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Questions about specific terms used within photography

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

12
votes
6answers
914 views

What makes “fine art” fine art?

I've always been shy to refer to any of my work as "fine art"... preferring instead to call it "still life". But I recently had an interesting conversation with an Art History major who said that my ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a parfocal lens and how beneficial is it to photography?

I heard someone say that after using a parfocal lens for the first time, they would never switch back. What is a parfocal lens, how is it different from any other lens, and what are the advantages and ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

What is a normal lens?

I've heard people call 50mm lenses "normal lenses". For a lens to be considered normal, does it have to be exactly 50mm or is there some leeway? Does the normal focal length depend on crop factor of ...
12
votes
3answers
445 views

What is Chromatic Aberration?

What is Chromatic Aberration? Is it a physical part of the lens, or just an optical illusion?
12
votes
1answer
388 views

What is lomography?

I've been seeing some buzz about lomography lately. I've been trying to understand what it is and how it is different from photography. Most refer to it as 'experimental analogue film photography'. Is ...
12
votes
1answer
514 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are effective pixels greater than the actual resolution?

This page compares Canon EOS 550D and Canon EOS 500D cameras and mentions 18.7 million effective pixels for 550D. However the best resolution possible using this camera is 5184 * 3456 = ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

What is color temperature and how does it affect my photography?

I have seen color temperature mentioned with regard to white balance, mixing different sources of light, etc., but I haven't come across a clear explanation of what it means to talk about the ...
11
votes
2answers
602 views

What does the term “sneaker zoom” mean?

I saw the term used when describing the Canon 85mm f/1.8. What do they mean?
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What is white or black “clipping”, and how does one avoid it?

I have been told that this photograph has "white clippings"? What are they, and which light sources should be placed in what way to avoid that?
11
votes
4answers
844 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
5answers
2k views

What is a portrait lens?

I hear this term used pretty often. Does it refer to a specific focal length? Or very low F-number? What does a lens need to have in order to be considered "portrait lens"?
11
votes
5answers
7k 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?
11
votes
4answers
810 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
768 views

What is “exposure safety shift”?

I ran into the term "exposure safety shift" in this answer. What is exposure safety shift, and what is its intended purpose?
11
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the difference between a soft and sharp image?

I have seen several questions talking about images being soft or sharp. What is the difference? Is soft simply the opposite of sharp in this context, or is there something more to it? Sample images ...
11
votes
2answers
860 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
842 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
991 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Lens “family” names - what do they mean and should I care?

Some lens manufacturers have special names for their lens designs/families. Just to name a few: Leica - Summar/Summarit/Summilux, Elmar/Elmarit, Noctilux Carl Zeiss - Planar, Tessar, Sonnar, ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What is EV, when used as an absoute measurement?

I know there is already a question about EV, but it doens't quite answer my question. I understand EV as a relative measurement, 1 EV being one stop (doubling or halving the amount of light), but what ...
10
votes
1answer
336 views

What is a “De-clicked” aperture control ring?

The Samyang 85mm T1.5 Cine Lens featured a "De-clicked" aperture control ring. What exactly is it?
10
votes
1answer
928 views

What is a focusing screen?

I've seen a couple other questions such as this one talk about focusing screens. What is a focusing screen? Where is it located?
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
631 views

What is sharpness vs. clarity in photo editing software?

I have been using Lightroom and Photoshop Pro for past 7 months. For all my photos, I used to increase the sharpness using the options available. I now see another option called clarity, and when I ...
10
votes
1answer
425 views

Is there a name for the type of portrait composition where the subject is looking out of the frame?

I'm wondering if there's a specific term to describe a portrait where the main subject is looking at something outside the frame that we (the viewer) can't see. I like it as a composition technique: I ...
10
votes
1answer
847 views

What is the difference between active and passive fill light?

What is the difference between an active and a passive fill light? I have an assignment that states to "use active or passive fill light" in a picture, but I need some clarification to understand what ...
10
votes
2answers
221 views

What is “photometric exposure”?

What is "photometric exposure," and how is it related to what is commonly called "exposure" and "exposure values"? I have also seen the term "radiometric exposure" used to describe a similar ...
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
4answers
5k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
1k 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
3answers
496 views

What do you call the technique for removing uninteresting parts of photo by combining two images?

I'm looking for the name of a technique to cut out an "uninteresting" part of a photograph. The example I'm thinking of is of a guy on the left of a photograph and a tower on the right. The middle ...
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
12k 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?
9
votes
6answers
2k views

What does small depth of field mean?

Can anyone clarify for me the various terms used to describe depth of field? There are so many it's hard without a photo dictionary to relate in my head what's actually being said to me about the ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the 'Maximum Reproduction Ratio' of a lens?

A review of a Sigma 19mm f2.8 lens contains the following line It has a minimum focusing distance of 20cm /7.9in and a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:7.4. So, as in the title, what is 'maximum ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

What is a vertorama and is it really different from a panorama?

Is "vertorama" a real photography term, or is it simply something that people use to describe a vertical panorama? I never thought that panorama was limited to horizontal landscape oriented images, ...
9
votes
1answer
7k views

What does the magnification ratio number mean on a macro lens?

I'm looking for a macro lens. I have 28-105mm Nikkor which gives me "1:2 Magnification Ratio" (whatever that means). I found another lens, Tamron 90mm Macro, which has magnification ratio of 1:1. ...
9
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
475 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 ...
9
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 ...
8
votes
6answers
795 views

Why is focal length measured in millimeters?

Why is focal length measured in millimeters?
8
votes
4answers
530 views

What is the technical name for a zoom lens which has a fixed maximum aperture?

What is the technical name for a lens which has the same maximum aperture throughout the entire zoom range?
8
votes
3answers
864 views

Image processing & editing: what is an “unmanipulated” image?

What is considered an "unmanipulated" image? As defined by photo.net: Unmanipulated a single uninterrupted exposure cropping to taste common adjustments to the entire image, e.g., ...
8
votes
3answers
13k views

What is USM, and what are its pros and cons?

My Canon lenses have the designation USM on them, which I assume is for the same reason that they say "Ultrasonic". What does this mean, and why or why do I not want it?
8
votes
3answers
477 views

What is a kit lens?

I am new to photography and am looking to purchase my first DSLR or mirrorless camera. While reading Buying a digital SLR on Digital Photography Review the author keeps referring to the camera's kit ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What is DRI? And how does it differ from HDR?

I recently came across the term DRI meaning Dynamic Range Increase. What exactly is it and how does it differ from HDR or High Dynamic Range (or is it the same thing just different terminology?
8
votes
2answers
184 views

Can the soft focus effect be created by slightly throwing the image out of focus?

Is a soft-focus image just minimally out of focus?
8
votes
2answers
734 views

Is there a DSLR fixed lens camera?

A DSLR by definition does not tell us if the camera has a mount for interchangeable lenses. The lens of a DSLR could be a fixed lens, right? Is there, or was there ever, such a camera? If not, why ...
8
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...