Learning the lingo will help you learn more advanced concepts quicker

  • Focal Length – is the distance the lens is from the sensor when the image is in focus. It generally refers to how wide or narrow the image is.
  • Wide/narrow lenses – Its probably easiest to understand this by thinking of it in terms of how zoomed in the image is; more accurately it’s the angle of view that changes which gives the appearance of zooming in and out. However, that doesn’t really tell the whole story as it affects the image more that just that. The higher the focal length the more zoomed in it is, but also the more compressed the distance between you and the subject appears. A really wide angle gives the impression that the subject is much further away that what you would normally perceive it to be, while a narrow angle would make the subject appear closer than they actually are (a good example of this is those pictures of massive lion king style sunsets).
  • Camera sensor – The sensor is the part of the camera that captures the image (think of it like the retina in your eye). The most important type is the “full frame” sensor which is only found in more expensive pro level cameras, and is about 36x24mm. The reason it’s the most important sensor size is because it is what all camera based measurements are measured against. When a lens is referred to as a 35mm lens, it is only really a 35mm lens on a full frame camera. The cameras at the media store are smaller “cropped” sensor called APS-C which measures at around 23x15mm (although it varies slightly on camera manufacturer). Because this sensor is smaller than the full frame one, it means a 35mm lens will actually be 1.6x higher, essentially becoming a ~56mm lens. This crop also effects the aperture in the same way as the aperture is also measured against a full frame camera. An f1.8 aperture will become a ~f2.8.
  • Lens – Big glass thing on the front of the camera. Can’t miss it.
  • Zoom lens – A lens with a variable focal length e.g. 18-200mm.
  • Prime Lens – A lens with a fixed focal length e.g. 50mm.
  • Frame Rate – A video is captured by taking a large number of images over a period of time and stitching them together to create movement. Frame rate or FPS (frames per second) refers to how many frames are captured in a second. Bear in mind that there are different broadcast frame rate standards which you must adhere to, with the standard in the UK being 25fps.