Getting to know my camera

Before mentioning my own cameras I thought it would be useful to find out about some of the first cameras.

Camera Obscura

Despite all the technical gadgets that are now available the camera obscura really fascinates me because of it’s simplicity. Below is a clip from the BBC’s The Genius of Photography, where they use a room to re-create a camera obscura. This video and the work of photographers like Jacques Lartigue, remind me that it’s not how expensive or up-to-date your camera is but what you do with it.


Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras use a mechanical mirror and pentaprism system to direct light from the lens to an optical viewfinder at the back of the camera. I have a Canon 400D and recently upgraded to a Canon 7D. In order to maximise their potential I believe it’s important to know how they work.

Both my 400D and 7D have an Advanced Photo System type C (APS-C) image sensor format. It uses a smaller area than traditional 35mm film cameras to form an image. The crop factor (focal length multiplier) is 1.6x. Therefore a 28mm lens on a 35mm camera would be equivalent to a 45mm lens on the Canon 7D.  In other words what would be considered to be a wide-angle lens on a traditional camera is a normal lens on an APS-C camera. APS-C cameras are able to narrow the angle of view of telephoto lenses, making it easier to take close-up photographs of distant subjects.

Image taken from Wikipedia

Canon EF-S lenses

Canon’s EF-S system places the rear of the lens closer to the image sensor (known as sort-back focus) than 35mm SLR cameras. This means they can produce lighter lenses, especially wide-angle lenses, using less glass, with a narrower field of view and longer focal length. They are also able to have a large, fast aperture.

My Lenses

Canon macro 60mm f/2.8

Tokina 12 – 24mm f/4

Canon EF 50mm

Canon EF 28 – 135mm f/3.5 – f/5.6

Canon EF 90 – 300mm

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