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Questions about specific terms used within photography

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

6
votes
3answers
832 views

What do the measurements for colour depth mean?

Colour depth is often referred to as being X bits. What does this mean and how does it effect a photograph? What scale is used, i.e. is it linear, exponential, logarithmic, etc.?
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What are screw drive lenses?

Are lenses known as screw drivers actually available?If so what are their features and why are they called so.Name some of the lens and their manufactures.
4
votes
1answer
287 views

What is meant by 'centering quality'?

I'm reading lens reviews and I have encountered the term 'centering quality' a few times (e.g. http://www.photozone.de/sony_nex/720-sony50f18nex?start=1). What does this term mean? What are the ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Retrofocus lens? What's that?

I saw that in Why do some people prefer 50mm to 35mm prime lenses? , in @MattGrum's answer: ... The 50mm is a simpler design compared to the retrofocus 35mm ... What's retrofocus?
8
votes
1answer
2k views

When is HDR preferred to Active D-Lighting?

Could someone please explain the difference between the two? Are there cases where the one technique is more preferable over the other or a general rule of thumb?
6
votes
2answers
3k views

How does a fly-by-wire focusing lens work?

I have learnt that fly-by-wire focusing is an electrical manual focusing system. But how does this focusing method work? How do you manually focus with fly-by-wire? What is the scope of this ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between a point-and-shoot and a mirrorless?

Both point-and-shoot camera and mirrorless cameras seems to be mostly similar in the way they work. So, What are the differences between a point and shoot and a mirrorless camera? Is a mirrorless ...
12
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
284 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k 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?
1
vote
3answers
202 views

What are IS modes and what are their purposes?

After reading the answer by Bill to this question became curious about IS modes. So, What is basically IS mode? Does all lens comes with various IS modes? And what are various situations to use these ...
7
votes
2answers
295 views

At what point does “out of focus” become Bokeh?

As with the distinction between a big boat and a small ship, at what point can an out of focus background be considered "Bokeh"? Is it the point where the subject in the background (or foreground ...
4
votes
2answers
460 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
7k 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 ...
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?
4
votes
2answers
436 views

What is this “lines in the sky” effect called?

I see a lot of pictures with those "line" effects in the sky and I'm wondering how this technique is called (so I can google how it's done). http://500px.com/photo/3464783
4
votes
3answers
4k 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
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
32
votes
3answers
213k views

What does STM mean on a Canon lens?

The Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 has a designation of STM on the lens. What does this mean? What are the advantages of having it and does it replace an older technology? We have a terminology thread that ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

What is Canon's Super Spectra Coating?

In the Canon EF 25-105mm f/4 L USM IS lens specs, it says that the lens coating is "Super Spectra Coating". What is the Super Spectra Coating and how it differs from other types of coating?
4
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the types of aperture blades?

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L USM IS lens has rounded aperture blades. What other types of aperture blades are there, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each of them? Is the aperture ...
12
votes
1answer
1k 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?
11
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “lifted blacks” mean?

What does "lifted blacks" mean? How does it affect your image? How do I do it in Lightroom?
4
votes
1answer
273 views

Why do people say they like “art” and “photography”, instead of just “art”?

Always puzzle me to hear people list photography (in the context of it being art) and something different than art. Is there a reason for this historically?
6
votes
1answer
339 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
244 views

What are Medium Format and Large Format cameras?

What are they and what are they used for? And how are they different from regular SLR or DLSR cameras?
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
637 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
1k 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?
14
votes
5answers
11k 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?
6
votes
3answers
203 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How does the quantity of elements and blades in a lens affect the optics?

I am trying to get a greater understanding of how lenses work. Basically I bought this lens, the Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6: The construction has really fascinated me. 14 Elements in 10 Groups?! What ...
7
votes
2answers
10k views

What does “Tone” mean?

I hear "Tone", "Tonal scale/range" in the context of photography. What does it actually mean?
4
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “R” mean in Fujifilm's XF Fujinon lens names?

Fujifilm currently makes three lenses for their new X-Pro1 mirrorless camera system: Fujinon XF18mmF2 R Fujinon XF35mmF1.4 R Fujinon XF60mmF2.4 R Macro "Fujinon" is Fujifilm's lens division. The ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

What does “Non-Mfg Zoom Lens” mean?

When I was surfing keh I found "Non-Mfg Zoom Lenses" and "Non-Mfg Fixed Focal Length Lenses"? What is the meaning of "Non-Mfg"?
2
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the relationship of aperture, focal length, and ISO in a SLR?

I was using Nikon digital camera, and recently bought a Canon 550D. I am totally new to SLR. I am not familiar with SLR terms: Aperture, focal length and ISO, and their relation to one another. What ...
5
votes
1answer
694 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
8k views

What is T-number / T-stop?

Usually, when discussing aperture of a lens, F-stop and F-number are used for quantifying. But some photographers, and especially videographers, also mention T-stop. The concept and numbering used ...
5
votes
2answers
371 views

How is the term Gaussian blur used?

Is the term Gaussian blur used strictly in post-production, or can it also be used as a term for an out-of-focus area in your image when you-re taking the picture? I'm pretty sure that bokeh is used ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the “visual center” of an image?

I've heard that one of the tricks designers use for a more effective result is placing an object in the visual center. Where is the visual center in an image, why is it important, and how could it be ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

How does exposure fusion work?

I understand that "exposure fusion" is a method for combining different exposures into a single image. How exactly does it work, and how is it related to HDR?
0
votes
1answer
133 views

If shoot pictures in 10.0 mode or 12.0 what is quality?

If my camera is shooting in 10.0 or 12.0...what will my megapixels be? I am a beginner and I know I need them to be at least 1600x1200 for my purpose.
10
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
345 views

Are these Nikon 16-85mm lenses actually the same?

I just ordered the D7000 with three lenses, one of them was the Nikon AF 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 DX G AF-S ED. Now I found that they sell a package "D7000 with 16-85mm, AFS G VR" for $100 less. I can undo ...
4
votes
1answer
588 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
218 views

What does “Signing off attribution” mean?

I'm about to sell a range of images to a client and he asks me for a document to "sign off attribution". What does this mean and where can I find sample contracts?
10
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
138 views

Is it ever correct to describe a flash diffuser as opaque?

I've seen product listings online for flash diffusers where they are described as opaque. Is this an incorrect description? Should it be semi-opaque or is that assumed? How does opaque make sense in ...