3D COLOR MATRIX METER Basically, a Nikon pioneered technology first started featured on its flagship model, the F5, will expect more models to include this to fully utilise this. 3D Color Matrix Meter * evaluates not only each scene’s brightness and contrast but, using a special Red Green Blue (RGB) sensor, it also evaluates the scene’s colors. Then its powerful micro-computer and database together guide it to unequaled exposure control. * Currently, 3D Color Matrix Meter will work only with F5 & with D-type Nikkor lenses, other new Nikon models should roll out to fully utilized this exclusive features.

ABC First featured in Contax (am I wrong?). Also sometimes refer as AEB (Auto Exposure Control). Auto Bracketing control: Metering feature that automatically produces three or four different exposures with one press of the shuttle release. Usually one with the recommended exposure by the camera reading, others at user specified intervals above or below the recommended setting.

ABC Auto Back-lighting Control, metering feature that automatically recognizes a subject in back lighting condition and increase the exposure to compensate.

ABERRATION. Failing in the ability of a lens to produce a true image. There are many forms of aberration and the lens designer can often correct some only by allowing others to remain. Generally, the more expensive the lens, the less its aberrations (More attention to optical quality). While no single lens is called a ‘perfect lens’. The “ideal” lens would reproduce a subject in a faithful, clearly defined image on film. Aberrations, which can be divided into six basic faults, affect the Ideal performance in an optical system.

a) Spherical aberration. Basically, a beam of light passing through a lens parallel to the optical axis converges to form 3 focused image on the film. Spherical aberration is the term for an optical fault caused by the spherical form of a lens that produces different focus points along the axis for central and marginal rays.

b) Curvature of field. This optical defect causes points on an object plane perpendicular to the lens axis to focus on a curved surface rather than a plane.

c) Astigmatism. Rays of light from a single point of an object which is not on the axis of a lense fail to meet in a single focus thus causing the image of a point to be drawn out into two sharp lines, one radial to the optical axis and another perpendicular to this line, in two different planes near the curvature of field.

d)Coma. This optical defect causes the image of an off-axis point of light to appear as a comet-shaped blur of light. Coma, as well as curvature of field and astigmatism, degenerate the image forming ability of the lens at the rims of the picture.

e) Distortion. Even if the first four aberrations were totally eliminated, images could result that still have a distorted appearance. For an example, an rectangle may appear as a barrel or pin cushion-shaped object.

f) Chromatic aberration. This aberration is caused by light rays of different wavelengths coming to focus at different distances from the lens. Blue will focus at the shortest distance and red at the greatest distance. Since the natural rays of light are a mixture of colors, each aberration will give a different value corresponding to each color thus producing blurred images.

ABSORPTION- Occurs when light is partially or completely absorbed by a surface, converting its energy to heat.

ABSTRACT- In the photographic sense, an image that is conceived apart from concrete reality, generally emphasizing lines, colors and geometrical forms, and their relationship to one another.

ACCESSORY SHOE- A fitting generally located on top of a camera to which accessories (such as a flash unit) are attached.

ACHROMATIC- Free from chromatic aberration. An achromatic lens is able to transmit light without separating it into colors.

ADAPTER RING – Also called a “Stepping ring” – enables a filter of one size to be attached to a lens of another size.

ADDITIVE COLOR – Mixing colored lights to result in another light color.

Adjustable Camera Commonly called the manual camera. A camera with manually adjustable settings for distance, lens openings, and shutter speeds. eg Nikon FM series, Carl Zeiss S2, Pentax K1000, Yashica FX-3 super etc.

ADJUSTABLE-FOCUS LENS A lens that has adjustable distance settings.

ADVANCED PHOTO SYSTEM A new standard in consumer photography developed by Kodak and four other System Developing Companies – Canon, Fuji, Minolta and Nikon – based on a new film format and innovative film, camera and photofinishing technologies. Generally, APS cameras are more compact in size, weight and embodied most of the latest and most advance technologies available. There are options in various sizes of print out and it will even provide a thumbnail prints (Contact sheet) for you to select or preview prior to actual printing. There have a different series of lenses and some of the 35mm format AF lenses can even be shared (With limitation or effective focal length will increased). You can say, it is a different system camera all together. So much for the brighter side, but there are drawbacks as well and it is not that economical as I originally thought it supposed to be.

AE (Automatic Exposure)

AE-L (Automatic Exposure Lock) Auto exposure Lock. Metering feature that used to hold the exposure setting when used in the automatic mode. Used most commonly in situation where off centering of the subject in composition and wish to retain the exposure setting of the subject OR where the level of exposure reading both the subject of interest and the background exposure reading is different eg. back lighting. Used to hold an automatically controlled shutter speed and/or aperture. Recommended when the photographer wants to control an exposure based on a scene’s particular brightness area with Center Weighted or Spot Metering.

AERIAL – Above ground; in the air. Also casually refers to a picture taken from the air, as in an “aerial” or an “aerial-photograph.”

AERIAL PERSPECTIVE – The perception of depth or distance caused by atmospheric haze and its effect on tonal change in an image.

AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY – Photography conducted above ground, commonly understood to be picture-taking from an aircraft.

AF- Abbreviation for “Autofocus”

AF LOCK – Autofocus Lock – Causes the camera to stop automatically focusing. AF lock is typically used when the subject is outside of the viewfinder’s autofocus sensor(s). The photographer first aims the camera so that subject comes automatically into focus, “locks” in that focus setting using AF lock so that autofocus is temporarily disabled, then recomposes the image and takes the picture.

AFOCAL – Having no finite focal point or infinitely distant – a lens or an optical system with zero focal power.

AFOCAL PHOTOGRAPHY – Occurs when aiming a camera’s lens, focused on infinity, into a telescope’s eyepiece when the telescope is also focused on infinity. The image is effectively transmitted as parallel light rays, and does not need to be brought into focus.

AFOCAL PROJECTION- An astrophotography term used when photographs are taken by attaching a camera to a telescope’s eyepiece.

AIR – A relatively large area of white space in a layout.

ALPHABETICAL CODING: Some early lenses such as Nikon and Olympus uses some alphabetical coding to illustrate the composition of their lenses. For example, each ZUIKO Lens is described with an alphabetical prefix and suffix such as F . ZUlK0 AUTO-S, AUTO-T, etc. The prefix represents the number of elements in a lens in alphabetical order. For an instance, “A”=1 element, “B”=2 elements, “D”=4 elements, and so forth. ” AUTO” signifies automatic diaphragm. The suffix represents the type of lens: “S”: Standard, “W”=Wide Angle and “T”=Telephoto. While another example: U (Uns) for 1 lens element B (Bini) for 2 elements T (Tres) for 3 elements Q (Quatour) for 4 elements P (Pente) for 5 elements H (Hex) for 6 elements S (Septem) for 7 elements 0 (Octo) for 8 elements N (Novem) for 9 elements D (Decem) for 10 elements

AMBIENT LIGHT The available natural light completely surrounding a subject. Light already existing in an indoor or outdoor setting that is not caused by any illumination supplied by the photographer i.e. not by artificial light source.

ANAMORPHIC LENS – a lens that compresses a wide-angle of view into a standard frame.

ANGLE OF INCIDENCE -Light striking a surface is called “incident light.” It becomes “reflected light” when it reflects from the surface. The “angle of incidence” is the angle at which the incident light strikes the surface, and is measured from a line that is perpendicular to the surface (called the “normal”).

ANGLE OF VIEW The area of a scene that a lens covers or sees. Angle of view is determined by the focal length of the lens. A wide-angle lens (short-focal-length) includes more of the scene-a wider angle of view-than a normal (normal-focal-length) or telephoto (long-focal-length) lens. Currently, the widest view available is 220 degree (achieved by Nikon’s Nikkor 6mm F2.8 fish-eye lens – 220 degree; while the narrowest is Nikon, 2000mm F11 Reflex Nikkor, only slightly over 1 degree of view. It can also be explained as the extent of the view taken in by a lens. For any particular film size, it varies with the focal length of the lens. Usually expressed on the diagonal of the image area. Basically, there are three types of angles which can be measured (based on horizontal, vertical and diagonals of the film frame), the lens must be designed to cover the widest angle in the diagonal direction. Thus, the angle of view is the angle between imaginary lines drawn from the opposite ends of the film plane to the second nodal point of the lens. All objects within this angle will be recorded by the lense on the film.

ANTI-ALIASING – Smoothing the edges of objects in a digital image to reduce the appearance of “stair steps”.

ANTI-SHAKE – Although this term literally refers to technology that combats camera shake to reduce blur in an image, a camera that is advertised as “anti-shake” does not employ image stabilization technology, but instead increases a camera’s ISO sensitivity to provide a faster shutter speed.

APO Apochromatic. Having the ability to bring all colors of the visible spectrum to a common plane of focus, within close tolerances, usually refer to a lens with such superior color correction. Also refer to “ED”, “LD”, “SD”, “UD”.

APERTURE Lens opening. The hole or opening formed by the metal leaf diaphragm inside the lens or the opening in a camera lens through which light passes to expose the film. The size of aperture is either fixed or adjustable. Aperture size is usually calibrated in f- numbers-the larger the number, the smaller the lens opening. Aperture affects depth of field, the smaller the aperture, the greater is the zone of sharpness, the bigger the aperture, the zone of sharpness is reduced. The hole or opening formed by the metal leaf diaphragm inside the lens; controls amount of light and depth of field, prevents vignetting and reduces lens aberrations; the size of the aperture is indicated by its f-number, i.e., the ratio of the diameter of the opening to the focal length of the lens; a large aperture is indicated by a small numerical f-number.

APERTURE PREVIEW – Controlled by a button or switch on some cameras, this feature permits you to look at the scene in the viewfinder with the aperture stopped down to the opening you intend to use when taking the picture. It is a handy aid in checking the effect of depth of field – i.e. what will be in focus.

APERTURE PRIORITY An exposure mode on an automatic or autofocus camera that lets you set the aperture while the camera sets the shutter speed for proper exposure. If you change the aperture, or the light level changes, the shutter speed changes automatically. Apart from the sport or action arena, aperture priority is the most common & effective automatic preference in photography. It can also explained as automatic exposure system in which the lens aperture is set by the photographer, and the camera sets the shutter speed. Can be used in the stop-down mode with any lens that does not interfere with the metering system.

APERTURE RING A ring, located on the outside of the lens usually behind the focusing ring, which is linked mechanically to the diaphragm to control the size of the aperture; it is engraved with a set of numbers called f-numbers or f- stops.

APOCHROMATIC- often shortened to “APO,”it means corrected for spherical and chromatic aberration. Lenses that are apochromatic cause all visible light wavelengths to focus on the sensor or film plane. Lenses that are not corrected for chromatic aberration tend to focus red, green and blue wavelengths on different planes.

ARCHIVAL TECHNIQUES – The handling, treating and storage of photographic materials in a manner that lessens their deterioration from aging or from reaction to other materials.

ARTEFACTS – See “Artifacts” below. “Artifacts” is the usual British spelling of “Artifacts.”

ARTIFACTS- Sometimes spelled “artefacts” -Picture degradations that occur as a result of image-processing tasks, such as compressing an image which can result in an increase in digital “noise”.

ARTIFICIAL LIGHT. Light from a man-made source, usually restricted to studio photo lamp and domestic lighting. When used to describe film (also known as Type A or Type B) invariably means these types of lighting.

ASPHERICAL LENS A lens whose curved surface does not conform to the shape of a sphere; lenses are usually ground or molded with spherical surfaces; because a spherical surface lens has difficulty in correcting distortion in ultra-wide-angle lenses or coma in large-aperture lenses brought about by spherical aberration, an aspherical lens is used.

ASA American Standards Association. Group that determining numerical ratings of speed for US made photosensitive products. eg films. In 1982, its role and its influence was narrow down by the establishment of the ISO (International Standards Organization).

ASPECT RATIO The ratio of width to height in photographic prints – 2:3 in 35 mm pictures to produce photographs most commonly measuring 3.5 x 5 inches or 4 x 6 inches;Advanced Photo System cameras deliver three aspect ratios as selected by the user.

ATA- This means the camera supports the electrical interface standard, defined by the PC Card Association (formerly PCMCIA), known as ATA (AT Attachment). This is the mobile computing equivalent of the IDE standard for desktop computers. Most computers have ATA support built-in. ATA is supported by most operating systems like Microsoft Windows 3.1, Windows ’95, Windows CE, IBM OS/2, Apple System 7, etc. ATA is supported by most computer manufacturers including IBM, Compaq, Packard Bell, Dell, Gateway 2000, etc.

AUTO EXPOSURE BRACKETING performs automatic exposure bracketing with varied shutter speed and/or aperture.

AUTOFOCUS (AF) System by which the camera lens (most popular) or the camera body (only available in Contax AX) automatically focuses the image of a selected part of the picture subject. The autofocus camera revolution first popularized with the launch of Minolta’s Maxxium. Currently, most current SLRs are autofocus based. AF-I & AF-S lenses Nikon’s new series of AF lenses, involves the integration of core-less motors into their super telephoto lenses. This gives these lenses quick, ultra quiet autofocus operations. While the AF-S lenses housing a silent wave motor for even quicker and quiet operations than the AF-I lenses, which was being in the stage of being replaced by the newer series.

AUTOMATIC CAMERA A camera with a built-in exposure meter that automatically adjusts the lens opening, shutter speed, or both (program) for proper exposure.

AUTOMATIC IRIS. Lens diaphragm which is controlled by a mechanism in the camera body coupled to the shutter release. The diaphragm closes to any preset value before the shutter opens and returns to the fully open position when the shutter closes.

AVAILABLE LIGHT Existing light surrounding a subject; the light that is illuminating a scene without any additional light supplied by the photographer. “Ambient light” and “existing light” are two other terms that mean the same thing AV The Aperture value, usually refer to aperture settings.


B (BULB) SETTING A shutter-speed setting on an adjustable camera that allows for time exposures. When set on B, the shutter will stay open as long as the shutter release button remains depressed. Another similar option is the “T” setting, where it never drains the battery power on automatic camera body.

B&W – Black and white. Also appears as “B and W” and “B/W.”

BACK – The removable part of a medium or large-format camera that holds the film or the digital recording surface. “Backs” are attached to the back of the camera, hence their name. They shield the sensor or film from light except when exposed in the camera.

BACKDROP - The background in a studio.

BACKGROUND The part of the scene the appears behind the principal subject of the picture. The sharpness of the background can be influenced by apertures and shuttle set. In the flash mode, bulb setting usually is set for absorbing more ambient light (background information), so the end result of the exposure won’t be pitch dark.

BACK PROJECTION- Projection, usually of a transparency, onto the rear of a translucent screen. Back-lighting Light coming from behind the subject, toward the camera lens, so that the subject stands out vividly against the background. Sometimes produces a silhouette effect. Always use something (a hand, a lens shade to avoid the light falls onto the lens – to avoid lens flares).

BACKSCATTER- An underwater photography term that refers to suspended particles in water that are illuminated, and therefore captured on an image sensor as a cloud or scattering of light dots, when using a flash underwater near the lens.

BACK-UP- A safety measure that is a copy of an image, a file, a folder or an entire computer drive to be restored in the event that the original becomes lost.

BALANCE- Compositional harmony of a scene based on the placement of elements of different sizes, shapes and colors.

BALANCED FILL-FLASH :A type of TTL auto flash operation which uses the camera’s exposure meter to control ambient light exposure settings, integrated with flash exposure control. That is, flash output level is automatically compensated to balance with ambient light, resulting in a better exposure for both subject and background.

BALANCED FILL-FLASH OPERATION: A flash photography technique that balances flash illumination with the scene’s ambient light. This automatic operation utilizes the some camera’s Automatic Balanced Fill Flash System with TTL Multi Sensor and a compatible dedicated TTL Speedlight.

BARE BULB – Electronic flash unit used without a reflector or diffuser.

BARN DOORS – “Gobos” (light-blocking devices) that attach to studio lights and swivel on hinges (like the doors on a barn) to allow the photographer to control the light’s direction and the width of the light beam.

BARREL DISTORTION Straight lines are bowed in at the edges of the picture frame resembling the sides of a barrel; present in small amounts in some wide-angle or wide-angle-zoom lenses, but uncorrected in fisheye lenses.

BASEBOARD CAMERA – A type of portable camera that is better known as the “Field camera.” It is essentially a view camera, because it functions in much the same way and with similar controls and features.

BATCH NUMBERS- Series of numbers imprinted by the manufacturer on the packaging of film and light-sensitive products to indicate that the materials are all from the same production batch, and therefore share closely-similar qualities, such as film speed and contrast.

BATCH PROCESSING – Occurs when a “batch” of images in a folder or drive on a computer are edited with the same changes applied to all.

BEAM – A collection of parallel rays of light.

BELLOWS The folding (accordion) portion in some cameras that connects the lens to the camera body (like the Mamiya RZ). Also a camera accessory that, when inserted between lens and camera body, extends the lens-to-film distance for close focusing or macro photography. Some retains the automatic functions where some have to stop-down the lens for manual exposure reading.

BETWEEN-THE-LENS SHUTTER A shutter whose blades operate between two elements of the lens. Most medium format cameras like the Hasselblad have one family of lens with shuttle and another without. Most lenses in this family have a smaller maximum aperture than the other family.

BIT – From binary digit, is a basic unit of data storage, and has a value of either 0 or 1.

BIT DEPTH – determines the maximum number of colors that can be displayed at one time.

BITMAP – A bitmap is a picture that is an arrangement of tiny squares of different colors, called pixels. For the file extension, “.bmp,” see BMP below.

BLEED – Describes a photographic print that extends to the edges of the paper (beyond the trim marks on a page) and has no visible border or defined margin area.

BLOWUP An enlargement; a print that is made larger than the negative or slide.

BLOWN-OUT – refers to an image’s highlight area when the exposure causes the highlights to be pure white with no detail.

BLUR – Denotes a photograph in which movement, either camera movement, zoom lens movement or movement within the scene (e.g. a subject in motion), is recorded at a slower shutter speed than is necessary to “freeze” the motion as a sharp image. Blur is often intentionally created by a photographer who wishes to convey a sense of motion.

BMP – (Bitmap) The extension for an uncompressed image file format created by Microsoft that is mainly used in Windows-based applications

BOKEH – (sometimes spelled boke) – refers to the blur, or more specifically, the quality of the blur in out-of-focus areas of a photograph. There is no firm definition for what is good or bad bokeh, since its degree of quality is in the eyes of the beholder. However it seems to be generally accepted that softer, smoother edges for blurred areas are preferred.

BOOT TIME – The time it takes for a digital camera to be ready to take pictures after turning it on.

BOUNCE LIGHTING Flash or tungsten light bounced off a reflector (such as the ceiling or walls) or attachment that fits on the flash (like the LumiQuest’s Pocket Bouncer) to give the effect of natural or available light.

BRACKET FLASH Often called handle mount flash. It comprised of one arm of the L-shaped bracket extends under the camera body and uses the camera’s tripod socket to mount the camera on the bracket. The vertical arm of the bracket serves as a handle and mounts a flash unit in an accessory shoe often on top of the handle portion, but there are other methods. Flash mounted in a bracket usually requires a separate electrical cord to make the electrical connection between camera body and flash unit.

BRACKETING Taking a series of photographs of the same subject at different exposures to insure the “correct” exposure; useful when shooting in situations where a normal metering reading is difficult to obtain. Taking additional pictures of the subject through a range of exposures-both lighter and darker-when unsure of the correct exposure. Some top cameras have provision for automatic bracketing, while manually you can bracket by the use of, say, adjust apertures or shuttle speeds setting or both, manually influent the ASA setting or even adjust the flash output power etc..

BROAD LIGHTING – Broad lighting occurs when the main light illuminates the side of the subject’s face that is turned toward the camera.

BURST RATE – The number of photographs per minute that can be taken with a given camera.

BUTTERFLY LIGHTING – In a studio, the main light is placed fairly high, directly in front of the face – aimed at the center of the nose. It casts a shadow shaped like a butterfly beneath the nose. BYTE – (pronounced “bite”) is composed of 8 bits. 8 bits = 1 byte (e.g. 10110101) 1 kilobyte (KB) = 1,024 bytes 1 megabyte (MB) = 1,048,576 bytes or 1,024 kilobytes 1 gigabyte (GB) = 1,024 megabytes.


“C”-FORMAT “Classic” format – one of the three selectable Advanced Photo System print formats; identical to the 2:3 aspect ratio used in 35 mm photography and suitable for most general-purpose shots.

CABLE RELEASE – A flexible cable with a push-button on one end that, when depressed, forces a wire through the cable to depress a camera’s shutter release button. The cable release attaches to the camera directly over the shutter release button. A cable release has minimal effect on camera movement, and is therefore especially handy for the photographer who wishes to avoid blur in time exposures.

CALCULATOR DIAL – Adjustable scale on an electronic flash unit that, once it is set with the film speed or your digital camera’s ISO sensitivity setting, is used to determine the appropriate aperture for the flash-to-subject distance.

CAMERA ANGLES Various positions of the camera (high, medium, or low; and left, right, or straight on) with respect to the subject, each giving a different viewpoint, perspective or visual effect.

CAMERA SHAKE. Movement of camera caused by unsteady hold or support, vibration, etc., leading, particularly at slower shutter speeds, to a blurred image on the film. It is a major cause of un-sharp pictures, especially with long focus lenses.

CANDID PICTURES Un-posed pictures of people, often taken without the subject’s knowledge. These usually appear more natural and relaxed than posed pictures.

CAPACITOR. Electrical component once more commonly known as a condenser. Stores electrical energy supplied by a power source and can discharge it more rapidly than the source itself. Used in flash equipment, providing reliable bulb firing even from weak batteries, and supplying the surge needed for electronic flash tubes.

CAPACITY – When referring to a memory card or a computer drive, capacity is the amount of its storage space, typically measured in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB), but sometimes also indicating the number of images that can be stored.

CAPTION – Descriptive text above, beside or beneath an image.

CARD READER – A digital memory card reader used in transferring data, including image files, to a a a computer drive.

CATCHLIGHT – The reflection of a light in the subject’s eyes in a portrait.

CCD Electronic sensor used by all auto-focus cameras, capable of detecting subject contrast; also an image-receiving device for video camera.

Cds Cadmium Sulfide (Cell). A battery powered, current-modulating. light-sensing cell that was quite popular with lots of cameras exposure metering system and external metering devices. May be this extra will help, photo conductive material used in exposure meters as alternative to selenium-based or silicon blue photocells. Its electrical resistance decreases as the light falling on it increases. Cds meters use current from an external power source, such as a battery.

CENTER OF INTEREST – (or center of focus). All good pictures have a center of interest, a point or feature that draws the eye’s attention.

CENTER-WEIGHTED – Refers to a camera’s exposure meter mode in which reflected light in the center of the view frame is measured so that it has more influence on the exposure reading than light at the edges, generally 60 to 80% more. Some cameras permit the photographer to adjust the size of the central area so that more or less light at the center is measured.

CFL – Compact fluorescent lamp.

CHARGE-COUPLED DEVICE – Also known as a CCD, it is the light-sensitive device in many digital cameras (and scanners) that captures the image – i.e. It converts light entering the camera into digital data that can be recorded as a picture.

CHROMATIC ABERRATION A lens aberration producing an overall blurred image; the inability of a lens to bring all wavelengths of light (especially red and blue) into the same plane of focus; usually present in regular large-aperture telephoto and super-telephoto lenses; does not improve by stopping down the lens; correctable through the use of low Dispersion (ED, LD SD) glass. Basically, this aberration is caused by light rays of different wavelengths coming to focus at different distances from the lens. Blue will focus at the shortest distance and red at the greatest distance. Since the natural rays of light are a mixture of colors, each aberration will give a different value corresponding to each color thus producing blurred images.

CIRCLES OF CONFUSION – Discs of light formed by the lens from points of light in a scene being photographed. The smaller the discs (“circles of confusion”) are, the sharper the image appears. When the circles of confusion can be seen as discs rather than points of light, that portion of the image is considered to be unsharp.

CI Contrast Index (sounds like composite index for stock market, ha!) Numeric rating indicating the optimum development contrast for negative materials.

CLANDESTINE PHOTOGRAPHY – Commonly referred to as surveillance photography, clandestine photography is the photographing in secrecy of a person, object, activity or location.

CLOSE-UP – Generally, a picture of a subject that fills the frame, usually with the subject looking particularly close to the camera.

CLOSE-UP LENS – (1) An attachment lens that fits on the front of a camera lens, allowing photography at closer distances than than normal for that lens. (2) Also refers to a “Macro lens” – a camera lens that permits macrophotography.

CMOS – A sensor that functions like a CCD while using less power and creating less heat, making it the choice for many high resolution digital cameras. Like a CCD, it is the light-sensitive device in many digital cameras (and scanners) that captures the image – i.e. It converts light into data that can be recorded as a picture. CMOS stands for Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor

CMYK – An acronym for the ink colors Cyan (process blue), Magenta (process red), Yellow and Black used in four-color process printing. The primary colors of light (not of the inks used in printing) are red, green and blue, known by the acronym RGB.

COATED LENS – A lens that has a thin layer of transparent substance applied to its surface to reduce light reflection.

Color or colour  is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called redblueyellowgreen and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light (distribution of light power versus wavelength) interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors. Color categories and physical specifications of color are also associated with objects or materials based on their physical properties such as light absorption, reflection, or emission spectra. By defining a color space, colors can be identified numerically by their coordinates.

COLOR BALANCE – (1) The manner in which color film reproduces a scene’s colors under different types of lighting (daylight or tungsten). (2) The adjustment of colors in making color prints.

COLOR BREAK – The edge where two areas of color in an image meet.

COLOR CORRECTION – The adjustment of colors to obtain a desired image.

COLOR GRADATED FILTER – A filter that gradually changes color density across the filter’s field.

COLOR TEMPERATURE – The light spectrum is scientifically described in terms of color temperature, and is measured in degrees Kelvin (K). Photographers use three standard light color temperatures. The first is called “daylight” for natural outdoors light (5500 degrees K), while the other two are incandescent (artificial light) color temperature standards: 3200 K (tungsten studio lamps) and 3400 K (photo lamps or photofloods).

COMPACT CAMERA – Commonly refers to a point-and-shoot camera.

COMPACT FLASH – Brand name for one type of digital camera’s re-usable memory card on which images taken by the camera are stored.

COMPLEMENTARY COLOR - A complementary color is one of a pair of primary or secondary colors that are in opposition to each other on a color wheel. For pigmented colors, like paint, complementary color pairs include: orange opposed to blue, green opposed to red, and violet opposed to yellow. For the colors of light, complementary colors include: blue opposed to yellow, green opposed to magenta, and red opposed to cyan.


COMPOSITE PHOTOGRAPHS – Also called photo-montages, are made by combining pictures from different sources into a single image.

COMPOSITION – The arrangement of the elements (subject and other objects) in a scene or photograph.

COMPOUND LENS – A lens made up of two or more lens elements.

COMPRESSION – Image files containing all the information recorded on a digital camera’s sensor can be quite large. “Compression” results in a smaller file that contains almost all the same information. The most popular compressed formats used by cameras are .jpg or .jpeg formats. If there is a loss of information from compression, it is called “lossy compression.” Saving an image as a .jpg or .jpeg is a method of lossy compression, since some information is discarded. RAW files are uncompressed.

COMPUTERIZED FLASH. Electronic flash guns which sense the light reflected from the subject, and cut off their output when they have received sufficient light for correct exposure. Most units must be used on or close to the camera for direct lighting only. And the camera lens must be set to a specific aperture (or a small range of apertures) determined by the speed of the film in use.

CONCAVE LENS – An inwardly curved lens.

Condenser. Generally a simple lens used to collect light and concentrate it on a particular area, as in enlarger or projector. Frequently in the form of two planoconvex lenses in a metal housing. A condenser, normally of the fresnel type, is used to ensure even illumination of the viewing screens on SLR cameras.

CONDENSER ENLARGER – Photographic enlarger with an un-diffused light enabling high contrast and definition in a print.

CONFLICTING SHADOWS – Shadows that point in the direction of the main light in a studio lighting set-up.

CONTRAST The range of difference in the light to dark areas of a negative, print, or slide (also called density); the brightness range of a subject or the scene lighting. It may be also explained as tonal difference. More often used to compare original and reproduction. A negative may be said to be contrasty if it shows fewer, more widely spaced tones than in the original. Or another way to explain, a difference in visual brilliance between one part of the image and another; without contrast, there would be no such thing as a visible image; a line in a photograph is visible only because it is either darker or lighter in tone than the background; every distinguishable part of the image is the result of a contrast in tonal values.

CONTINUOUS SERVO AF FOCUS Autofocus term used by Nikon, the AF sensor detection continues as long as shutter release button is lightly pressed and the reflex mirror is in the viewing position. Useful when the camera-to-subject distance is likely to change.

CONTRAST GRADE Numbers (usually 1-5) and names (soft, medium, hard, extra-hard, and ultra hard) of the contrast grades of photographic papers, to enable you to get good prints from negatives of different contrasts. Use a low-numbered or soft contrast paper with a high contrast negative to get a print that most closely resembles the original scene. Use a high-numbered or an extra-hard paper with a low-contrast negative to get a normal contrast paper.

CONTRASTY Higher-than-normal contrast including very bright and dark areas. The range of density in a negative or print is higher than it was in the original scene.

COMA A lens aberration restricted to off axis image points; the inability of a lens to render point sources of light near the edges of the frame as circular; the points of light appear as comet-shaped blurs (hence the name coma) with the tails flaring toward the center of the image; this aberration is very difficult to eliminate in wide-angle lenses with large maximum apertures; improves by stopping down the lens.

CONTINUOUS SERVO (Nikon’s term):AF Focus detection continues as long as shutter release button is lightly pressed and the reflex mirror is in the viewing position. Useful when the camera-to subject distance is likely to change.

CORRECTION OF ABERRATIONS AT CLOSE DISTANCE FOCUSING (or CRC) In general, lenses are designed for maximum performance at infinity. Accordingly, when the lens barrel is fully extended to the shortest focusing distance, resolution is reduced. Although this is negligible for ordinary lenses, it becomes increasingly important in lenses specially designed for close distance photography. Lens designers adopted a system where mechanism moves certain lenses components as a unit automatically correcting for aberrations. This assures high lens performance throughout the focusing range.

CPU (Central Processing Unit) The electronic component that controls an electronic product’s functions. Essentially, all automatic cameras have at least a CPU to control various functions of the cameras. Some top models have three to five CPU to handle individual task functions – some handle the exposure, one handle the auto-focus and so on. The latest on some top models utilizing 8 or 16 bits chips now. Newer auto-focus lenses have built-in CPUs to relay information relating to focal length, distance info, lens type to the camera body for exposure to AF processing.

CROPPING Printing only part of the image that is in the negative or slide, usually for a more pleasing composition, in medium format, esp the 6 x 6, some form of cropping is necessary for publishing on A4 magazine format. May also refer to the framing of the scene in the viewfinder.

CURVATURE OF FIELD. This optical defect causes points on an object plane perpendicular to the lens axis to focus on a curved surface rather than a plane.


D-TYPE AF NIKKOR LENSES (ONLY APPLY TO NIKON): AF Nikkor lenses that send Distance Information to some of Nikon’s top cameras, Used for 3D Color Matrix Metering or 3D Multi Sensor Balanced Fill Flash (with Nikon SB 27/SB 26/SB 25 Speedlight). Some third party lens manufacturers are catching up to supply with compatible functions lenses too.

DC (Defocus Image control) A new type of lens family introduced by Nikon, designated as DC lens. Mainly for portrait photography. The lens enables to control background and foreground blur precisely, resulting in strikingly attractive portraits.

DATA DISK A circular, rotating disk at the end of Advanced Photo System film cassettes that functions as a circular bar code, communicating the film speed, type and exposure length through a sequence of reflective bars to an optical sensor in the camera.

DEDICATED FLASH – An electronic flash unit that integrates automatically with a specific camera’s exposure meter and exposure controls, permitting simplified, fully-automatic use of the flash. A dedicated flash is designed to work with a particular model, brand or type of camera.

DEFINITION – Sharpness of an image (as seen by the clarity of detail) formed by an optical system.

DELAYED ACTION. Mechanism delaying the opening of the shutter for some seconds after the release has been operated. Also known as self-timer.

DENSITOMETER – Instrument that measures optical density of part of a negative or print.

DENSITY – The relative opacity (blackness) of an area of a negative, a transparency or a print. The greater the density, the less light can be transmitted through it. (Sometimes density is also referred to as “Contrast.”)

DEPTH OF FIELD – The range of distance in a scene that appears to be in focus and will be reproduced as being acceptably sharp in an image. Depth of field is controlled by the lens aperture, and extends for a distance in front of and behind the point on which the lens is focused.

DEPTH OF FIELD PREVIEW BUTTON – Many cameras are equipped with a preview button that, when pressed and held in, stops the lens down to the preselected aperture, allowing you to see how much foreground or background are in focus.

DEPTH OF FIELD SCALE – Markings on the barrel of a lens that show the depth of field for a particular aperture and a particular focus setting.

DEPTH OF FOCUS – A zone of focus in the camera. If an image is focused on a ground glass screen in a camera,depth of focus makes it possible to move the screen slightly backward or forward and still have the image in acceptable focus.

DIAPHRAGM An adjustable device inside the lens which is similar to the iris in the human eye; comprised of six or seven overlapping metal blades; continuously adjustable from “wide open” to “stopped down”; controls the amount of light allowed to pass through the lens and expose the film when a picture is taken; a]so controls the amount of depth of field the photograph will have; in lenses designed for single-lens reflex cameras, there are basically two types of diaphragms: Lens opening. A perforated plate or adjustable opening mounted behind or between the elements of a lens used to control the amount of light that reaches the film. Openings are usually calibrated in f-numbers. The more blades used will have a more natural and rounded spots. There are two types of diaphragms:

Automatic: The most popular type; controlled by a single aperture ring; during viewing and focusing, the diaphragm remains wide open, allowing the maximum amount of light to go to the viewfinder for a bright and easy-to-focus image; at the instant of exposure, it stops down automatically to a particular aperture and then reopens to full aperture immediately afterward.

Manual Preset: Used in some specific lenses like, PC-Nikkor lenses for Nikon for instance; controlled by two separate rings; the preset ring is first set to the desired aperture, then the aperture ring is rotated to stop down the diaphragm manually for metering or prior to taking pictures.

DIFFUSE LIGHTING Lighting that is low or moderate in contrast, such as on an overcast day.

DIFFUSING Softening detail in a print with a diffusion disk or other material that scatters light.

DIN Deutche Industrie Norm (Film speed rating defined by the Deutscher Normenausschuss (German standards organization).). Numeric rating used to describe emulsion speed for German Made photosensitive materials. Just as the same as ASA and ISO numbers.

DIOPTER – A unit of measure of the refractive power (strength or magnifying power) of a lens. A prescription for eyeglasses is normally written with numbers that represent diopters. Greater vision correction is needed as the diopter measurement increases. In photography, the term is used (1) with close-up lenses to indicate their magnification and focal length, and (2) with corrections to the camera viewfinder’s lens when adjusting it to suit the user’s eyesight, enabling the photographer to focus an image on the ground glass without wearing his or her eyeglasses. Note that not all camera’s viewfinders can be adjusted to compensate for the photographer’s eyesight. When they can, the cameras are sometimes said to have a “diopter.”

DISPERSION The property of materials which have a refractive index that varies according to the wavelength of light, i.e., bend the rays of some colors more than others; a prism placed in the path of a ray of white light bends the blue and violet rays more than the orange and red, so that it spreads out or “disperses” the colors as a continuous spectrum.

DISTORTION Even if the other possible aberrations were totally eliminated, images could result that still have a distorted appearance. For an example, an rectangle may appear as a barrel or pin cushion-shaped object. A lens aberration which does not affect the sharpness of the image, but alters the shape of objects; the inability of a lens to render straight lines perfectly straight; does not improve by stopping down the lens; there are two types of distortion: Barrel: Straight lines are bowed in at the edges of the picture frame resembling the sides of a barrel; present in small amounts in some wide-angle or wide-angle-zoom lenses, but uncorrected in fisheye lenses. Pincushion: The opposite of barrel distortion; straight lines are bowed in toward the middle to resemble the sides of a pincushion; present in smal amounts in some telephoto and telephoto-zoom lenses.

DODGING Holding back the image-forming light from a part of the image projected on an enlarger easel during part of the basic exposure time to make that area of the print lighter.

DIVERGING LIGHT RAYS – Light rays that diverge, that is, continue to recede from each other, spreading or drawing apart. The opposite is “converge”.

DOMINANT OBJECT – The object in a photograph that is predominant, usually one that is given the most visual weight and often appearing in the foreground.

DOWNLOAD – Transfer files from a storage device to a computer. When you transfer your digital camera’s or memory card’s image files to your computer, you are “downloading” them. (Note: Upload refers to transferring a file from a computer to another storage device.)

DSLR or dSLR – Digital single lens reflex.

DYNAMIC RANGE – The range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image. Also known as Tonal Range. A picture containing very bright areas and very dark areas has a “wide” dynamic range. In a black and white image, dynamic range refers to the various shades of gray between solid black and absolute white.


ED- “ED” refers to “Extra Low Dispersion” glass made by Nikon for some of its lenses. It ensures apochromatic-like performance, with high contrast and sharper images. An ED lens is one that has ED glass in one or more of its elements.

EF – Abbreviation for “electronic flash.” Effective aperture. The diameter of the bundle of light rays striking the first lens element that actually pass through the lens at any given diaphragm setting.

EI – Abbreviation for Exposure Index (See definition below).

EIS Electronic Image Stabilizer. Feature that minimizes effect of camera shake. Originally designed for video cameras. Canon has transfer the technology over to its EF lenses, we expect more Canon’s EF lenses will adopt this feature.

ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM – The entire range of electromagnetic radiation – all of its wavelengths, including those of visible light.

ELECTRONIC FLASH- Artificial light source produced by an electrical discharge traveling between two electrodes through a gas-filled tube. The light from electronic flash is brief and approximately the same color as daylight.

ELECTRONIC NOISE or just NOISE – This is the grainy look you find in a digital image caused by image artifacts. It may also appear as flecks of color that should not be there. It is usually noticeable in shadow areas, and generally produced when shooting in low light. Noise is almost always unwanted and unattractive.

ELECTRONIC NOISE REDUCTION – Better known simply as NOISE REDUCTION. In some cameras, noise reduction can be activated or switches on automatically at slow shutter speeds. Note that noise reduction often requires more time for the photo to be written to the memory card, during which you will be unable to take a picture.

ELEMENT – A single lens that is a component of a compound lens.

ENLARGEMENT – A photographic print in which the scale of an object is larger than the same object in the negative, or a digital image that is larger than the camera’s image sensor. In popular use, however, most people think of an enlargement as being substantially larger than the image area of most negative sizes or sensors – a print that is at least 5″ X 7″ or 8″ X 10″ in size. Also known as a “Blow-up.”

ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAIT – A portrait in which the subject’s surrounding environment is also included in the photograph.

EPS – Short for “Encapsulated Post-Script,” EPS is useful in transferring Postscript art from one application to another.

EQUIVALENT EXPOSURES – Shutter speed and aperture combinations that provide proper exposure for the same scene are called “equivalent exposures.” See Shutter speed/aperture combinations for information on choosing the right exposure settings.

EV – Abbreviation for Exposure Value (see below).

EXIF -Exchangeable Image File Format. Data produced by a digital camera that becomes attached to each image made by the camera, including make & model of camera, date & time, image format (e.g. jpeg, tiff, etc.)and dimensions, color & exposure modes, shutter speed, aperture setting, sensitivity, focal length of lens, whether the flash was on or off, white balance, exposure bias, metering mode and camera orientation when the picture was taken.

EXISTING LIGHT- The light that is naturally illuminating a scene without any additional light that has been added by the photographer. Ambient light and available light are two other terms that mean the same thing

EXPOSURE – (1) Exposure occurs when light is permitted to strike a digital camera’s image sensor – i.e. when the sensor is exposed to light. (2) Exposure is the total amount of light striking the sensor. (3) Also refers to a combination of shutter speed and aperture used in exposing the sensor in a camera, as in “My light meter shows an exposure (or an exposure reading) of 1/125 second at ƒ/11.” Aperture and shutter speed combinations are referred to as “exposure settings.” “Proper exposure” refers to an exposure setting that produces an image satisfactory to the photographer.

EXPOSURE BRACKETING :Shooting the same subject at a range of different exposures. Some camera provides Auto Exposure Bracketing/Flash Exposure Bracketing.

EXPOSURE COMPENSATION – Deliberately changing the exposure settings recommended by a light meter in order to obtain proper exposure. (Sometimes an exposure meter or light meter is “tricked” into providing settings that will underexpose or overexpose an image, for example, when the subject is relatively small in a field of bright, white snow. In such a case, a light meter may provide exposure settings that would underexpose the subject, and the photographer needs to “compensate” to obtain proper exposure.) The range of brightness, including shadow detail, that a film or digital sensor can record in a single image before the highlights wash out or the shadows become muddy – is that film’s or sensor’s exposure latitude.

EXPOSURE FACTOR. A figure by which the exposure indicated for an average subject and/or processing should be multiplied to allow for non-average conditions. Usually applied to filters. Occasionally to lighting. Processing, etc Not normally used with through-the-lens exposure meters.

EXPOSURE METER – An instrument containing a light-sensitive cell used to measure the amount of light reflected from or falling on a subject. The measurement is usually expressed in shutter speed and aperture combinations that will render an acceptable exposure. (Also known as a light meter.)

EXPOSURE VALUE – The Exposure Value (EV) system, which originated in Germany in the 1950s, was created to be a simple-to-use substitute for the shutter speed/aperture combination, using a single number instead of two.

EXTENSION TUBES – Tubes made from metal or rigid plastic inserted between the lens and the camera, thereby making the lens to sensor distance greater. The result is increased magnification for close-up photography. They are sometimes also referred to as “extension rings”. They are frequently sold in sets of three different lengths, each of which can be used on its own or in combination with the others. When stacking more than one extension tube between the camera and lens, magnification can exceed life size. However, exposure time can be quite long as magnification increases since light must travel much further to strike the sensor.


f-NUMBER – (ƒ-number) A number that expresses a lens’ light-transmitting ability – i.e. the size of the lens opening. Usually found on the barrel of a lens, f-numbers indicate the size of the aperture in relation to the focal length of the lens. A smaller number indicates a larger lens diameter. ƒ/1.4 signifies that the focal length of the lens is 1.4 times as great as the diameter. All lenses set at the same f-number transmit the same amount of light.

Ƒ-stop – (f-stop or F/stop) A lens aperture setting calibrated to an f-number (see above).

FALLOFF – Decrease in the intensity of light as it spreads out from the source.

FAST LENS- A lens that has an aperture that opens particularly wide, making it able to gather more light than a slower lens at its widest aperture.

FIELD – A term used in place of “Location” when the location is outdoors. It refers to photography away from a studio. Example: “We will be shooting in the field.”

FIELD CAMERA – A type of camera, also known as the “baseboard” camera, is essentially a portable view camera, because it functions in much the same way and with similar controls and features and can be transported with relative ease into the “field” – i.e. outside the studio.

FILL FLASH – Flash that is used in a supplementary manner to fill in a subject’s shadow area with light, thereby reducing contrast. Fill flash is generally not intended to overpower another light source, but rather to bring out detail that would otherwise be lost in shadow. Also known as “flash fill” and “fill-in flash.”

FILL LIGHT or “Fill-in light” – Secondary light from a lamp or reflector that illuminates shadow areas. Called “Fill flash” when the light source is a flash..

FILTER – A photography filter is a transparent piece of tinted glass, plastic or gelatin used to alter the color or character of light or to reduce the amount of light. Filters may be in the shape of discs, squares or rectangles. Filters are used in photography to change the appearance of a scene by emphasizing, eliminating or changing color or density, generally so that the scene can be recorded with a more natural look, on a digital sensor.

FILTER FACTOR – A number that indicates to what extent you must increase exposure when you use a particular filter (by multiplying the unfiltered exposure by the filter factor number). Filters absorb light. The filter factor allows you to compensate for this absorption. The amount of exposure compensation has been predetermined for every filter, and is expressed as a “filter factor” (sometimes also called an exposure factor, and also referred to as Exposure Magnification or EM values).

FILTER, LOW-PASS – In a dSLR, one or more low-pass filters are located in front of the imaging sensor to: allow the lowest-frequency waves through and cut off the highest, effectively reducing the amount of detail getting through to the sensor, resolve aliasing that causes jagged edges when photographing circular objects and diagonal lines, and to protect the sensor from dust (most have an anti-static coating to discourage dust from sticking).

FILTER SIZE – is determined by the inner diameter of the front of a lens, more specifically the threads into which a filter is screwed to attach it to the lens. A 62 mm filter screws onto a lens that has threads that have a diameter of 62 mm. Most filters and some lenses are inscribed with their filter size in millimeters.

FINDER – A shorter word to use when referring to a camera’s viewfinder.

FIREWIRE -A computer connector that permits high-speed data downloading from a digital camera.

FISHEYE – Describes an extreme wide-angle lens that has an angle of view exceeding 100 – sometimes more than 180 – and that renders a scene as highly distorted.

FIXED FOCAL LENGTH – Descriptive of the lens in a camera that has one lens only that cannot be interchanged for another lens and that cannot be zoomed.

FIXED FOCUS – Refers to a lens, the focus of which cannot be changed. Found in simple cameras, the focus is preset (or fixed) by the factory, usually at the hyper-focal distance, resulting in image sharpness for most common shooting conditions for snapshots.

FLARE – Light that doesn’t belong in an image, often taking the shape of the aperture, generally caused by shooting towards the light source. The source may appear in the image as a reflection from the interior of the camera or from the lens. Flare often results in an overall reduction of image contrast.

FLASH – (1) A brief, sudden burst of bright light from a flashbulb or an electronic flash unit; (2) An artificial light source that provides brief, bright illumination of a subject in order to properly expose photographic film; (3) Often used in reference to the actual unit that produces the flash, as in “My flash is built into my camera.”

FLASH FACTOR – Also known as ” Guide number,” a number which serves as a guide to proper exposure when using flash. The number is based on a flash unit’s light output and the film speed. When the flash factor is divided by the flash-to-subject distance, the correct aperture for proper exposure is determined. Flash factors may be quoted in meters or feet, according to which system is used for the measurement of distance.

FLASH FILL – Flash that is used in a supplementary manner to fill in a subject’s shadow area with light, thereby reducing contrast. Better known as “fill flash” or “fill-in flash.”

FLASH MEMORY CARD – A camera’s removable image storage device.

FLASH METER – Exposure meter designed to measure the light from electronic flash.

FLASH SYNCHRONIZATION- Timing the triggering of the flash so that it fires only when the shutter is completely open, thereby ensuring complete exposure of the entire film frame.

FLASH TERMINAL – Electrical contact on a camera to which a cord that is connected to a flash unit is attached, permitting flash synchronization.

FLAT LIGHTING – Illumination that provides little contrast on the subject and light or imperceptible shadows.

FLM – Focal Length Multiplier. See “Format Factor” below.

FLOATING LENS – A lens element in a compound lens that changes its position as the lens is focused.

FLOODLIGHT- Continuous (non-flash), artificial light source, generally used in the studio for evenly-spread illumination. Also known as Photoflood or Flood lamp. Has a color temperature of 3400 on the Kelvin scale.

FOCAL LENGTH – Focal length is the distance between the focal point of a lens and the film plane when the lens is focused at infinity. It is used to designate the relative size and angle of view of a lens, expressed in millimeters (mm). A particular lens’ focal length can generally be found engraved or printed on the front of the lens.

FOCAL LENGTH MULTIPLIER or FLM – See “Format Factor” below.

FOCAL POINT- (1) The central or principal point of focus. This generally refers to the main subject of your picture – the photograph’s center of interest. Also known as the Center of focus. (2) The optical center of a lens when it is focused on infinity.

FOCUS – (1) A point at which converging rays of light meet after being refracted or reflected. (2) Focal point of a lens. (3) The clear and sharply-defined condition of an image, as in “This image is in focus,” meaning it is sharp and well-defined. (4) Adjustment of the distance setting on a lens to obtain a sharply-defined image, as in to focus a camera.

FOCUSING – Adjusting a lens’ elements in relation to the film plane so as to obtain the required sharpness in the image.

FOCUSING HOOD – A cowl around focusing screens that shields the screen from light other than the light from the scene being photographed.

FOCUSING MAGNIFIER – A simple magnifying lens that enlarges the image on a focusing screen.

FOCUS LOCK- Also known as Focus Hold. A feature of a camera that permits the photographer to focus on an object and to “lock in” that focusing distance so it can be used to shoot another object. Focus lock is generally employed when an object that must be in focus is outside of the camera’s autofocus sensor when framing the composition.

FOREGROUND – The area of a scene that is closer than the subject.

FORMAT – The shape and size of a thing – used in photography principally in reference to small, medium and large format films and the photography equipment employed in handling each different film format (e.g. a “medium format” camera).

FORMAT FACTOR – Usually called the Crop Factor. A number used to multiply a lens’s actual focal length to express how much of an apparent increase you can expect in the effective focal length of any traditional 35mm SLR lens you use on a dSLR camera. Also called the Focal Length Multiplier or FLM. Typical format factors are in the range 1.5 or 1.6 to 2.0.

FORMATTING – In a digital camera, formatting refers to the preparation of the memory card’s contents to enable digital image data recording. Also known as initializing. When using a new memory card for the first time, you format it so the card can receive and store data from your digital camera.

FPS – Stands for “Frames per second” – See below.

FRAME – (1) generally refers to the boundaries or sides within which a picture is contained. (2) The visible boundaries of a camera’s viewfinder. (3) The area of a single exposure on a film. (4) An element in a scene, like a branch or doorway, that frames the subject. (5) A decorative border surrounding a print or digital image.

FRAMES PER SECOND – Frames per second (fps) refers to the number of pictures that a camera is able to take in a second. A point-and-shoot camera typically shoots one or two pictures per second. Higher-end single lens reflex (SLR) cameras have much greater performance, as many as five or more frames per second.

FRONTLIGHTING or Front lighting – Light illuminating the front of a subject – i.e. the side of the subject at which the camera is aimed.


Ghost images Bright spots of light, often taking the shape of the aperture, which appear in the camera viewfinder or in the final photograph when a lens is pointed at a bright light like the sun; controllable through the use of multilayer coating of the lens elements.

GIF – (Graphics Interchange Format) is a small image file format that is constrained to a maximum of 256 colors, generally making it a poor choice for your digital images. When it was created, most computer video cards were able to display no more than 256 colors. It is used mainly on the internet for graphic images that don’t require subtle or gradual change in tones. It was created for viewing online images from the CompuServe network, and is also known as a “CompuServe GIF.”

GLOSSY PAPER – Shiny-surfaced, photo-sensitive paper used in making photographic prints. GN (Guide number) Used to express the power output of the flash nit. It indicates the power of a flash in relation to ISO film speed. Guide numbers are quoted in either meters or feet. Guide numbers are used to calculate the f/stop for correct exposure as follows: Number calculated by multiplying proper flash exposure aperture by the subject distance.

GOBO – A light-blocking device that falls under the general category of “Grip equipment.” Generally used in a studio to prevent illumination from a studio light striking a portion of a scene. A “gobo” can be a simple piece of opaque cardboard or a sophisticated material in a specific shape, often a rectangle or square. “Barn doors” are gobos.

GOLDEN HOUR – The time an hour or less before the sun goes down and around fifteen minutes after the sun has set. Sunlight is usually warmer and more complimentary to skin tones at this time, and the angle of the light can provide depth to portraits and landscape photography. This quality of light is also sometimes referred to as “Photographer’s light.”

GOLDEN MEAN – Also referred to as the “Golden section” and the “Gold mean,” the Golden mean is an ancient fine arts formula that mathematically defines a rectangle of specific proportions. This rectangle, called the “Golden rectangle,” is believed to frame objects in pleasing proportions. (See Rule of Thirds for more information.)

GOLDEN RECTANGLE – A rectangle of specific mathematical proportions that are closely approximated in the shape the view-frame of a digital camera.

GPD Gallium Photo Diode. Metering cells for measuring exposure, using gallium arsenide-phosphide, just like SPD or Cds cells.

GRADATION – (1) An image’s tonal contrast range. (2) The range of light and dark tones in a subject that a film is capable of showing (i.e. how a film reproduces contrast). (3) The gradual changing of one tint or shade to another by very small degrees.

GRADATED FILTER- Also called a “Graduated” filter. A filter that is not uniformly dense, but that gradually changes its density across the filter’s field. A Gradated neutral density filter is clear from one edge to approximately the middle of the filter, then gradually increases in density towards the opposite edge. Colored gradated filters gradually change color density across the filter’s field.

GRADATED GRAY FILTER – Another name for a Gradated neutral density filter.

GRADATED NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTER – See definition in “Gradated filter” above.

GRADE – A system of classifying the contrast of photographic papers used in making black and white prints, ranging from 0 (soft) to 5 (hard).

GRADUATED FILTER – See Gradated filter above.

GRAY CARD (18% Gray Card). Tone used as representative of mid-tone of average subject. The standard gray card reflects 18 per cent of the light falling on it.

GRAY FILTER – Another name for a neutral density filter, or ND filter.

GROUND GLASS SCREEN – Flat sheet of glass in a camera treated so that it can be used for viewing and focusing an image, also known as the “Viewing screen.”

GUIDE NUMBER – A number which serves as a guide to proper exposure when using flash. Also known as “Flash factor.” The number is based on a flash unit’s light output and a digital camera’s ISO sensitivity setting or a traditional camera’s film speed. When the guide number is divided by the flash-to-subject distance, the correct aperture for proper exposure is determined. Guide numbers may be quoted in meters or feet, according to which system is used for the measurement of distance. Glossary - Images From Scott


“H”-FORMAT One of the three selectable Advanced Photo System print formats; identical to the 9:16 aspect ratio used in high-definition television (HDTV); suitable for wider shots than usual, such as groups; produces prints of 3.5 x 6 inches or 4 x 7 inches

HALATION – Blurred effect at the edges of a highlight area of a photograph caused by reflection of light that passed through the film. The light is reflected from either the surface of the film or the camera back.

HANDLE MOUNT FLASH Also often referred as bracket flash. It comprised of one arm of the L-shaped bracket extends under the camera body and uses the camera’s tripod socket to mount the camera on the bracket. The vertical arm of the bracket serves as a handle and mounts a flash unit in an accessory shoe often on top of the handle portion, but there are other methods. Flash mounted in a bracket usually requires a separate electrical cord to make the electrical connection between camera body and flash unit.

HAZE – An atmospheric condition characterized by fine particles of dust, smoke or moisture in the air that causes a loss of contrast in an image because the haze scatters light particles.

HEADSHOT – Photograph, often in black-and-white, of a person’s head and shoulders. Promotional headshots of performers and models are traditionally printed in 8″ by 10″ size.

HERTZ – A measurement of light’s frequency, determined by the number of wavelengths that pass a given point in one second.

HIDE – Hide, another word for “Blind,” is an enclosure that provides a concealed camera position within, and overlooking, an animal’s territory. It is called a “hide” because it is meant to hide a photographer from the animals’ vision.

HIGH CONTRAST – An image that is high in contrast (as opposed to a “flat” image), wherein the digital image file, or the negative, slide or print contains a wide density range.

HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE – A series of techniques enabling a photographer to capture a wider range of proper exposure in all areas of a scene than can be recorded by a camera in one exposure alone. It is achieved by making a number of different exposures, usually through bracketing, to properly expose the brightest areas, the mid-tones and the darkest areas. The pictures (in this case, three) are combined using an image-editing application like Adobe PhotoShop into one image that shows detail in each of the areas.

HIGH KEY – An image that is mainly made up of light tones, which relatively few mid-tones or shadows.

HIGHLIGHT – The brightest area of a subject or scene. When used in the plural, “Highlights” refer to the range of significantly brighter areas.

HIGHLIGHT DETAIL – Details that are visible in areas of an image that are brightest.

HISTOGRAM – a bar chart graph that shows all of the tones in a digital image. A photographer can use a histogram to understand and manipulate exposure. Many digital cameras have the ability to show the photographer a histogram of an image he or she has taken. Most image editing applications can create a histogram for an image. A well-exposed photograph will appear as a bell curve, with lower values at the dark and light ends. If the image contains a deep shadow area, there will be high values at the dark end of the graph indicating loss of shadow detail. If there is a white area in an image, there will be high values at the light end, implying loss of highlight detail. If there is nothing shown at the dark and light ends, the photo lacks contrast.

HOT SHOE Usually rest around the pentaprism of the camera (but some were designed around the film rewind knob). It has an electrical contact which mated with a contact in the mounting foot of the flash unit. This allows the camera to fire the flash at the proper time without any other electrical connections between flash and camera. The fitting on a camera that holds a small portable flash. It has an electrical contact that aligns with the contact on the flash unit’s “foot” and fires the flash when you press the shutter release. This direct flash-to-camera contact eliminates the need for a PC cord. Some referred it as accessory shoe. Modern flash demand more than just the main electrical contact and often has more dedicated functions such as TTL control, viewfinder ready light etc. and thus, you will find more secondary contacts other than the main.

HYPERFOCAL DISTANCE – Technically, it is the distance between the camera and the hyperfocal point (See below). But, in practice, Hyperfocal distance is a lens setting technique that allows you to shoot sharp pictures within a certain distance range (depth of field) without having to refocus.

HYPERFOCAL POINT – When the lens is focused on infinity, the nearest point to the camera that is considered acceptably sharp is the Hyperfocal point. By focusing on the hyperfocal point, everything beyond it to infinity remains in acceptable focus, and objects halfway between the camera and the hyperfocal point will also be rendered acceptably sharp.


IF – Abbreviation for “Internal Focusing”

IMAGE. Two-dimensional reproduction of a subject formed by a lens. When formed on a surface, i.e. a ground-glass screen, it is a real image; if in space, i.e. when the screen is removed, it is an aerial image. The image seen through a telescope optical viewfinder, etc. cannot be focused on a surface without the aid of another optical system and is a virtual image.

Image resolution is the detail an image holds. The term applies to raster digital images, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution means more image detail. Image resolution can be measured in various ways. Basically, resolution quantifies how close lines can be to each other and still be visibly resolved. Resolution units can be tied to physical sizes (e.g. lines per mm, lines per inch), to the overall size of a picture (lines per picture height, also known simply as lines, TV lines, or TVL), or to angular subtenant. Line pairs are often used instead of lines; a line pair comprises a dark line and an adjacent light line. A line is either a dark line or a light line. A resolution 10 lines per millimeter means 5 dark lines alternating with 5 light lines, or 5 line pairs per millimeter (5 LP/mm). Photographic lens and film resolution are most often quoted in line pairs per millimeter.

IMAGE SENSOR – Also called the “imaging sensor” or just the “sensor.” A digital camera’s image sensor records the scene being photographed in a similar manner to film in a traditional camera. Unlike film, the image sensor does not store the image. It is stored on the digital camera’s media.

IMAGE STABILIZATION – often referred to as “IS” and also known as “Vibration reduction” or “VR” – A feature in some lenses and camera bodies that minimizes the effect of camera shake at slow shutter speeds, helping to prevent image blur. Optical IS, the preferred method, employs sensors that detect camera motion and compensate for its effects by moving lens elements or by moving the camera’s image sensor, and Digital IS employs software. You may come across the term “Anti-shake,” which is not image stabilization technology, but instead increases a camera’s ISO sensitivity to provide a faster shutter speed.

INCIDENT LIGHT. Light falling on a surface as opposed to the light reflected by it.

INCIDENT LIGHT METER – An exposure meter (generally hand held as opposed to a reflective meter that is built into a camera) that reads the amount of incident light. Since the meter does not read the light reflected from the subject, the subject’s reflectance does not affect the exposure reading. Incident light meters are equipped with one of two types of light receptor diffusion cover – a round diffuser for three-dimensional subjects and a flat one for two-dimensional, flat subjects, such as a map or painting. Also called an “Ambient light meter.”

INFINITY. Infinite distance. In practice, a distance so great that any object at that distance will be reproduced sharply if the lens is set at its infinity position, i.e. one focal length from the film.

INITIALIZING – Also known as formatting, initializing refers to the preparation of a digital camera’s image memory card’s contents to enable digital image data recording.

INTENTIONAL OVER- or UNDER-EXPOSURE – Intentional over-exposure or underexposure is known as increasing or decreasing exposure. Many professional photographers will consistently underexpose (decrease exposure of) some slide films on purpose.

INTERCHANGEABLE LENS – One of a system of detachable lenses of different characteristics, generally focal length variety, each of which fits a given camera body.

INTERNAL FOCUSING – Lens in which internal lens groups shift during focusing so that the external length of the lens does not change.

INTERPOLATION – Adding new pixels to a digital image between existing pixels. Interpolation software analyzes the adjacent pixels to create the new ones when enlarging an image file.

INTERVALOMETER – A camera’s device that takes a number of consecutive exposures at set intervals for time-lapse photography. Some cameras have built-in intervalometers; others can be fitted with an accessory intervalometer.

INVERSE SQUARE LAW – An equation that relates the intensity of a light source to the illumination it produces at a given distance. Light diminishes over distance in accordance with the Inverse square law, which states that doubling the flash-to-subject distance reduces the light falling on the subject to one-quarter.

INTERSPERSED ASPECT RATIO A basic requirement of certified photofinishers and certified photofinishing equipment; specifies the three system print formats – C, H and P – that users select during picture-taking must be available at photofinishing. Interchangeable lens. Lens designed to be readily attached to and detached from a camera.

INVERTED TELEPHOTO LENS. Lens constructed so that the back focus (distance from rear of lens to film) is greater than the focal length of the lens. This construction allows room for mirror movement when short focus lenses are fitted to SLR cameras.

IQ- Traditionally understood as Intelligence Quotient, a test score intended to measure human intelligence. When referring to cameras, IQ has come to mean Image Quality – a picture quality level that is not specifically defined.

Iris. Strictly, iris diaphragm. Device consisting of thin overlapping metal leaves pivoting outwards to form a circular opening of variable size to control light transmission through a lens.

ISO Speed The international standard for representing film sensitivity. The emulsion speed (sensitivity) of the film as determined by the standards of the International Standards Organization. In these standards, both arithmetic (ASA) and logarithmic (DIN) speed values are expressed in a single ISO term. For example, a film with a speed of ISO 100/21° would have a speed of ASA 100 or 21 DIN. The higher the number, the greater the sensitivity, and vice versa. A film speed of ISO 200 is twice as sensitive as ISO 100, and half that of ISO 400 film.


JCII Japan Camera Inspection and Testing Institute. Organization in Japan to monitor export quality of Japanese made cameras, in 1992, may be because of the global localization programs, most lower end and some mid-range cameras are made and produced in countries outside Japan and their duty is relieved.

JPEG – An acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group that describes an image file format standard in which the size of the file is reduced by compressing it. JPEG, with its 16.7 million colors, is well suited to compressing photographic images. A “JPEG” image file name carries the extension “jpg” – e.g. “portrait.jpg” Many people refer to an image in JPEG format as a “JPEG,” pronounced “jay-peg”.)

JUNIOR MODEL – A youthful-looking, animated model.

JUXTAPOSE – In composition, to place two objects close together or side by side for comparison or contrast. Often helpful in showing scale in an image.


K Kelvin. A scale use to measure the color temperature. 5000 K refer to normal daylight.

KEY LIGHT – Also called “main light.” The principal source of light on a subject or a scene, usually in reference to a studio light. The key light is generally the brightest light on the subject, or the one that will have the greatest overall effect on the image.

KICKER – (1) A side or back light often near lens height used to rim faces and model profile shots. (2) A light used to provide an additional highlight or accent on a subject.

KODAK NEUTRAL TEST CARD – Also known as the “Gray card,” a Kodak neutral test card is an 8″ X 10″ (20 cm by 25.5 cm) card, about 1/8″ thick, that is uniformly gray on one side. The gray side reflects precisely 18% of the white light that strikes it (corresponding to the calibration of a reflected-light meter). It is uniformly white on the other side, which reflects 90% of the light.


LAMP – The complete unit of an artificial light source, including filament or electrodes, bulb, base and other components.

LANDSCAPE – A picture of the land and its aggregate natural features from a single viewpoint. Scenery is the subject of a landscape image.

LARGE FORMAT – Film format having individual frames of 4″ X 5″ or larger.

LATERAL REVERSAL – A mirror image, as seen in the viewfinders of some cameras where the scene appears flipped from left to right.

LCD panel (Liquid Crystal Display.) An electronically generated text, numeric & symbols. Before the popularity of the LCD,

LED is the most common method. LCD consume only one fifth (1/5) of the power of the LED and thus have a wider application in photographic line. The only problem is, it’ll turn dark at very high temperature (will resume to normal when cool down) and it will fades in extended time. (the Nikon F3 first used LCD display in 1980, I heard none is complaining about this after 17 years, did you ?) Used most commonly on cameras that shows such information as remaining exposures, flash status and aspect ratio selected.

LEADING LINES – Lines that direct the viewer’s attention to an image’s center of interest.

LD Low dispersion glass, or UD (ultra low dispersion) or SD (Super Low dispersion), please refer to “ED”, basically, refers to optically superior glass – price too! Dispersion sometimes also refer as “colour fringing”.

LENS – A true “lens” is a single piece of glass (or other transparent substance) having one or more curved surfaces used in changing the convergence of light rays. What we commonly call a photographic lens is more accurately and technically called an “objective,” an optical device containing a combination of lenses that receive light rays from an object and form an image on the focal plane. However, dictionaries have come to accept the usage of the term “lens” to mean the entire photographic objective itself. A photographic lens will always be called a lens, even though it is not a lens, but has a lot of lenses in it. A camera lens collects and focuses rays of light to form an image on a digital camera’s sensor.

LENS ABERRATION Optical flaws which are present in small amounts in all photographic lenses; made up of chromatic aberration, spherical aberration, curvature of field, distortion, etc.; a perfect lens would show the image of a point as a point and a straight line as a straight line, but in practice, lenses are never perfect: they reproduce a point as a patch and a straight line as a more or less curved band; most of the trouble is caused by aberrations, inherent in the lens construction; it’s the job of the lens designer to control most of the aberrations as much as possible by combining a number of single lenses in such a way that the aberrations of one lens tend to be canceled out by opposing aberrations in the others.

LENS AXIS – An imaginary straight line through the center of a lens.

LENS BARREL – The part of a lens that is cylindrical and that holds the lens elements.

LENS HOOD or “Lens shade” – An accessory that attaches as a collar to the front of a lens to prevent stray light from striking the surface of the lens, causing flare.

LENS-SHUTTER CAMERA- A camera that has the shutter built into the lens itself.

LENS SPEED- The widest aperture at which a lens can be set. A lens with a fast speed has a very wide maximum aperture, such as ƒ/1.4, for example, and transmits more light than a lens with a slow lens speed, such as ƒ/8.

LIGHTBOX- (1) A enclosure containing white-light balanced fluorescent tubes behind a flat translucent glass or plastic surface on which transparencies or negatives are laid in order to view them. (2) A lightbox on the internet is a website intended for a photographer’s clients to view or download the photographer’s image files. Note that a lightbox can be used to photograph an object placed on it so that it does not show shadows.

LIGHTING RATIO – The brightness of the main light (key light) compared with the brightness of the fill light(s). A ratio of about 3:1 is normal for photography. It can also be described as the measurement of the degree of contrast between the shadow side and the bright side of your subject.

LIGHT METER – An instrument used to measure the amount of light reflected from or falling on a subject. The measurement is usually expressed in shutter speed and aperture combinations that will render an acceptable exposure. (Also known as an “Exposure meter.”)

LIGHT TENT – Translucent fabric attached to a frame that surrounds a subject. Typically used to reduce reflection from highly reflective subjects. The light source is outside the enclosure, but the lens pokes through a hole in the fabric.

LIGHT-TIGHT – Impervious to light

LIGHT TRAIL – A line recorded on an image sensor resulting from movement of a point of light (or camera movement) during the exposure. Star trails are one example.

LIMITING APERTURE. The actual size of the aperture formed by the iris diaphragm at any setting. Determines, but usually differs from, the effective aperture.

LOCATION- A photography site that is outside of the studio. The often-heard term “shooting on location” refers to taking pictures at such a site. The term “field” is also used in place of “location” when the location is outdoors, as in “shooting in the field.”

LONG FOCUS – A lens of relatively long focal length with a narrower angle of view than a normal lens, but with a more enlarged view of the scene.

LOOP LIGHTING – A common type of studio portrait lighting. The objective is to create a shadow from the model’s nose that points down towards the corner of the mouth, but does not touch the corner of the mouth.

LOSSLESS – Occurs when saving a digital image file in a format that does not result in a loss of data. See “LZW” below.

LOSSY or Lossy compression – A form of image compression when saving an image that discards (loses) data from it. Saving a picture as a .jpg or .jpeg is a method of lossy compression.

LOW KEY – Describes a mostly dark image, with few highlights.

LOW-PASS FILTER- In a dSLR, one or more low-pass filters are located in front of the imaging sensor to: allow the lowest-frequency waves through and cut off the highest, effectively reducing the amount of detail getting through to the sensor, resolve aliasing that causes jagged edges when photographing circular objects and diagonal lines, and to protect the sensor from dust (most have an anti-static coating to discourage dust from sticking).

LUMINANCE – The intensity or brightness of a light source.

LUMINOSITY – Emitting or reflecting light.

LUX A measurement of the light intensity. One Lux in video means light level of a candle light.

LYTRO CAMERA – An innovative camera introduced in 2011 that takes pictures without focusing. Selective focusing is accomplished afterwards, on a computer when your images are downloaded. The camera doesn’t measure its images in standard megapixels, but rather in mega rays – the number of light rays captured by the camera’s light-field sensor. It is promoted as a light field camera that captures light throughout the scene in front of the lens, as opposed to the cameras consumers are used to, which bring a particular thing into focus first. The result is an image that can be focused after it is taken.

LZW – Lossless compression when storing digital images. The file size is much larger than a “lossy” compressed image (like a JPEG), but no image data is lost, resulting in the highest-possible quality in the stored image.


MACROGRAPH – A photograph that is the same size as or larger than the subject. MACRO LENS – A lens with the ability to focus from infinity to extremely closely, allowing it to capture images of tiny objects in frame-filling, larger-than-life sizes. Sometimes called a “Close-up lens,” although a close-up lens is usually a lens attachment for close-ups and does not generally have the ability to focus on infinity. MACROPHOTOGRAPHY – Photography of a subject where the image is recorded in the same or larger than actual size. MACROSCOPIC – Visible to the naked eye, as opposed to Microscopic, which means so small as to be invisible or indistinct without the use of a microscope. MAIN LIGHT- Same as “Key light”- the principal source of light, usually in a studio, and generally the brightest light on a subject or scene. MAKE-UP ARTIST – A person who specializes in applying and touching up a subject’s make-up for photography sessions. MANUAL MODE – A camera’s mode that allows the photographer to over-ride automatic exposure settings, determining shutter speed and aperture as decided upon by the photographer. MASK – (1) Opaque material (usually thin plastic) placed in front of the lens like a filter to block some of the light entering a lens. The mask may have a cut-out shape (a keyhole or heart-shape, for example) or may block half of the image frame to facilitate a double-exposure. (2) Opaque frame used to hold down the edges of photographic paper when making a print. Since the margin area beneath the mask is not printed, the print will have a white border. MATRIX METER – An exposure meter that measures light in several areas of a scene and analyzes the measurements to determine proper exposure. Also called a “Multi-segment meter”. MB – Abbreviation for Megabyte (see Megabyte below). MEDIUM – Any space through which light passes.. MEGABYTE – A million bytes, abbreviated as MB, Mb and sometimes Mbyte. Technically and more precisely, it refers to 1,048,576 bytes. MEGAPIXEL – refers to a million pixels, and is used in describing the number of pixels that a digital device’s image sensor has. MEMORY ADAPTER – Another name for a Memory Card. MEMORY CARD – A removable device for storing images taken by a digital camera, sometimes also called a “Picture card.” MEMORY STICK – Sony’s removable, reusable image storage device that functions in a manner similar to a memory card. METERING – Using a light meter (exposure meter) to measure the amount of a light falling on or reflected from a scene. MICROPRISM COLLAR- Focusing aid in a viewfinder screen composed of small glass or plastic multiple prisms. An image that is in focus appears sharp and clear. An out-of-focus image has a broken-up, shimmery appearance. It’s called a collar because it is ring-shaped and encircles the center area of the lens (which may have a split-image screen in it) like a collar. MIDTONE – Area of an image or a scene that displays average tonal values. MIRROR LENS – Lens with an internal mirror or mirrors that are usually curved, enabling comparatively-light lenses that are shorter than similarly-designated long focus lenses. MIRROR LOCK or “Mirror Lock-up” – Found in a camera with the ability to keep its mirror in the up position to prevent vibration from mirror movement in a long exposure. Locking up the mirror may also permit certain specialty lenses to be attached that would otherwise come into contact with the mirror, and in some digital cameras, keeps the mirror out of the way when cleaning the image sensor. MODELING LIGHT – A tungsten light built into a studio flash that remains on while the flash is in standby mode, permitting the photographer to assess highlight and shadow areas that will be created when subsequently exposing the film or the digital sensor in the brighter light of the flash. The modeling light also provides enough light to permit focusing. MODEL RELEASE- A contract in which a model consents to the use of his or her images by the photographer or a third party. Sometimes referred to simply as a “release.” MONITOR CALIBRATION- Changing a monitor’s adjustment to accurately display colors MONOCHROME- An image of a single color in differing shades. A black and white or sepia-toned image is a monochrome. MONOPOD- A single-leg camera support that functions like a tripod. Also called a “Unipod.” MONTAGE- (1) Combining elements from various sources, such as parts of different photographs, in a single photographic composition. (2) An image produced by this technique. MOTOR DRIVE – Camera accessory (either built in or attached as a separate unit to some cameras) that automatically advances the film when an image has been taken and continues to recock and fire the shutter continuously, taking a rapid sequence of exposures at a predetermined rate of frames per second. A motor drive usually also rewinds the film when the roll has been completely-exposed. MOUNT – Frame or backing used to support and protect prints and transparencies. A transparency is called a “slide” once it is in a mount. MULTIFOCUS or MULTI-SPOT FOCUS – A camera’s ability to focus on objects in different areas (spots) within an image frame. MULTIPLE FLASH- Simultaneous use of more than one flash unit. MULTIPLICITY PHOTOGRAPHY- Similar to Multiple Exposure photography. An individual subject (typically a person or a pet) is photographed a number of times in different poses. Then the subject’s images are copied using the clone tool in a digital editing program such as Adobe PhotoShop and pasted into a single image so that the subject appears more than once in the same scene. MULTI-SEGMENT METER- See “Matrix meter” above.


NARROW LIGHTING- Also called “short lighting,” narrow lighting is arrived at when the main light completely illuminates only the side of the subject’s face that is turned away from the camera. NEF- Nikon Electronic Format. Nikon’s proprietary RAW image file format, sometimes shown as NEF (Raw). ND Neutral Density. Usually applies on filter, filtration that can effectively reduce the amount of light passes to the film. In some filters, half ND filters can be very effective to lower the contrast, esp the sky to achieve more balance effect. Lens like reflex lenses, where its aperture is fixed, ND filter can be the only way to play around with exposures. Certain 617 format is providing with a central ND filter. NEUTRAL TEST CARD- Also known as the “Gray card” or a “Kodak neutral test card,” this is an 8″ X 10″ (20 cm by 25.5 cm) card, about 1/8″ thick, that is uniformly gray on one side. The gray side reflects precisely 18% of the white light that strikes it (corresponding to the calibration of a reflected-light meter). It is uniformly white on the other side, which reflects 90% of the light. NICD or NICAD Nikel Cadmium. Used as the backbone of most rechargeable batteries. Though not so lasting as alkaline, but have a better resistance to cold than alkaline. When the batteries power is drained out, it will turn “flat” right away (advisable to have spare batteries). Most high speed motor drive handles best when using Nicd batteries. NIMH Nickel metal hydride. A new generation Nicd batteries, the Nikon highest speed 8 fps is achieved using this type of batteries. NODAL POINT- Optical center of a lens.. NOISE or ELECTRONIC NOISE. – This is the grainy look you find in a digital image caused by image artifacts. It may also appear as flecks of color that should not be there. It is usually noticeable in shadow areas, and generally produced when shooting in low light. Noise is almost always unwanted and unattractive. NOISE REDUCTION – In some cameras, noise reduction can be activated or switches on automatically at slow shutter speeds. Note that noise reduction often requires more time for the photo to be written to the memory card, during which you will be unable to take a picture. NON-LENS SPOTLIGHT – A light with variable field and beam angles obtained by changing the spacing between the bulb and reflector. NORMAL LENS A lens that makes the image in a photograph appear in perspective similar to that of the original scene (approximately 45°). A normal lens has a shorter focal length and a wider field of view than a telephoto lens, and a longer focal length and narrower field of view than a wide-angle lens. Normal lenses corresponding to that portion of human vision in which we can discern sharp detail; technically defined as a lens whose focal length is approximately equal to the diagonal of the film frame; in 35mm photography, the diagonal measures 43mm, but in practice, lenses with focal lengths from 50mm to 60mm are considered normal. NTSC National Television Standards Committee. Standards for video broadcasting and recording in the US and Japan. PAL’s the standard in Great Britain and the commonwealth countries. SECAM used in many countries in the European communities.


OBJECTIVE- An objective (or object lens, object glass, objective lens or photographic objective) is an optical system or device containing a combination of lenses that receive light rays from an object and form an image on the focal plane. A photographic lens is an objective. OCCLUDE – To block the passage of, as in “to occlude light.”. OPACITY – (1) State or quality of being opaque. (2) The degree to which a substance is or may be opaque. OPAQUE – (1) Does not transmit light. OPAQUE BODIES- Objects that permit no light to pass through them, but reflect light. OPEN UP- Increase aperture size or reduce shutter speed to permit more light to reach the image sensor. OPTICAL GLASS – High-quality, color-free glass having specific refractive qualities, used in lenses and other components of optical systems. OPTICAL ZOOM- A true zoom effect unlike a digital camera’s digital zoom. Optical zoom changes the focal length of a lens. OPTICS – The branch of physical science that deals with the properties and phenomena of both visible and invisible light and with vision. ORTHOCHROMATIC or “Ortho” – (1) Representing correctly the relations of colors as found in a photographic subject. OVER-EXPOSE – Expose a digital image sensor to more than light than is necessary for proper exposure. OVEREXPOSURE – Overexposure occurs when a photograph receives too much light. It results in a loss of resolution (very fine detail), more graininess and less detail in highlight areas. An overexposed slide or over-exposure with a digital camera displays very light density. Intentional over-exposure or underexposure is known as increasing or decreasing exposure.


P&S - Point and shoot (See “point and shoot” below.) PAINTING WITH LIGHT- Occurs when the photographer incrementally lights an otherwise darkened scene using a hand held flashlight or other small light source while the shutter remains open during a time exposure. The light is added to the scene in the manner of an artist using a “paintbrush of light”. PANNING- Technique that involves taking a picture while moving the camera at a relatively slow shutter speed. It is almost always used when tracking a moving object, such as a race car, as it travels across the film plane. When properly carried out, the object is rendered relatively sharply while its surroundings are blurred. PANORAMA- (1) An extended, wide view or pictorial representation of a landscape or other scene. (2) A camera mode that produces a proportionately wider or taller than normal image, depending on the camera’s orientation. PANORAMIC CAMERA- Camera with a lens that rotates to scan a scene, all the while projecting the image onto an abnormally wide film frame. The broad sweep of the rotating lens records the scene without distortion, and is very useful for photographing expansive landscape scenes and large groups of people. PAPARAZZO- A photographer who shoots candid, surreptitious or surprise shots, but not posed pictures, of celebrities and their families, often for publication in tabloids and magazines about the famous. The name derives from a photographer character in Federico Fellini’s film, La Dolce Vita, and is attributed to a hotel keeper in Catanzaro, Italy, named Coriolano Paparazzo, whom Fellini met. Many paparazzi are obnoxiously aggressive in their pursuit of movie stars and other celebrities, seeking to take pictures that show them in unflattering, embarrassing situations. (Originally known as a “street photographer”.) PAPARAZZI– The plural of paparrazo. PARALLAX – The difference between what is seen through the viewfinder and what the camera records on its digital image sensor, caused by the viewfinder being separate from the camera lens. PARALLAX ERROR – Also known as “Parallax effect” – the viewfinder camera’s main disadvantage, making it almost useless for careful composition of close-up subjects. The scene viewed by the photographer through the camera’s viewing frame is different from the scene the lens will capture because the viewing frame is offset from the lens. PARALLEL LIGHT RAYS- Light rays that proceed equally distant from each other through their whole course. PCX – A digital image format that has been around for a while, and has a number of variations. Created by ZSoft for PC Paintbrush, it is similar to the BMP file type, so that most image-editing software supports it. It is mainly used on Windows-based computers, but its simplicity makes it compatible with Mac and Linus platforms as well. It has moderate lossless file compression capabilities. PDF- (Portable Document Format) – an image file type created in Adobe PhotoShop that results in pictures that are viewable with Adobe Acrobat, so someone (Mac or PC-user) who doesn’t have PhotoShop can still view the image. It is often used in forms creation and for documents that require their layout, fonts and images to appear unchanged from the original. PENTAPRISM – Five-sided prism in SLR cameras that renders a correctly-oriented view of the focusing screen.. PERSPECTIVE- Technique of depicting volumes and spacial relationships (a scene in three-dimensions) on a flat surface (an image having two dimensions). PHOTIC- Of or pertaining to light. PHOTICS- The science of light. PHOTO – (1)Photograph; (2) Greek for “light” PHOTOBOMB- A photograph containing a person whom the photographer did not want in it. PHOTOFINISHING- The act of developing prints made from digital image files. PHOTOFLOOD LAMP is an incandescent light source using a tungsten filament bulb set in a reflector. PHOTOGENIC – Being an attractive subject for photography, or looking good in a photograph. PHOTOGRAMMETRY – Process of making surveys and maps using photographs. PHOTOGRAPH – (1) A picture produced by photography. (2) To take a photograph. PHOTOGRAPHER – Someone who takes photographs, especially as a profession. It could be said that a good photographer is a combination of an artist, craftsman and scientist, since knowledge and skills from all three professions play a part in good photography. PHOTOGRAPHER’S LIGHT- Sunlight is usually warmer and more complimentary to skin tones an hour or less before the sun goes down and around fifteen minutes after the sun has set. This quality of light is sometimes referred to as Photographer’s light. The angle of the light at this time, which is known as the “Golden hour,” can provide depth to portraits and landscape photography. PHOTOGRAPHIC- Of or pertaining to photography. PHOTOGRAPHY- The process or art of producing images of objects on a photosensitive surface such as an electronic sensor by the chemical action of light. The word “photography” derives from the Greek and means, literally, “light writing.” PHOTOMICROGRAPH- A photograph taken through a microscope. PHOTOMONTAGE- Another name for a composite photograph, which is made by combining pictures from different sources into a single image. PHOTOSITE- A tiny, light-sensitive electrode on the sensor of a digital camera that records one pixel of an image. PHOTO SLAVE- Also called a “slave unit.” A light-sensitive triggering device that is built in or attached to an electronic flash unit, causing the flash to fire simultaneously with another flash unit. PICT- An image file type used mainly to transfer images between programs on a Mac computer, but it is also supported by several PC applications. PICT has been largely replaced by PDF. PICTURE CARD – A removable device for storing images taken by a digital camera, more often referred to as a “Memory card.” PINCUSHION DISTORTION- A type of lens distortion that occurs when the edges of a photograph bend inward. It is most easily noticeable when straight lines in a scene are distorted towards the center of a picture of the scene. PIXEL- Abbreviation for “picture element”, a pixel is a small square of colored light that forms a digital image. It is the smallest unit in a digital image. Think of a pixel as a single small tile in a large mosaic. PIXELATION or PIXELIZATION- Occurs when the pixels in an image are visible. The effect can be seen when a small image file is grossly enlarged beyond the number of pixels needed for a sharp image. PLANE- A plane is a flat, two-dimensional surface. When used as in “film plane,” it refers to the flat surface of film, as opposed to the edge or end of film. It can also refer to the part of a camera where the frame of a film to be exposed is located. PLATINOTYPE- (1) The process of photographic printing on papers coated with platinum-based materials. (2) A print made by such a process. PNG- Pronounced “ping,” stands for “Portable Network Graphic” format. It is characterized by its ability to compress image files without a big quality reduction. PNG was developed to replace GIF and JPEG formats on the internet, but it doesn’t appear to have caught on to any great extent. POINT AND SHOOT- Also referred to as P&S, Compact cameras and Consumer cameras. Simple, automatic cameras generally associated with amateur photographers that permit the taking of a picture by simply aiming it at a subject and pressing the shutter release button. Pictures taken by P&S cameras are referred to as snapshots. POLARIZING FILTER- A polarizing filter (“Polarizer” or “Polarizing screen“) is an adjustable filter, with an inner ring that screws onto the lens and an outer ring that can be rotated. Turning the outer ring reduces or increases the filter’s effectiveness. The polarizer absorbs glare, reducing or eliminating reflections and darkening blue skies. It works by transmitting light that travels in one plane while absorbing light that travels in opposing planes. PORTRAIT- A picture of a person or persons that captures their likeness, especially their face. (See Portrait photography.) PORTFOLIO- A collection of selected photographs intended to illustrate a photographer’s style and range of photography, or in the case of a model’s portfolio, a collection of photographs and/or tearsheets that demonstrate his or her modeling abilities and experience. POSE- The position assumed by a subject in relation to the camera, including the angling and placement of head, hands, feet, etc. POSING- Positioning of a subject in relation to the camera. Posing is generally controlled by the photographer, and sometimes by a skilled model. POSITIVE- Opposite of a negative – An image, such as print or a slide, with the same tonal values and colors as the original scene POSTERIZATION- occurs when a gradual or smooth tonal transition in an image appears or is made to appear as an abrupt change from one tone to another. Digitally, it can be achieved by limiting the number of colors in an image so that the change from one tone to another is sudden, rather than continuous and gradual. Posterization can be noticed, for example, in an image that has a relatively large area of color that appears banded where the tonal changes should instead appear to be gradual. PPI – Pixels per inch, a measure of resolution. PREFOCUS- The act of focusing a lens before taking a picture. Cameras equipped with autofocus can usually be pre-focused by halfway depressing the shutter release button, which will also generally activate the exposure meter to take a reading. PRESETS- A digital camera’s settings that have already been programmed, based on specific color temperatures, to achieve proper or close-to-proper white balance under specific lighting conditions. Typically, these might include settings for shooting under daylight with options for overcast or cloudy lighting, sunrise and sunset, bright sun or shade, fluorescent and tungsten lighting. PREVIEW BUTTON- Many cameras are equipped with a depth of field preview button that, when pressed and held in, stops the lens down to the preselected aperture, allowing you to see how much foreground or background are in focus. PRIME LENS- A fixed focal length (FFL) lens, as opposed to a zoom lens, which has a variable focal length (VFL). A prime lens generally has better optical quality and a larger maximum aperture. PRINT- A photographic image printed on paper, generally a positive image made from a negative or from a digital image file. (Also refers to a photograph of a model that appears in print – in a newspaper or magazine, for example.) PRO-AM- From Professional and Amateur, this is another term for Prosumer (See below). PROCESSING- Producing an image (either negative or positive) from exposed film or photographic paper by developing, fixing and washing it. PROGRAM EXPOSURE- A camera mode that automatically determines aperture and shutter speed for proper exposure. PROJECTED FRAME- (Also known as “Viewfinder” or simply “Finder.”) A viewing device on a camera used by the photographer to see the field of view taken in by the camera’s lens and the portion of the view that will be recorded on film or the image sensor. PROOF- A sample image intended to be used for the purpose of selecting a final image. Proof prints are often stamped with the word “proof” on the face of the image to identify them as proofs and sometimes to prevent their being used in place of a final image. Digital image files may also be considered as proofs when they contain a watermark to prevent them from being used as a final picture. PROSUMER- Initially, Prosumer was a marketing term used for a camera that was intended to appeal to either an amateur (consumer) or a professional photographer. Now, it has come to mean a camera with features that will appeal to photographers who have advanced beyond beginner or amateur, but are not professionals. Sometimes called a Pro-Am camera. One type of prosumer camera is the ZLR or Zoom reflex camera. PSD- (PhotoShop Document) is an image file type created in Adobe PhotoShop. It is uncompressed and contains data on editing that is done to the image. A PSD file is essentially PhotoShop’s version of a TIFF file. It lets you save a picture you are working on with its layers, channels and other image-editing data intact. PSD files must be converted to another image file type before use.


QUANTUM OPTICS” to “Quasi-fish-eye lens”


RANGE-FINDER Instrument for measuring distances from a given point, usually based on slightly separated views of the scene provided by mirrors or prisms. May be built into non-reflex cameras. Single-lens reflexes may have prismatic range-finders built into their focusing screens. The Leica and the Contax G2 still keep the flag up in this areas. RAW- Sometimes called camera raw, raw format, raw image format and raw. A digital image storage format that contains the most information possible from a camera’s sensor. RAW data ( a RAW image file) is unprocessed. Some folks consider it to be the digital equivalent of a negative or a slide. RAY- A line of light. RC- Resin-coated. READY LIGHT- A small light on a flash unit that indicates whether there is adequate power to fire the flash. REAR-CURTAIN SYNC: Flash fires an instant before the second (rear) curtain of the focal plane shutter begins to move. When slow shutter speeds are used, this feature can create a blur effect from the ambient light, i.e., a flowing- light patterns following a moving subject with subject movement frozen at the end of the light flow. (See “Front-Curtain Sync”.) Most mid range and top flight auto camera models have this feature. RECIPROCITY FAILURE- When a film’s speed cannot be relied upon for proper exposure at slow shutter speed,reciprocity failure (or the “Reciprocity effect”) is said to occur. Additional exposure is required in order to achieve proper exposure for that film, even though your light meter may say differently. The additional problem of a shift in color balance that occurs with reciprocity failure can be more troublesome. RECIPROCITY LAW- Aperture and shutter speed have a reciprocal relationship in making an exposure. Various different combinations of the two will produce the same exposure. The reciprocity law therefore means that an exposure provided by ƒ8 and 1/250 sec will gave the same results as ƒ11 and 1/125 sec., or ƒ16 and 1/60 sec., and so on. If one choice of settings provides proper exposure, then the others will as well. The reciprocity law states that Exposure = Intensity X Time. “Intensity” is the amount of light, and “Time” refers to how long that amount of light is allowed to act on the sensor. RECYCLING TIME- Amount of time for a flash to recharge once fired. RED EYE- An image in which a subject’s iris or irises are red instead of black. The red eye effect is caused by light from a flash traveling through the iris and illuminating the retina at the interior back of the eye–– which is red in color due to its blood vessels –– and the camera capturing that redness on a digital camera’s sensor. RED EYE REDUCTION- A feature of some cameras or flash units that is meant to reduce the effect of red eye by emitting a short initial flash or multiple bursts of light immediately before the picture is taken. The intended result is a forced reduction in the size of the subject’s iris. REFLECTED LIGHT RAYS – Those which are thrown off from an object. REFLECTED LIGHT READING- An exposure meter reading of light reflected by a subject. The exposure meters in most cameras are reflected light meters. REFLECTOR- Material used to reflect light onto a subject. A flash reflector is a shiny surface situated behind the flash tube that reflects light in a specific direction. REFLEX CAMERA- A camera that has a mirror directly in the path of light traveling through the lens that reflects the scene to a viewing screen. REFRACTION-Refraction is a change of direction of a ray of light. Light that is traveling in a straight line alters course- bends – when it strikes light-transmitting substances such as glass or clear plastic at any angle other than perpendicular. REFRACTIVE INDEX A technical term used to describe the effect of a lens in causing light rays to bend; important aspect in lens design. RELATIVE APERTURE. Numerical expression of effective aperture, also known as f-number. Obtained by dividing focal length by diameter of effective aperture. RELEASE- Refers to a Model Release – a contract in which a model consents to the use of his or her images by the photographer or a third party. RELEASE-PRIORITY :For autofocus, shutter can be released anytime (i.e., even when subject is not in focus). Helps you avoid missed opportunities when you are not concerned with absolute focusing precision, terms apply primarily for Nikon. REMBRANDT LIGHTING- In the photography studio, Rembrandt lighting combines a variation of butterfly lighting with short lighting. REPRODUCTION RATIO Term used in macrophotography to indicate the magnification of a subject; specifically the size of the imag recorded on film divided by the actual size of the subject; for example, if the image on film is the same size as the subject, the reproduction ratio is written as 1:1 or 1X RESIN COATED PAPER -Paper that has a water repellent base and is used for making photographic prints. RESAMPLING – Occurs when an image editing program is used to change an image’s size. Increasing an image’s size requires the addition of new pixels and decreasing size removes pixels. RESOLUTION- (1) Fine detail in an image. (2) Also means “Resolving power.” It refers to the number of pixels that fit into a given area, commonly measured in digital photography as pixels per inch (ppi). RESOLVING POWER- Ability of film or a digital camera’s sensor, the lens or both together to reproduce fine detail. RETICULATION- Occurs during processing when the emulsion becomes cracked or distorted. The cause is usually exaggerated temperature variance or differences in chemical activity between solutions. RETOUCH – To manually alter the appearance of a digital image file or a negative, slide or print using non-photographic methods, such as air-brushing, with the intention of improving the image’s appearance. RETROFOCUS DESIGN In a retrofocus design, which is advantageously applied to wide angle lenses, the back focus is designed longer than the lens’ focal length to allow clearance for the movement of the reflex-mirror (No Mirror Lock up or separate viewing accessory attachment is required). It consists of front diverging apd rear converging lens groups, as opposed to the telephoto design, and is therefore also called the inverted telephoto design. RGB- An acronym for the primary colors of light, Red, Green and Blue, used to produce all other colors. RIM LIGHTING- Occurs when the main light is placed behind the subject so that the subject’s face is completely in shadow, but there is a rim of light around the subject’s head, like the corona in a full eclipse. RING FLASH – A circular-shaped electronic flash unit that fits around a lens and provides shadowless, uniform frontal lighting, especially useful in closeup photography. RULE OF THIRDS – The rule of thirds is a design principle based on a photographer/artist visualizing both the vertical and horizontal division of a composition into thirds, and then placing the subject where the lines intersect. RTS Contax’s term for Real time system.


SANDWICHING- Combining two (or more) negatives or slides for simultaneous printing or viewing. SATURATION- The degree of hue (intensity) in color in an image. Saturated color can be termed strong, vivid, intense or deep. Desaturated color can be termed weak, pale, washed out or dull. An over-saturated image’s colors are too intense. SCALE- (1) The relative size of an object. (2) A set of marks to indicate distances at which a lens is focused, often engraved near the focusing ring on a lens. SCANNER- Electronic device that captures an impression of an object (commonly a photographic print or other flat document) and converts it into a digital image which can be edited and saved on a computer. SEGMENTED- See “Stitch” below. SELECTIVE FOCUS- Employing shallow depth of field through the use of a wide aperture so that the subject is isolated from its surroundings because the surroundings are not in focus. SELFIE or SELFY- A photographic self portrait usually taken at arm’s length, or one’s own reflection photographed in a mirror. Selfies are commonly taken by teen-aged girls. SELF-TIMER – Mechanism that can be set to automatically release the shutter following a timed delay, usually covering a delay range of up to 10 seconds. Its principal use occurs when the photographer wishes to be included in the picture, but it is also useful in avoiding camera movement or vibration during time exposures.(Also known as “Delayed action”) SENSITIZED- To be made photo-sensitive. Photo-sensitive paper for making prints has been “sensitized.” SENSITIVITY- The degree to which a digital camera reacts to light. SENSOR- Also called the “image sensor” or “imaging sensor.” A digital camera’s sensor records the scene being photographed in a similar manner to film in a traditional camera. Unlike film, the sensor does not store the image. It is stored on the digital camera’s media. SENSOR SPEED- A digital camera’s image sensor can be adjusted to compensate for different light levels to prevent underexposure, permitting you to take pictures in reduce light without flash, and overexposure in bright light. You are generally advised to select your camera’s lowest sensor speed that allows you to use the shutter speed and aperture setting needed for proper exposure of your subject. SET- A specific area in which objects and persons are photographed – generally in a photo studio – and comprised of a backdrop and props. SHADOW DETAIL- Detail that is visible in an image’s darker areas. SHARPENING- Increasing a digital picture’s apparent sharpness using an image-editing program. SHARPNESS- An image’s degree of clarity in terms of focus and contrast. SHOOT- As a verb, to “shoot” is to take a picture. As a noun, a “shoot” is a photography session. SHOOTING DISTANCE- The distance from the camera to the subject. SHORT LIGHTING- Also called “narrow lighting,”short lighting is arrived at when the main light completely illuminates only the side of the subject’s face that is turned away from the camera. SHUTTER- A movable cover for an opening. In photography, that opening is the lens – more specifically, the aperture. The shutter blocks the passage of light traveling through the lens to the film or image sensor when it is closed, and allows light to reach the film/ image sensor when it is open. Shutters are composed of blades, a curtain, a plate or another movable cover. They control the amount of time that light is allowed to pass through the opening to reach the image sensor. SHUTTER LAG- Using a digital camera, the delay that occurs between pressing the shutter release button and the actual moment the picture is taken. SHUTTER SPEED- The amount of time that a camera’s shutter remains open. Shutter speed controls the duration of an exposure – the faster the shutter speed, the shorter the exposure time. SHUTTER PRIORITY- An exposure mode (in a camera with automatic exposure control) that permits the photographer to preset shutter speed while the camera automatically determines the aperture setting required for proper exposure. SIDE LIGHTING- Light falling on a subject from the side relative to the camera position. SILHOUETTE- A dark image outlined against a lighter background. SIMPLE CAMERA- A camera operated with minimal adjustment by the photographer, such as a point-and-shoot. Simple cameras usually do not have to be focused, and have only a single aperture and one or a couple of shutter speeds. SINGLE LENS REFLEX- (SLR) A camera with one lens only for both viewing and picture-taking. The image is reflected onto a viewing screen by a movable mirror in the camera. The mirror flips out of the way just before the shutter opens, permitting light to strike the film or digital camera’s image sensor. SKYLIGHT FILTER- a UV filter with a pale rose tinge to it to warm up images. Intended for use with daylight-type color slide films to reduce excess bluishness. SLAVE UNIT- A light-sensitive triggering device that is built in or attached to an electronic flash unit, causing the flash to fire simultaneously with another flash unit. Also called a “photo slave.SLOW LENS-A lens with a relatively narrow maximum aperture -ƒ/8, for example. SLOW SYNC- A flash mode used with a slow shutter speed to take a picture that contains both blurred and sharp objects. For example, the shutter remains open to make a blurred exposure without flash of an object in motion and then the flash is activated to “freeze” the object. SLR- Abbreviation for Single Lens Reflex. SMARTMEDIA- Brand name for one type of digital camera’s re-usable memory card on which images taken by the camera are stored. SMEAR- White streaks from a powerful light source, such as reflected sunlight or the sun itself, that appear on an image captured by a digital camera’s CCD. SNAPSHOT- An informal photograph, especially one taken quickly by a simple, hand-held camera. SNOOT- A shield fitted to a lamp used to direct a concentrated beam of light onto a scene. SOFT FOCUS- A soft look achieved by bending some of the light from the subject so it is De-focused while the rest remains in focus. Highlights are actually dispersed onto adjacent areas. The image still looks properly-focused overall, but its components are just enough out-of-focus that they are softened. Lines are slightly fuzzy and small details seem to disappear. SOFT LIGHTING- Low contrast illumination. SPEC SHOT- A photograph taken on “speculation” that a photographer hopes will be sold on its own merits. SPECULAR HIGHLIGHTS- Bright light spots reflected from a shiny surface or an object’s edges. SPEED- A measure of the sensitivity to light employed in a digital camera. SPLIT LIGHTING- In a studio, the main light is placed so that it completely illuminates one side of the face while leaving the other side in shadow. It’s a true lighting split – half light, half-dark. SPLIT NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTER- Another name for a gradated neutral density filter. SPOT METER- A type of exposure meter with an acceptance angle of 1 degree or less used to obtain reflected light readings of a small area of a scene. SPOTTING- Retouching of a photographic print using a brush with watercolors or dyes, or a pencil, to get rid of blemishes caused by dust or scratches on a negative. SST-Super Spectra Coating- Canon’s multi-layer coating applied to most of its FD lenses. STATS- A model’s statistical information – his or her measurements, size, height, etc. STEP-UP RING- An adapter that is affixed to a lens or filter of one thread size permitting it to be attached as if it had another thread size. STITCH- To join together one or more pictures, usually to make a panorama. A “stitched” or “segmented” image involves taking two or more photographs of a scene from the same camera position, with the camera rotating on a single axis and with each image (segment) partially over-lapping another so they can be joined together (“stitched”) on your computer using image-processing software, resulting in a single extra-wide or extra-tall picture. STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY- Images that are not photographed for a specific client or use, but are cataloged for review and selection by someone who may have a use for the image. You earn for every image sold. The stock agency also gets a percentage. STOP- (1)As a noun, a stop is a single aperture setting or shutter speed setting. A “one stop” change in exposure is achieved by changing either the aperture or the shutter speed to the next incremental setting – i.e. doubling or halving the shutter speed or aperture value. (A shutter speed of 1/125 sec is a one stop change from 1/250 sec. An aperture of f/5.6 is a one stop change from f/8.) (2) As a verb, to “stop down” is to decrease exposure by reducing the size of the aperture or increasing shutter speed – e.g. a light meter reading may indicate that you should stop down by three stops for proper exposure. STOPPING DOWN- Reducing aperture size – for example, from ƒ/16 to ƒ/22. STREET PHOTOGRAPHER- The original name for a paparazzo before the name “paparazzo” came into use. STROBE- Although commonly-used to describe an electronic flash unit, especially one used in a studio, a strobe (short for “stroboscope” or “stroboscopic lamp”) actually refers to an intermittently-flashing, extremely-short duration, bright light source. STUDIO- A room specially equipped for photography. STYLIST- (1) In photography of people, a stylist selects and coordinates garments and accessories to be worn by the subject. (2) In food photography, a stylist prepares the food, designs the setting and arranges it for the photographer. SUBJECT- (1) The principal object (person, animal, thing) in a photograph or being photographed. (2) A theme or topic in photography. (3) The most essential object in a photograph, without which the photograph’s purpose or meaning would be unclear. SUBORDINATE OBJECT- In a picture, an object where there is more than one object, that is given the least visual weight or importance, often appearing in the background, but not necessarily. It may also be less sharply-focused, smaller, darker or brighter, or otherwise subordinate to other objects in the image. SUPER SPECTRA COATING or SST- Canon’s multi-layer coating applied to most of its FD lenses. SURVEILLANCE PHOTOGRAPHY- Also referred to as clandestine photography, surveillance photography is the photographing in secrecy of a person, object, activity or location. SYNCHRONIZED FLASH- Flash that is coordinated with shutter speed such that the shutter is fully open when the flash illuminates the scene being photographed. SYNCH CORD- Also “sync cord.” An electrical cord connecting a camera to an electronic flash unit to permit synchronized flash.


T- (which stands for “Time) – Shutter speed setting used for time exposures. The shutter opens when the release is pressed and closes when it is pressed again. T&E- Trial and error. TEARSHEET- A copy of a published page (magazine or newspaper) in which a model’s picture appears. Tearsheets are generally included in a model’s portfolio as evidence of work the model has done. TECHNICAL CAMERA- Precision view camera made of metal. TELE-CONVERTER – a lens mounted between a camera body and a lens (usually a telephoto lens) to increase the effective focal length of the lens. Also referred to as a “tele-extender”. Different tele-converters have different magnifying powers, ranging from 1.4 times to 3 times the lens’s normal magnification (1.4X to 3X). The effect is to increase the lens’s focal length by the degree of magnification, so a 3X tele-converter used on a 50mm lens triples the image size by tripling the effective focal length to the equivalent of a 150mm lens. The disadvantages of using a tele-converter are light loss and, generally, reduced image quality. TELEPHOTO LENS – A lens with a narrow angle of view, a longer-than-normal focal length, the ability to magnify images, and exhibiting relatively shallow depth of field. Examples of 35 mm camera telephoto lenses include 85 mm, 400 mm and 600 mm lenses, to name a few. TEST SHOTS-Photographs of a model who poses for them for free or at low cost in order to build a beginning portfolio. TEXTURE – The visual and tactile quality of the surface of an object, revealed in a photograph by variances in tone, depth and shape. Lighting has the most influence over how well texture is captured in an image. TFP- “Trade For Prints” or “Trade For Pictures” – an arrangement between a model and a photographer where the model receives photographs in lieu of a modeling fee. THROUGH-THE-LENS- Commonly abbreviated as “TTL”. Refers to both exposure metering of the light passing through the lens (Through-the-lens metering, and TTL flash metering) and viewing a scene through the same lens that allows light to reach the sensor  (Through-the-lens focusing). TIFF – Tagged Image File Format- A standard digital image format for bitmapped graphics in an uncompressed state. The image files are much larger than compressed files, but can be opened in all image-processing programs. TIME EXPOSURE- An exposure with a duration of several seconds or longer, the timing of which is measured by the photographer. TIME LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY- Taking a series of pictures of the same basic scene at regular, timed intervals from the same viewpoint. TINT – (1) Gradation or variety of a color or hue. (2) A color diluted with white. (3) Varying shades of white in a photographic print, from white to buff as determined by the color of the paper. TONAL RANGE- The range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image. Also known as Dynamic Range. A picture containing very bright areas and very dark areas has a “wide” tonal range. In a black and white image, tonal range refers to the various shades of gray between solid black and absolute white. TONE- also known as “Value” – The degree of lightness or darkness, or color variation from cold tones (blues) to warm tones (reds), in an area of a print, whether a color print or a black-and-white print. TONING- Altering the tone of a print, generally by intensification. “Toners” are the solutions used to produce different color shades. TRANSLUCENT BODIES – Objects that permit light to pass faintly through them, but without representing the figure of objects seen through them. TRANSPARENT BODIES- Objects that permit rays of light to pass through them. TRANSPARENT MAGNETIC LAYER – Thin layer of magnetic particles coating the surface of APS (Advanced Photo System) film that records information such as the picture size selected by the photographer and processing data. IX (Information Exchange) technology allows photofinishing equipment to read these instructions on the film and make processing and printing adjustments for the best results from different lighting and exposure conditions. TRIPOD- A pole on a base of three legs to which a camera can be attached, providing support that eliminates or reduces camera movement, useful for sharp images when using slow shutter speeds or to show blur from a moving subject. The height of the pole and of the individual legs can usually be adjusted. Various models have different characteristics. TTL- Abbreviation for “through-the-lens”. A camera that permits you to look through the same lens used to focus the image onto the digital sensor or film has a TTL viewfinder. TTL METER- A light meter that measures light traveling through the lens. TUNGSTEN LIGHT- In photography, tungsten light is a generic reference to standard, artificial room lighting (the light from normal household bulbs, for example, but not fluorescent lamps.) Tungsten light is produced by an incandescent electric lamp in which the filament is made of tungsten, a rare, metallic element having a high melting point. TWIN LENS REFLEX- (TLR) A camera having two separate lenses of the same focal length – one for viewing and focusing; the other for exposing image sensor. The lenses are mechanically-coupled so that both are focused at the same time


ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION- (UV) – Ultraviolet light is invisible to the human eye, but can be seen by bees and butterflies. ULTRA-WIDE ANGLE LENS- An extra-wide angle lens. Generally refers to 35mm camera lenses with focal lengths shorter than 24 mm. UMBRELLA- A lighting accessory that resembles a rain umbrella, used to soften illumination by bouncing or diffusing the light. UNDEREXPOSURE- An image is underexposed when the film or image sensor receives too little light for proper exposure. Underexposure results in loss of detail in the subject’s dark areas, which can be almost completely black and featureless. UNIPOD- A “Monopod,” a single-legged camera support that functions in a manner similar to a tripod. UNSHARP MASK- In digital image-editing software, this is a tool that permits you to incrementally increase sharpness in an image. It differs from the Sharpen tool in that it allows you to control the degree of sharpening, helpful in avoiding over-doing it. UPLOAD – Transfer files from a computer’s hard drive to another storage device, including an internet web site’s server. “Upload” can be said to be the opposite or the reverse action of “download.” UPSAMPLE – Enlarging a digital image by interpolation. URBAN LANDSCAPE- A photograph of a city taken in the manner of a landscape photograph, using buildings and other man-made features as graphical elements of composition that are treated in the same way the photographer would treat mountains and trees UV FILTER- a clear, neutral filter that absorbs ultraviolet radiation, with no effect on visible colors. The skylight filter is a UV filter with a pale rose tinge to it.


VARIABLE FOCUS LENS- A zoom lens – one in which focal length is variable. Elements inside a variable focus lens shift their positions, enabling the lens to change its focal length – in effect, providing one lens that has many focal lengths. VIBRATION REDUCTION- often referred to as “VR” – An image stabilization feature in Nikon lenses that minimizes the effect of camera shake at slow shutter speeds, helping to prevent image blur. VIEW CAMERA – A large format camera – a term that applies to cameras that produce an individual image size of 5″ X 4″ or larger. It is most often found in a studio, and is sometimes even called a “studio camera,” although the view camera can be transported and set up in the field. VIEWFINDER. Device or system indicating the field of view encompassed by the camera lens. The term is sometimes used as a description of the type of camera that does not use reflex or “straight-through” viewing systems and therefore has to have a separate viewfinder. VIEWFINDER CAMERA – Camera with a viewfinder that is separate from the lens used in taking the picture. A simple point-and-shoot disposable camera is an example of a viewfinder camera, but not all viewfinder cameras are simple. VIEWPOINT – Location of the camera relative to the subject. VIGNETTE MASK – A special effects mask in front of the camera’s lens that blocks the light around the scene’s margins, producing a vignetted picture. VIGNETTING Underexposure of image corners produced deliberately by shading or unintentionally by inappropriate equipment, such as unsuitable lens hood or badly designed lens. A common fault of wide-angle lenses, owing to reflection cut-off, etc. of some of the very oblique rays. May be caused in some long-focus lenses by the length of the lens barrel.


WAVELENGTH – The distance from peak to peak in a light wave that determines the color of the light. WHITE BALANCE – A digital camera analyzes a scene using its white balance mode to determine areas that should be recorded as pure white. The camera adjusts the overall scene’s color balance so that the areas meant to be reproduced as white in the picture will be white, thereby also adjusting all the other colors in the scene using the same color shift values, so that all color is accurately represented. A digital photographer can usually set the white balance to suit the light falling on the subject. Some cameras will automatically set white balance. WIDE-ANGLE LENS – A lens with an angle of view that is wider than that of a normal lens, or that of the human eye. A wide-angle lens has a focal length shorter than the focal length of a normal lens. The focal length of a wide-angle lens is less than the diagonal of the film format or the digital sensor


XD CARDS This is a type of flash memory card that is used primarily in digital cameras. The technology was developed by Olympus and Fujifilm. xD cards range in storage space from 16MB to 2GB. Unfortunately, Olympus and Fuji are phasing out support for this media storage format in favor of SD and SDHC cards. XGA (image resolution) stands for Extended Graphics Array. This technology developed by IBM was a new video standard introduced in 1990, and is most commonly expressed in the consumer market at 1024×768 pixels of display resolution, making XGA a fairly versatile display format. XGA supports 65,000 colors with 8-bit color depth and allows for monitors to be non-interlaced X SETTING – Shutter speed setting at which flash synchronization occurs. For some manual cameras, the X setting designates the maximum shutter speed at which the camera synchronizes with flash. X-SYNC – Same as “X Setting”


YELLOW FILTER – The most-popular colored filter used with black and white film. Because a yellow filter absorbs blue (its complementary color), it provides significantly greater contrast between blue and yellow or white subjects. A yellow filter absorbs UV and is useful in reducing haze, particularly in aerial or mountain photography. YELLOW-GREEN FILTER – Highly-useful for landscapes photographed in black and white, the yellow-green (or yellowish-green, or yellow-greenish) filter only darkens blue skies, whitens clouds, and enhances green foliage. YELLOW-ORANGE FILTER – This filter has a stronger effect on skies than yellow filters, increasing darkness a great deal. It is also good for reducing blemishes and skin spots.


ZLR – Zoom lens reflex camera (see below) ZONE SYSTEM – A method introduced by photographer Ansel Adams for determining optimal exposure and appropriate development for an individual photograph. ZOOM – The action of varying the focal length of a zoom lens to enlarge (zoom in) or reduce (zoom out) the image. ZOOM LENS – A lens in which focal length is variable. Elements inside a zoom lens shift their positions, enabling the lens to change its focal length – in effect, providing one lens that has many fo cal lengths. (Also called a “Variable focus lens.”) ZOOM LENS REFLEX camera – Also known as a ZLR camera. A pro-sumer camera that has advanced features that are similar to an SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera, but has a permanently fixed zoom lens instead of the ability to interchange lenses. References