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Cameras have various methods of blocking the light from reaching the film or CCD. When a picture is taken this barrier, known as a shutter, will open and allow light to reach the film or CCD. Most cameras have a way of controlling how long the shutter stays open and this duration is known as the shutter speed. More sophisticated cameras can adjust from several seconds to speeds as rapid as 1/10,000sec. Cameras with wider ranges are usually more versatile.Buying advice: Look for a camera that has speeds way below 1/30sec. The longer the speed the lower the light you will be able to take pictures in without having to use flash. As an indication, a speed of around one sec is required to take street lit scenes and a speed of over 30 seconds for moonlit shots. Buy a model with a B setting if you're considering taking extremely long exposures.
The maximum shutter speed that can be set when using electronic flash. You can use shutter speeds below this setting but ones above will make some of the picture dark because the shutter would have partially closed before the flash had fired.
Used to indicate the light sensitivity of a film. Digital cameras also use the ISO rating to indicate the CCD sensitivity. The standard rating is ISO100 and as this is increased it means that faster shutter speeds can be used. When the ISO is doubled, it doubles the available shutter speed. The drawback for digital cameras is that increasing the ISO increases the amount of digital noise in an image.
A type of camera flash synchronisation, found on more sophisticated SLR cameras, that fires the flash just before the second shutter blind closes. It’s used with slow shutter speeds to photograph moving objects. As the movement will be blurred before the flash freezes the subject it appears with a trail behind it. Use normal front curtain sync and the trail will appear unnaturally in front of the subject, making it look as though it is moving backwards.
This is the smallest aperture that can be selected. A minimum aperture of f/22 is fine for most photography and the setting only really needs to be smaller to allow exposure at slow shutter speeds when using faster film in brighter conditions.