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Questions about specific terms used within photography

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
906 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., ...
4
votes
2answers
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.
11
votes
2answers
991 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 ...
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 ...
11
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
788 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?
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
265 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?
5
votes
3answers
752 views

What are the different categories of photography?

After reading some questions, I am getting lost with stage photography, curtain photography? etc.. I only know portrait, landscape, street, sports etc..is there a standard lingo somewhere?
4
votes
1answer
228 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?
20
votes
4answers
3k views

What is focal length and how does it affect my photos?

What is focal-length? Are focal-length and zoom synonymous? How does the focal length of a photo affect it?
7
votes
2answers
590 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
874 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?
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 ...
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
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"?
5
votes
1answer
489 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
347 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

What do the AF-A, AF-C, and AF-S autofocus settings mean?

My camera has these settings for autofocus, and I don't know what they mean. I suspect "A" is "Auto", and "C" is "continuous", but I have no idea what "S" is.
7
votes
3answers
9k views

What is the definition of portrait photography?

Can we talk about a portrait photograph if, let's say, a grandmother and her 3-year-old grandchild are in the picture? Or, must it be only one person in the photograph?
13
votes
3answers
468 views

What is Chromatic Aberration?

What is Chromatic Aberration? Is it a physical part of the lens, or just an optical illusion?
15
votes
7answers
3k views

How do you pronounce “bokeh”?

I've had a lot of trouble working out how to pronounce "bokeh". Amusingly enough, I've thus far been unable to get any of the small handful of photographer friends I have to ever say it out loud, ...
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
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
337 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 ...
26
votes
7answers
5k views

Does a photographer take pictures or make pictures?

Most people speak of the process of photography as taking pictures. However, many serious photographers instead refer to making pictures. One might be inclined to dismiss this as jargon, but there's ...
4
votes
1answer
532 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
3k 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?
2
votes
1answer
204 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
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 ...
1
vote
4answers
129 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
311 views

What do you call the symbols that you can see on the edges when you look into your camera viewer?

I'm talking about the tiny and sometimes quite useful symbols/indicators for this: http://a.img-dpreview.com/reviews/PentaxK10D/Images/Features/viewfinderview.gif is there a general name for the ...
9
votes
1answer
550 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the EV scale?

I have seen an "EV" (exposure value) scale that's sometimes used to express a camera's exposure settings, or scene brightness. How exactly does this scale work?
2
votes
1answer
588 views

What is the “Dust-Off Reference Photo” on a Nikon DSLR?

I have seen this in my D700 menu and just saw it again on Nikon's tech sheet for the new D4. Is this the same tech that Minolta is using to clean their sensor of dust or is it something else? How does ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
283 views

What is the meaning of “cropped sensor”?

What is the meaning of the term "cropped sensor"?
8
votes
1answer
284 views

What is lighting ratio?

What is lighting ratio and how is it calculated?
6
votes
1answer
405 views

What does “distortion <XX%” mean in lens specs?

I'm going to buy a lens and I would like to understand what "distortion <XX%" means. It's a vari-focal 10-60mm lens, and mentions distortion <12-1%. According to my understanding, at 10mm focal ...
2
votes
2answers
280 views

How is this lighting and colouring effect achieved?

A few days ago, I saw this picture linked here on 500px and was wondering how the coloring technique is called. On a first glance, it looks like a high key shot, but it is unusual as it has no light ...
3
votes
3answers
516 views

Do Professional and Semi professional cameras have “steadyshot” technology?

Do professional and semi professional cameras have good optical image stabilization, sometimes called steady shot?
0
votes
1answer
582 views

What does “pop & drag” mean in low light photography?

I came cross this term "Pop & Drag" being used in low light setting. What does that mean? Is it the same as term as "dragging the shutter"? Can anyone please show some examples of "Pop & ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of single focal length?

The Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G is described as a single focal length lens: http://www.nikon.co.in/products.php?categoryid=1014. What does that mean? What are its disadvantages as compared to ...
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?
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"?
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 ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

What is a “fast” lens?

I've been reading lots of camera reviews lately and have ran across several references to "fast" lenses. What exactly is a fast lens and what are its advantages compared to other lenses?
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 ...