What is a Film Plane Indicator on a DSLR Camera?

Ever wonder about that strange symbol on your DSLR’s casing? The one with the circle and the horizontal line through it? No, it’s not the alchemical symbol for salt. It actually has significance more related to video recording than to stills, but it can be useful in some photography applications. Here to explain more is Michael from ZY Productions:

DSLRs and mirrorless cameras come with a a variety of symbols on their bodies, some more esoteric than others. The film plane indicator or, in more practical terms, the sensor plane indicator.

This marking on your camera body indicates the location of the sensor. Focusing distance is measured from this sensor location, not from the end of your lens (a common misconception).

Still photographers often aren’t familiar with the meaning of this symbol, simply because we don’t need to use it. Most of us use our auto focus or focus by eye.

That being said, if you ever need to know your exact focus length—like for doing microscope stacks and panoramas where you need to find the nodal point—this little symbol can come in handy.

Where your sensor sits

The location of your camera sensor.

Know any other symbols on your camera some of us might not have heard of? Let us know!

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3 responses to “What is a Film Plane Indicator on a DSLR Camera?”

  1. R. G. MENON says:

    A very important piece of information hardly known to many.

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