Wednesday, 3 May 2017

BTEC Photography Materials, techniques and processes - DSLR cameras

DSLR Cameras - characteristics and their properties.

Why use one camera over an another, what are the benefits of using different cameras and how does it effect the image and meaning?

Within the context of your BTEC qualification this is a re-occurring question and one that you have to address. This post helps out with that aspect of the course. Remember though - do not copy this, read it and write it up in your own language and add to it, if you're looking to attain higher grades.

Digital SLR's

Why use one? One of the key reason's is that you're on a photography course and the majority of professional photographs are shot using a digital SLR and therefore as an aspiring photographer you need to be fully conversant with how your DSLR works. Other reasons include the following here in this list...

  • Versatile - DSLR's are extremely versatile and are able to cover most photographic jobs, they come with hundreds of attachments enabling them to be used for scientific photography in labs to under-water photography in situations such as Surf Photography using camera housings.
  • If you use either Nikon on Canon, you'll find that wherever you are in the world, there's usually somewhere near by in a big city that can service the camera and sell you components needed for your work.
  • They relatively cheap.
  • Small and light weight, relatively tough.
  • They're able to be fitted with a huge range of lenses going from super wide Fish-eye lenses to super long telephoto lenses used in sports and wildlife photography that cost thousands of pounds.
  • They're simple to use with auto and program modes that anyone can use.
  • They're extremely creative tools once you're able to work with them manually - over-riding the auto and program functions.
  • They use digital storage cards, usually 'SD' cards onto which literally thousands of images can be captured and stored. In comparison with shooting film this is a massive advantage both from a cost point of view and enabling you to get 'The image'.
  • Light colour in the image is controlled in-camera via 'White balance' settings - no need for sets of filters as the case for analogue cameras.
  • The images can be see on the preview screen on the back of the camera enabling checking of composition, white balance and lighting to some extent.
  • There's a tendency for students to produce images from digital files using Photo-copy paper or poor quality and expensive digital prints using ink jet printers at home. So their prints produced for the assignments are very low quality with limited use.
  • Everyone thinks they're a photographer and people with very limited knowledge are setting themselves up as photographers, under-cutting real photographers and putting people out of business.
  • The fact that images are unloaded off the camera and then stored on digital devices and never seen. As opposed analogue cameras that traditionally when the film is processed you end up with hard-copy prints to be shown and shared between people - a more tactile sharing experience.
  • Technology advancements, with newer technology, sometimes the format of the files (Images) becomes so advanced that there are no longer computers/software that are unable to view the 'Old' outdated file types. This is in opposition to traditional photography and the use of prints.
  • Susceptible to damp, moisture, dust, grit, extreme cold conditions.
  • Reliant wholly on batteries.
  • SD cards and storage devices including Hard - Drives on computers, DVD's etc susceptible to corruption and all of the images lost.
  • So many images/files a great deal of time is required to catalogue and file them.
  • Perceived that you also need Photoshop as a part of the 'Package'. Photoshop cost several
Note - look up your own camera on websites such as and to find out the specific details about your own camera.

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