Camera and it’s terms, simple enough! (Part-1)

Hundreds of smartphones are being launched every year! The flagship devices have actually undergone  very extensive improvement in terms of display, performance and camera of course. A camera is a very complicated device, one needs to really work hard if they want to get their hands dirty in the photography world.

In this post, lets just try to develop basic understanding of camera and the various terms associated with it. No, this is not your Physics class and we will not be talking how camera and Human Eye are same. XD!

Camera specs of Samsung Galaxy S8
Image source: GSMArena

Whenever we read the specifications of a smartphone, we come across the following general camera related terms:

  • Megapixel
  • Aperture
  • Autofocus and it’s types
  • OIS
  • HDR
  • Sensor size
  • Pixel size
  • Depth of field or bokeh
  • Shutter speed
  • Exposure
  • ISO
  • White balance

We will be providing you the basic understanding of all the above mentioned terms in the upcoming camera series.


A megapixel is simply a million pixels. So, technically we need to understand what is a pixel is instead of confusing ourselves with “megapixels”.

A pixel a very small tile-like element. These pixels are responsible for every picture or video we see.

Pixels (as in optical noise)
Pixels (as in optical noise)

In the above gif  there are different blocks of different colors. Visually, these blocks are called pixels, 1 Million of these pixels are called as a megapixel. More the number of pixels, better will be the clarity in a picture. A 12 megapixel image is 4000 pixels wide and 3000 pixels tall.

A smartphone having a 12 Megapixel camera simply means that it can take a picture which will have 12 million megapixels in it.


Aperture of a camera:

It is simply “the size of opening” at the back of camera lens which regulates the amount of light that will reach the camera sensor and hence playing a major role in deciding the brightness of the picture. Aperture is denoted in terms of  F-stop i.e. “f/x” or “fx”.

Image source: Google Images

Aperture is measured by numbers called F stops like f/1.4 , f/2.8, f/4, and f/5.6. A lower number like 1.4 means there is more glass in the lens, more light coming in, and you pay more to own one.

Lens aperture is just math. When you double the aperture, you let in four times as much light. So, when you set the camera to 1.4 instead of 2.8, a difference of 1 f-stop, you let in twice as much light, which helps you focus, see and shoot. A lens with a really wide aperture of two f-stops difference ( f/1.2 vs f/4) lets in four times the amount of light.

A simple quiz for you:

Which lens has a larger opening (aperture)? One with an aperture of f1.8 or one with an aperture of f2.8?

Of course, the one with 1.8 because a smaller F-stop means large aperture.

Other terms  in the upcoming article (Y).

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