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Questions about specific terms used within photography

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

9
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the difference between depth of field and depth of focus?

Reading this answer I realized that I didn't know the difference between the two depths (of field and focus). Browsing related questions didn't reduce the blur (!) between the two... Wikipedia ...
17
votes
4answers
14k views

What are shutter actuations?

I was just reading the question How many actuations are "too many actuations"? and trying to figure out what a shutter "actuation" actually is. The only thing I can guess is that it's the number of ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Why don't comparisons of aperture take sensor size into account?

When one compares focal length, many times we use the 35mm equivalent length. A 50mm lens on an APS-C sensor camera(1.6x) would be a 80mm equiv. length on a full frame camera. But when we state the ...
26
votes
3answers
11k views

What does the number of elements and groups in a lens mean?

All lens specifications include a statement of how many elements the lens contains, and in how many groups, for example: Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-300 mm 1:4,5-5,6G: 17 elements in 12 groups (two ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What does it mean for light to be soft or hard?

I've heard of "soft lighting" and "hard lighting". What do these mean? How can I control how soft a light is?
11
votes
5answers
8k views

What is “infinity focus”?

I have been reading a bit about astrophotography and the term infinity focus keeps coming up. What is infinity focus and how do you set the camera to infinity focus?
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Where does the term “f-stop” come from?

Does anyone know the origins of the term?
10
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “viewfinder magnification” mean?

Viewfinders (both optical and electronic) typically come with two stats: magnification and coverage. The latter measuring how much of the actual exposed area (film or sensor) one sees. But what is ...
7
votes
3answers
806 views

What are ED elements?

I find that some lenses are indicated with the letters "ED", referring to some special type of lens element. What are ED elements, and what advantages do they bring? Note that this question isn't ...
19
votes
7answers
4k views

What makes a camera “professional” vs. amateur/hobbyist?

I will be attending a music festival (Lollapalooza) this weekend, and according to the site's FAQ page, attendees are not allowed to bring in "professional" recording equipment. From the site: ...
13
votes
6answers
908 views

Why is chimping a derogatory term?

Chimping - the act of reviewing the picture you just took on the camera's LCD, is used as a way to disparage shooters. I heard that chimping might refer to proudly showing off a shot after you taken ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

What is “pixel density”?

Apparently megapixels aren't a good way to measure the camera quality, so some people are referring to a relative measuring system called "pixel density". What specifically is this? What information ...
8
votes
2answers
14k views

What does the expression “V+F” (or “V&F”) mean on a photography web site?

I was reading comments on my photos posted at 500px.com (for example, at http://500px.com/photo/21988337 and http://500px.com/photo/21997241). Read a few comments that say V+F or V&F, what are ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What does it mean to shoot in flat colors?

I read somewhere that you should shoot in "flat colors" to make it easy to work in post-production. What does "flat" mean?
6
votes
1answer
305 views

What is Coating?

I see the word "Coating" in different questions (related to lenses and filters). What is Coating, Multi-Coating, and Nano-Coating? Update: For Coating Definition see Matt's answer For ...
5
votes
2answers
367 views

What is term for the opposite of “Dragging the Shutter”?

My first helpful experiments with flash started after taking a seminar with Scott Kelby on the subject. I don't recall him mentioning dragging the shutter (but he may have). But, I do recall him ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

What is “100% crop?”

I use the term "100% crop" to mean a portion of a picture that has been cropped but not resized, but I have also seen some confusion around that term. Is there an accepted definition for "100% ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

What does the acronym SLD stand for?

In this answer a reference was made to SLD cameras, also "called Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras". I realise that this is a synonym for "EVIL" cameras such as the micro-Four-Thirds cameras and ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the meaning of W and T on a camera's zoom buttons?

On every conventional digital camera (excluding the models with detachable lenses), there are buttons to zoom in and out with W side and T side. When you press W, the lens zooms out. The lens zooms ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between a Nikon “Micro” lens and a “Macro” lens?

When it comes to macro photography and Nikon, what is the difference between a Micro and a Macro [Nikkor] lens? Is the answer as simple as to say that Nikon uses Micro in its nomenclature for its ...
7
votes
1answer
307 views

What is Colour Rendering Index (CRI)?

From this answer on white balancing a LED light I understood there's a thing called Colour Rendering Index (CRI). I understand it has something to do with how well lights reproduce the sun's colour ...
6
votes
4answers
6k views

What does “long exposure” mean?

Very often, when people are talking about photography, they use the expression "long exposure". Here's a quote from a recent answer: A tripod and long exposure were required for this shot. Where ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

What's the difference between exposure and shutter speed?

Is there a difference between exposure and shutter speed, or are the terms interchangeable? I read that "If you use a quick shutter speed, you can just raise the exposure to compensate." Is this ...
4
votes
1answer
534 views

What is an auto-focus motor?

I recently bought a Canon 550D, and I read it has an auto-focus motor, which not all cameras possess. I'd like to know what it is, and what I can do to keep it running smoothly; AFAIK the manual ...
0
votes
2answers
12k views

What is the difference between DX format and FX format lenses, and which to choose for what purpose?

http://www.nikon.co.in/products.php?categoryid=1011 What is the difference between DX format and FX format lenses, and which to choose for what purpose? What are the pros and cons of both?
20
votes
4answers
2k views

What makes a DSLR camera “entry-level”?

When I look around the questions on this site, I feel everyone can clearly tell what makes a DSLR camera "entry-level". But I have no clue on how to tell. What makes a camera model "entry" level or ...
29
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does every digital camera save photos in a directory called DCIM?

It seems like every digital camera that I have ever used creates a folder called DCIM on its removable storage to save photographs into. Can anyone tell me what this name (DCIM) stands for (if ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

What's the difference between colour space and bit depth?

I know that there are different types of colour space and that sRGB is the most common. Bit depth defines the variations of a colour channel, where (I think) 8 and/or 16 bits are the most common. ...
9
votes
3answers
13k views

What is flat light and how to counter that?

I have often heard people saying that the light in the picture X is appearing "flat". I want to understand what exactly does that mean, and what are the possible ways to counter that?
12
votes
4answers
894 views

Why is sensor sensitivity called “ISO”?

I was curious to know how the term "ISO" was coined for referring the image sensor's sensitivity. Is there any reason or circumstance that contributed for terming "ISO"? Also, does ISO has a literal ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What exactly is “base ISO” and how do I find what is base ISO on my camera?

If I understood correctly, base ISO is in full stop steps from the lowest possible ISO setting on my camera. For example if the lowest setting on my camera is ISO 100, than the following table would ...
10
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the difference between a telephoto lens and a zoom lens?

Looking at the product page for Nikon lenses, I notice a distinction between telephoto lens and zoom lens. What is the difference between the two? Why would I want one over the other? I wiki'd ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

Are 2 megapixels enough for HD resolution pictures?

HD pictures has 1920x1080 = 2073600 pixels = 2025 kilopixel = 1.98 megapixel. Does this mean that we can take HD pictures with a 2 MP camera? If not, why not?
6
votes
3answers
201 views

Why is the amount of light a lens lets in called the 'lens speed'?

It seems very counter intuitive that the amount of light let in by a lens is referred to as the lens speed. This term confused me for a while because I couldn't logically see how a speed would be ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

How important is ISO speed?

My wifes Canon EOS 450D has various speed settings and an auto mode. The quickest one is 1600. She photographs mainly birds, both stationary and in flight and mainly still insects. What are the ...
7
votes
2answers
592 views

What's the difference between a wide angle lens and a landscape lens?

Question pretty much says it all. Seems like when I look around people are asking "what's the best wide angle lens for landscape?", but on sites like LensHero they categorize wide angle and landscape ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What is “solid angle” and how does it relate to photography?

So, I was hanging out in the chat room, and hear mention of something called "Solid Angle". What is this, and how can it be important?
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between a lambda print (RA-4) and a color inkjet print?

I can't seem to find any good information about the differences between the lambda printing process (on RA-4 paper, also known as a C-prints or chromogenic color prints) and inkjet printing (also ...
5
votes
1answer
268 views

Why would a photographer do focus stacking?

Recently, I come across the term called Focus Stacking where you combine different pictures with different focus points. My question is, why do the focus stacking? Are there any benefits from the ...
5
votes
1answer
492 views

How to figure out whether the colours in a photo are warm or cool, and how does that matter?

On 1x some people have said that this picture has warm colours. I wish to understand what qualifies to be a warm colour, cool colour, and how does that matter? Warm means bright? and Cool means ...
4
votes
2answers
392 views

What does the term “saturation luminance” mean in the definition of dynamic range?

The concept behind the dynamic range definition given by ISO 15739 is based on the ratio of the maximum luminance that receives a unique coded representation (the "saturation" luminance) to the lowest ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

What is Aliasing and Anti-Aliasing?

What is Aliasing and Anti-Aliasing? Is it a bad thing to have in an image? If so how to avoid it? If you can describe your answer using examples then that would be great.
12
votes
1answer
604 views

What's it called when two photographs are printed on triangles so you see a different one from different angles?

This is kinda hard to explain, but I've seen it several places before. I'm looking for a special way that two photographs are printed — they're printed so you from each angle can see just one of the ...
11
votes
4answers
880 views

What does 'Equivalent to 1.6x the focal length of the lens' mean?

In the specifications of Canon 550D, about the lens the following is mentioned LENS Lens Mount EF/EF-S Focal Length Equivalent to 1.6x the focal length of the lens Now this is really ...
10
votes
4answers
893 views

Do any other manufacturers other than Canon use the terms Av and Tv?

Canon uses "Av" (aperture variable) for the automatic exposure mode that entails the user choosing the aperture and the camera body choosing the shutter speed. This mode is called "A" by Nikon, and I ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

What is a “small” aperture?

It happens a lot. People refer to the aperture being small (or big!). By default does this imply a small opening of the iris (literal aperture), or a small f-value (how the aperture is measured, for ...
9
votes
1answer
560 views

What does it mean to “mount” slide film for processing?

I just finished my first roll of a 35mm slide film and it is time to get it processed. I checked few places online and the options are to get them processed "mounted" or "unmounted". So what do ...
6
votes
3answers
386 views

What does “DMC” mean?

I have seen "DMC" in many names of digital cameras. Is this an abbreviation? What does it mean? Some examples: Lumix DMC-TZ40 DMC-FZ200 DMC FT25
6
votes
7answers
790 views

How many pixels in a megapixel?

I am trying to find out the definition of a megapixel? Some references on the web place it at 1 million pixels, and other places say it is equal to 2^20 = 1,048,576 pixels.
6
votes
2answers
500 views

What is bracketing?

I have seen this term a lot and I was wondering what, in basic terms, what bracketing/autobracketing is. Also, why would one want to 'bracket'? P.S. - there are other questions asking what DoF and ...