Understand what your camera display shows you

When using a new camera, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of information available on the LCD screen and (possibly) through the viewfinder. Figuring out what's showing on your camera's display can be challenging.

Knowing what all the information means can help you use your camera more effectively.

The following guide will help you understand the various symbols on your camera display.

F or f/ followed by a number indicates the aperture setting (or aperture value) of the photo. The larger the aperture (smaller the F-number), the more light reaches the image sensor, allowing for faster shutter speeds.

The larger the F number, the greater the depth of focus in the photo. A smaller F -number means that a small portion of the photo's depth will be in focus, meaning only the subject may be in focus and the background will be blurry.

A number listed as a fraction (such as 1/2000 or 1/250) represents the shutter speed in seconds. Shorter shutter speeds make it easier to capture moving subjects.

You may find that some cameras list shutter speed as a single number, such as 2000 or 250 , rather than as a fraction. It has the same meaning as a fraction.

A segmented line that looks a bit like a ruler or tape measure is usually an exposure or white balance indicator.

The +/- (plus/minus) icon may refer to something in the camera settings: exposure compensation or flash compensation.

The number in parentheses usually refers to the number of photos you can still take at the current resolution before the memory card is full.

Some cameras also list numbers without brackets. Look at the section of the screen where the camera resolution is listed and you'll usually see the number of photos remaining listed nearby.

You'll also typically see movie resolutions listed next to still image resolutions. After the movie resolution (and possibly a list of frames per second shot), you should see a list of the time remaining on your memory card for video recording.

The number is most often listed in minutes and seconds, with the minutes number followed by an apostrophe and the seconds number followed by quotation marks.

The number next to the ISO icon indicates the camera's ISO setting. Shooting in situations with less external light requires higher ISO settings.

The QUAL icon or a number with an M (e.g. 10M) refers to the photo's resolution and image quality. L usually refers to the maximum resolution number, while S refers to the minimum resolution.

Since most DSLR cameras have a viewfinder, you can usually choose to have the LCD display the camera's settings information over the live view of the photo you want to take.

With some cameras, you can change the information shown on the display. Look for buttons marked with i or INFO . Pressing this button should change the information on the display.

Depending on the camera model, you can also specifically select the information displayed through the camera's various menus.