How to Use a DSLR Camera

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Updated December 5, 2022

If you are new to the world of photography, you may want to learn how to use a DSLR camera. After all, many of the best digital cameras are DSLR models, and these cameras can be finicky to use. So what is a good way to learn the best DSLR cameras, and what is a DSLR camera in the first place? Keep reading to find out.


  • DSLR, which stands for the digital single-lens reflex camera, offers increased visual clarity and device integration, especially when paired with an external microphone and USB cable.
  • It will take a bit to get the hang out of DSLR cameras, so start with the auto mode before moving on to other shooting modes.
  • Don’t forget to adjust the ISO to accommodate a wide range of lighting conditions and the depth of field setting, in addition to allowing for a slower shutter speed, before moving on to the manual mode.

What is a DSLR Camera?

If you are wondering about the definition of a full-frame DSLR camera, you are in luck. A digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera features an internal mirror and prism system that works differently from a digital point-and-shoot camera. This system directs light from the lens to the viewfinder if you are wondering how to clean a DSLR sensor.

Insider Tip

Make sure you learn how to maintain your camera, including how to clean the lens without scratching it.

This system allows for better resolution and image clarity, especially when comparing refurbished digital cameras vs open-box cameras.

How Do You Use a DSLR Camera?

The mirror and prism system with DSLR cameras does change up the use process a bit. Here are some tips to make the most out of your camera.

Practice Different Shooting Modes

Most DSLR cameras include several shooting modes, including an auto mode that does many settings adjustments for you. These modes are typically labeled as “auto,” AV, TV, P, M, and more. Each shooting mode determines how the camera behaves when you push the shutter button. When “auto” is pressed, exposure, aperture, and shutter speed are all selected automatically. The remaining modes adjust these settings for a wide variety of shooting conditions. Just experiment and have fun with it.

Adjust ISO

ISO measures the camera’s sensitivity to light, and most models boast easy ways to set and adjust this ISO rating. ISO sensitivity is represented numerically, with ISO 100 translating to low sensitivity and ISO 6400 translating to high sensitivity. Try out different settings in unique lighting situations to get the hang of it.

STAT: The shooting modes will most likely be found on a dial labeled with ‘auto, Av, Tv, P, M’ and maybe more. (source)

Practice, Practice, Practice

Just like anything, you get better at using a DSLR camera the more you use it. In other words, practice is your best friend here. Things will remain murky for a few weeks as these designs differ greatly from point-and-click models, but you will get the hang of it. After that, you will see a substantial upgrade in the quality of your photos.


Looking to improve your photography?

Digital photography takes a lifetime to master, so keep an eye on white balance, image quality, aperture priority mode, and more.

Should you service your DSLR?

This is a good idea if something goes wrong, such as the manual mode going on the fritz or the depth of field sensor acting wonky. If you notice shallow depth or any issue with your exposure triangle, take your camera to a pro.

How can I use a DSLR camera as a webcam?

This is possible to do in manual mode, so long as you have a stable connection with a computer. You should also account for the depth of field, white balance, the exposure triangle, and more. Finally, make sure you have decent webcam software and the ability to process RAW files.
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