The lens focuses the light on the film. The 'focal length' of the lens determines how large the focused image will appear on the film.
The shutter acts as a light valve. A longer exposure allows more light, and a shorter exposure allows less light.
The iris acts to reduce the amount of light, and it also affects the focus. This is called the 'field of focus'. A smaller aperture in the iris produces a larger field of focus, allowing object closer and farther away from the actual point of focus to appear sharper.
The camera's light meter measures the amount of light coming from the direction of the subject.
A computer in the camera can control the aperture, shutter, and lens focus to make the act of taking a picture completely automatic, needing little thought by the photographer. The photographer is free to concentrate on the subject.
Filters can be used to correct for differences in light source color balance, reflections off of objects, ultraviolet light, and create different artistic effects.
It depends on the brand of camera and the type of lens. Most Nikon film SLR lenses will work (in manual mode) on their digital SLR cameras. Many Canon lenses will work on new Canon SLR cameras, but you have to check compatability between the camera model and the type of lens. Sony purhcased the Minolta digital camera division, so all Sony Alpha DSLRs will use Minolta lenses.
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