the digital image that appears on the LCD screen and is stored in the digital media card.

Sensors are a technology that is constantly changing as improvements are made. It is, however, the heart of a digital camera and will affect the quality of every image that particular camera takes. Unlike film, you cannot change a sensor if it doesn’t meet your expectations.


Most cameras now include a built-in flash. Some are simple light bulbs built into the front of the camera. On SLR cameras, most built-in flashes pop-up out of a protective storage area on the top of the camera.

External flashes can often be attached via the “hot shoe mount.” On older manual cameras, there is a small connector port on the front of the camera that accepts a cable attached to a distant flash.

Hot Shoe Mount

The hot shoe mount is a point on the top of most SLR and DSLR cameras where an external flash can be connected. It is called a “hot shoe” because it has electrical contact points and guide rails that fit over the bottom of the flash like a shoe.

Typically, the hot shoe mount is just above the viewfinder. On some older cameras, it may be off to one side.

Lens Ring Mount

On cameras that allow for interchangeable lenses, there is a metal ring on the front of the camera where the lens will attach. This ring contains electrical contact points to connect the lens controls to the camera body. There is a small button or lever to the side of this mount called the “lens release button” that releases the lens from the body.

Parts of a Camera. Understanding How Digital Camera Works • PhotoTraces

When it comes to starting or improving your photography, one of the most important things you need to learn is the basic parts of a camera. Learning each part and how it works will allow you to understand the camera itself better. This basic understanding is vital when you begin to learn more in-depth techniques in photography. This article will look at the individual parts and what they do.

Table of Contents

12 Basic Parts of a Camera and Components

Basic Parts of a DSLR Camera

1. Camera Body

The body of the camera is the base of the camera itself. It is the part you hold and houses many of the significant components. When it comes to DSLR cameras, the body is what most people refer to as the “camera.

Related: Types of Digital Cameras Used in Photography

For example, if you look at a Nikon model D5300 DSLR camera on sale somewhere, the D5300 is the camera body. Everything else that may be included, such as lenses or flashes, are accessories that are interchangeable and not part of the camera proper.

Camera Body – Mirrorless Fujifilm XT2

2. Camera Lens

The lens is essentially the
most crucial part of the camera. Photography is all about light, and the lens
is what manipulates the light to allow us to create stunning photos.

Lenses are made from pieces
of glass that have been shaped and polished to direct the light in a specific
way. Since they are just a collection of glass, many  professional photographers will refer to
lenses only as “glass.”

Camera Lens- Fujinon XF10-24mm F4

Some cameras have fixed lenses that are built into the body of the camera — most compact-style cameras have this kind of lens. Larger cameras such as the DLSRs used by professional photographers have interchangeable lenses. Being able to change the lenses allows photographers to use different types of lenses to create different effects or techniques.

Related: Types of Camera Lenses Used in Photography – In-Depth Guide

3. Camera Lens Aperture

The lens aperture is
located inside of the lens and adjusts to control the amount of light that
passes through the lens and into the camera. The aperture has different levels,
which are called “f stops.”

The smaller the number of the f-stop, the larger the opening, and the more light passes through the lens. A small f-stop would be f/2.8 to f/4.

Lens Aperture – from wide to small

The larger the f-stop, the smaller the opening, and the less light can pass through the lens. A large f-stop would be f/11 to f/16.

Related: Aperture in Photography (F-Stop Chart CheatSheet)

Aperture also determines how much of the image is in focus vs. how much is out of focus, which is known as “Depth of Field.”

4. Camera Shutter

The shutter is located inside the body of the camera. Its job is to block the light coming into the camera through the lens from reaching the camera’s image sensor.

Related: What is Shutter Count?

The shutter release button controls the shutter. Once you press this button, the shutter opens, allowing the light to strike the image sensor and capture the desired image.

5. Image Sensor

The image sensor or camera sensor is located in the body of the camera. The sensor detects the light and records it to create your image. The sensor measures the intensity of light hitting the sensor as the shutter opens. The sensor is made up of individual units, which are called pixels. Each pixel measures the intensity of light by detecting the number of photons that reach the pixel. This information is relayed to the camera as a voltage value which can then be recorded by the camera.

Digital Camera Sensor

6. Image Processor

The image processor is
located in the body of the camera and is the component that takes all of the
information from the camera sensor and uses it to create a visual image that we
see. Without the image processor, all we would have is a bunch of coded voltage
values that would not look anything like the picture we took.

7. Viewfinder

The viewfinder is the device that allows you to see your subject through the camera and compose your image. There are two main types of viewfinders, electronic, or EVF,  and optical, or OVF.

An electronic viewfinder (EVF) shows you what the camera is seeing. The camera pulls information from the camera sensor to display on the screen. An EVF gives you a better representation of the photo you will capture since the data comes directly from the sensor.

The OVF allows you to look through the lens at your subject and gives you a clearer, high-quality view. However, the OVF does not show you what the camera is seeing, only what the image looks like directly through the lens. The optical viewfinder is preferred by sports and wildlife photographers due to its clarity of the image and no lag.

8. LCD Screen

Most newer model cameras
come equipped with an LCD screen on the back of the body. The LCD screen serves
three primary purposes.

First, the screen allows you to adjust the settings and see the current settings. It also shows you helpful information, such as histogram to give you additional information about what the camera is seeing.

Related: Best Lightweight Compact Cameras for Hiking

Second, the screen acts as
a viewfinder allowing you to see your subject and compose your image.

Third, the screen allows
you to review your photo after you have taken the picture. Seeing the image as
it was captured will enable you to make sure the image is the way you want it.
It will also let you see if the photo is exposed correctly or if the camera
settings need to be adjusted.

9. User Controls

The controls of the camera are what allow you to adjust the settings and manipulate the various actions of the camera. Some cameras will have individual knobs, dials, and buttons to control the setup, while others will have menus that have to be navigated using the LCD screen.

The user controls of Fujifilm XT2 Camera

10. Flash

The flash is used to cast light on your subject when you take a picture. This can be for lighting the subject in darker environments or to freeze motion and allow for sharper images.

Related: Fujifilm xt3 vs xt30 – Comparing Two Best APS-C Cameras

There are two types of flash, built-in and external. External flashes can be either camera mounted or stand mounted separately from the camera. Moving the flash allows you to manipulate the lighting more than a built-in flash. Another advantage to the external flash is the extra power over most built-in flashes. You can adjust the power level of the flash, and you can use multiple flashes to improve lighting or create specific effects. For this reason, a lot of higher-end cameras do not have a built-in flash because professional photographers will always use external flashes.

11. Memory Card

The memory card is where
the camera stores all of the data from the images it captures. The card can
then be removed and the data accessed by a computer.

Most cameras will use what is known as an SD card, which Secure Digital Card. An SD card is a small removable memory card that emerged out of a group of memory cards that hit the market when digital cameras first came of age.

Related: How to Select the Best Memory Card for Your Camera

Choosing the correct memory card is essential and is often overlooked by new photographers. Choosing a card with sufficient speed is necessary to prevent you from shooting faster than the camera can transfer the data to the card.

12. Tripod Mount

The tripod mount is a small threaded plate that is built into the bottom of the camera body. This mount is where you will connect a tripod to the camera by screwing the male threaded connector on the head of the tripod into the female threaded connector in the base of the camera.

The quick-release tripod plate is connected to the tripod mount

For landscape photography, the tripod mount is an essential component. Often when shooting broad open vistas and other outdoor scenes, you need the stability of a tripod to get crisp and sharp images.

Related: How to Choose the Best Travel Tripod – A Practical Guide

Conclusion | Parts of a Camera

While it can seem like a lot to learn, it’s important to remember to take it slow. As you work through different techniques and continue to learn, knowing the camera parts will help you understand how the camera works.

Articles Related to “Parts of a Camera. Understanding How Digital Camera Works“

by Viktor Elizarov

I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.

Aluminum profile housings for surveillance cameras

Home ⁄ Custom-made aluminum profile according to customer drawings ⁄ ​ Aluminum profile for electrical and special equipment ⁄

aluminum profile CCTV camera housing We produce CCTV camera housings from aluminum profile of various types, sizes and configurations. Outdoor surveillance camera housings come in several shapes, but the most common are domed and cylindrical. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that cylindrical cameras are most suitable for installation on the facades of buildings, which are conveniently mounted with brackets, directed in the right direction, and powerful infrared illumination is mounted in them. But it is necessary to place this camera at such a height and in such a place where it would be difficult to rip it off or throw an object covering the lens on it.

The process of manufacturing a metal case includes pressing aluminum profiles from AD31 alloy, cutting them, further processing and assembling in accordance with the model of the case. The size of the main opening of the camera corresponds to the diameter of the lens; holes for wiring, a microphone, and a mount are provided. To protect the structure from atmospheric precipitation, a protective coating is applied in the form of anodizing or powder painting.

You can choose a suitable drawing from the catalog yourself or with the help of Alsit’s designers. In the absence of an extrusion tool of the required configuration, we will work out the possibility and cost of manufacturing a prototype.

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Vandal Resistant Housing for CCTV Camera

In some cases, vandal resistance is important for surveillance systems to avoid damage to equipment and ensure uninterrupted recording. In order to avoid mechanical, chemical and other influences, the outer casing of the structure must be durable and tight. The most reliable form of external surveillance system in this case is dome.

For safety reasons, they provide an impact-resistant metal case or protective box, durable light-transmitting material for optics, reduce the diameter of the optical window, install cables without the possibility of direct access, install active or passive heating for operation at low temperatures.

The metal housing of the surveillance camera can provide the maximum IP index, which determines the level of protection against dust and moisture ingress (according to GOST 14254) and the IK index, which determines impact resistance.

Buy a video surveillance camera housing

The manufacturer of video surveillance systems has its own design, project, so you can buy video camera housings for a specific order, while the minimum lot and cost are calculated individually.

On our website you can see the drawings of mastered profiles and choose the right one. If the required copy was not found, send your sketch or drawing to study the possibility of manufacturing, timing and cost. After pressing the required profiles, we will manufacture the enclosures in accordance with the customer’s documentation.

Alsit’s processing shop is equipped with modern CNC equipment, which allows cutting, milling, facing, drilling and punching holes, threading, engraving inscriptions on parts. Finished parts are packaged carefully and securely for transport. In accordance with the order, parts are treated against corrosion and for decorative purposes by anodizing or painting in an electrostatic field.

The process for ordering from the customer is as follows:

  • choose an aluminum profile in the catalog or send your drawing;
  • send technical documentation (layout, drawings, photos) on the design of the box;
  • get a calculation of the cost and terms of production;
  • conclude a supply contract, make an advance payment;
  • get ready-made parts in stock or order delivery.

You can buy housings for video cameras from our section catalog by phone +7 (495) 668-06-88 (Whatsapp and Telegram messengers), or send a quick message. Delivery of products is carried out by our own transport and transport companies, pickup from the warehouse is possible. The Alsit company has the experience and the ability to export products and provide the required customs clearance.

Profile conformity certificate GOST22233-2018 (pdf, 4.24 Mb)

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    Box and bullet cameras, case selection, installation

    In video surveillance systems, various types of cameras are used, the classification of which depends on many factors.

    From the type of data transfer, to the form factor and the availability of the case. If we consider cameras according to the housing criterion, then the equipment is classified into two large categories:

    • cased;
    • unframed.

    If everything is simple with the second option – the camera is a lens mounted on a printed circuit board, then case models may vary depending on the shape of the case. So, there are several options:

    • domed;
    • cylindrical;
    • classic designs.

    But, as a rule, dome and cylindrical models are classified into a separate category, and classic cameras are classified as case models.

    This is due to the fact that classic models are most in demand in outdoor surveillance, where a durable case is one of the main selection criteria.

    It is worth noting that special hermetic housings are used for street surveillance cameras. That is, it is necessary to clearly distinguish between the case itself, in which the internal components (printed circuit board) are located, and the hermetic casing, which ensures the normal functioning of the equipment, regardless of external factors.

    Box cameras can be used for indoor surveillance without additional protection.

    Box cameras are equipped with both built-in and interchangeable lenses.

    The latter option is more in demand in professional security systems. Installing different lenses makes it possible to choose the best option for various tasks, based on the characteristics of a particular object.

    The scope of classic case models is determined by a set of technical characteristics.

    Such parameters as the resistance of the containment to external factors, color, viewing angle, the possibility of remote control and others are taken into account. Special attention is paid to installation, using special brackets.


    The name of this type of equipment is determined by the appearance of the case. Most often, compact cylindrical cameras are used for indoor surveillance. Manufacturers produce a number of models for outdoor installation, but they still cannot fully compete with classic case models in a hermetic enclosure.

    One of the main advantages of a cylindrical body is its high aesthetic characteristics. The compact and solid body allows you to install the camera in a convenient place, while the equipment is almost invisible. The cameras are installed both on the walls and on the ceiling (special brackets included in the delivery package are used).

    By the way, cylindrical surveillance cameras in a miniature design are widely used for hidden installation of a video monitoring system.

    The body of cylindrical chambers is usually made of a metal alloy resistant to mechanical damage. Models with a plastic case are gaining popularity, this is facilitated by lower cost while maintaining high performance.

    Such equipment is often used for home video surveillance, in offices, trading floors and other enclosed spaces.

    For outdoor video surveillance, specialized cylindrical cameras are used, which were originally designed to work in difficult conditions and meet dust and moisture protection standards. Priority is given to models with a built-in heater for operation at negative air temperatures.

    Like other video cameras, models in a cylindrical version differ in standard characteristics:

    • viewing angle;
    • chromaticity;
    • sensitivity, etc.

    Additional characteristics are taken into account based on the scope. Special attention is paid to the connection. For compact bullet cameras, it is preferable to use a combination cable with high noise immunity.


    Enclosures for CCTV cameras may vary depending on the purpose. A simple example – any open-frame model can be placed in a case of a certain form factor, based on specific tasks. From hidden installation in a fire detector, to installation in a hermetic housing for outdoor video surveillance.

    A separate category is considered a plastic dome for frameless cameras. For a convenient classification, you can consider all types of housing (casing) separately.

    Housing for dome camera.

    The plastic case for the dome camera is designed not only to protect the equipment from external factors, but also can be used for hidden installation (the appearance is similar to lighting fixtures). The body also ensures that the camera lens is oriented in the right direction.

    This type of housing is one of the most popular for indoor video surveillance systems and is characterized by low cost and good performance.

    Anti-vandal case.

    A casing with an increased level of protection against mechanical impact. This is the best option for cameras used in crowded places (metro, train stations, stadiums) and installed on the facades of buildings. The anti-vandal housing is made of the most durable alloys; an armored glass window is used to protect the lens.

    As an additional option, a heater is often installed for the correct operation of the equipment at low temperatures.

    Read more about anti-vandal cameras here.

    Housing for outdoor video surveillance.

    Outdoor video surveillance involves the operation of cameras under any climatic conditions. Equipment performance can be affected by air temperature, humidity and other factors. To protect the cameras, special thermal casings are used, the design of which provides for a high level of protection.

    First of all, 100% moisture and dust protection is provided. Work at low and high temperatures is provided by built-in automatic heaters and cooling systems.

    Special washers are used to protect the lens window from dirt and icing. Additionally, the casing can be grounded to relieve static voltage. Protection from rain and direct sunlight is provided by a visor.


    The housing is selected based on the requirements for the video surveillance system as a whole. For indoor video surveillance, preference is given to cylindrical mini cameras with good aesthetic and performance characteristics. When choosing a cylindrical camera, pay attention to the bracket – it should provide convenient mounting and orientation of the camera to select the best viewing angle.

    Some features of installing CCTV cameras are described on this page.

    An alternative is to install wireless cameras in a plastic dome. The latter option is most in demand due to low cost, simple installation, and the ability to quickly change viewing angles.

    The plastic dome provides optimal protection for indoor surveillance equipment while reducing the likelihood of CCTV detection.

    For outdoor video surveillance, the climatic conditions of the region are considered an important factor. Particular attention is paid to the temperature at which the equipment will be operated.

    Preference is given to housings with built-in heating element with automatic switch-on function. In hot climates, casings with a cooling system are usually used.

    Additionally, the probability of equipment malfunction as a result of acts of vandalism is taken into account. If the protection is not sufficient, the fragile components of the camera are easily damaged, which reduces the level of security. Therefore, with a high probability of third-party mechanical impact, preference is given to anti-vandal casings.

    Particular attention is paid to the brackets. They must provide a strong and at the same time comfortable fastening.

    A low-quality bracket can negate all other advantages of an anti-vandal or thermal casing. The shape of the case can be different; for outdoor video surveillance, a traditional rectangular or cylindrical casing is usually used.