There are many parts to a camera, and here are the most common. Getting to know your camera is the first step towards great images.
The button used to turn the camera on and off.
This button triggers the shutter mechanism allowing the image to be captured.
Video Capture Button
The button used to begin a video recording.
Lens Release Button
The button used to allow the release of the lens from the camera’s body.
The display used to navigate the cameras menu system, to compose your images prior to pressing the shutter button, and/or to view your images after they are captured.
The sensor is the light sensitive electronic device inside a camera that captures the details of the scene you are photographing allowing for the image to be recorded.
The viewfinder is an alternative viewing mechanism used to compose your image. There are optical viewfinders and electronic viewfinders (EVF). The optical viewfinder can either be looking directly through the lens (DSLR), or can have a separate window on the front of the camera (Rangefinder).
An EVF is actually just a very small high-resolution screen placed inside the viewfinder used to display what the camera’s sensor is seeing in real-time. Keep in mind that EVF viewfinders tend to perform poorly in low-light.
One important advantage of viewfinders is by placing your eye up to them, to compose the image, you keep the camera close to your body which should stabilize the shooting experience. Another advantage of composing this way over the LCD is that it is much easier to see your image in bright sunlight.
An electronic light source used to bring additional lighting to your subject/scene. These can be external or internal. When internal they often pop out of the camera body when needed, but can also always be visible.
This is the optical device that focuses light onto the camera’s sensor. A lens is either, built-into the camera, or is detachable allowing other lenses to be attached for various effects.
The shutter is mechanical/electronic device that allows focused light to enter the camera for a specific amount of time.
The processor and motherboard are inside the camera, and control the processing of the image data captured by the camera’s sensor.
Although the memory card is not technically part of the camera, most cameras would be pretty useless without one. The memory card is the device that the camera records your images to. They vary greatly in storage capacity, quality of build, and the speed they can have data written to them.
A hot shoe is the mounting port found on most DSLR and Compact System Cameras (CSC) used to connect an external light-source to. The vast majority of time this is connecting and external flash, but it can also be used to mount other lighting sources and accessories.
There are way too many camera models and types to cover every control button, wheel, or dial. Some common controls are the menu button, the playback button, a function button, etc… Just get to know each button and their function. In higher end models you can often change the function of each control to personalize your needs.
The connection ports are exactly what they sound like. These ports are used to connect the camera to external connections in order to perform various functions like uploading your images to a computer, displaying your images on a TV, connecting an external mic for video recording, or connecting to a computer to update the firmware.
The battery is the power source for the camera. Most camera batteries today are proprietary and are lithium ion rechargeables. When travelling outside the U.S. I would suggest looking at various AA alternatives to the proprietary battery as it is often next to impossible to get replacement batteries in many countries.
The tripod socket is the socket where you attach a tripod to the camera in order to provide the camera with additional stability.