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Questions about specific terms used within photography

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

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?
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
793 views

How can a 24-70mm and a 10-22mm both be “wide angle” lenses?

I've been looking at a 10-22mm lens for my Canon T2i. I've also come across some other "wide angle" lenses, like the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8. I don't understand how a wide angle lens can have such high ...
6
votes
2answers
366 views

Do they make a single-leg stabilizer, similar to a tripod but with only one leg?

I'm looking for something that I can attach to my Nikon D5000 that will allow me to hold the camera steady, similar to a tripod, but MUCH lighter and easier to setup. I'm thinking it could also dub ...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
639 views

Why is the Nikon 35mm f/2D AF considered a Wide-Angle lens?

What makes the Nikon 35mm f/2D AF Wide-Angle Lens lens be considered wide-angle as compared to the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens which isn't advertised as wide-angle?
23
votes
2answers
4k views

What do Hue, Chroma, Saturation, Value, Tones, Tints, Shade, etc. mean?

I've read several online tutorials about color theory but I'm still confused about how to "visually" catch color concepts and use them efficiently. The only thing I seem to understand is "hue" which ...
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?
25
votes
3answers
9k 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
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 ...
14
votes
1answer
8k views

What do “Frontfocus” and “Backfocus” mean?

I've read those terms in a couple of lens reviews, and not even Wikipedia has an article about it. So my questions are: What is back/frontfocus? What causes back/frontfocus? Is there any preventive ...
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.
0
votes
2answers
4k views

What do the lens parameter abbreviations mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What do all those cryptic number and letter codes in a lens name mean? Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II What does EF, II mean? Sigma 10mm/F2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM compatibil ...
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 ...
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"?
14
votes
4answers
2k 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?
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 ...
1
vote
5answers
337 views

How do I navigate the particular camera model number structure of manufacturers?

How can I tell whether I'm going up or stepping down in model quality based on the model of camera I'm considering? With the more recent consumer Nikons, this is relatively simple because "Bigger ...
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. ...
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
4answers
809 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 ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

What is decentering?

I have heard of a condition in imperfect lenses known as "decentering". What is decentering? When a lens is decentered, what exactly is wrong with the optical elements? What are its symptoms and ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

What is Micro Contrast?

What is micro contrast, and why is it important? How is it different than regular contrast? Matt Grum mentioned it in his answer about larger-format cameras: There are other advantages to medium ...
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 ...
12
votes
6answers
912 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 ...
32
votes
5answers
7k views

What does it mean for a photograph to be “high key”?

As I learned the term, a high-key image is one where the shadows are effectively eliminated, and the mid-tone detail pushed into brighter zones. My question is simple: is this an accurate definition, ...
14
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the difference between luminance and illuminance?

The more I read about this, the more confused I become. Illuminance, as I understand it, measured in lux, is the perceived brightness of light on a surface. It's what you'd measure with an incident ...
7
votes
2answers
221 views

What is the Term for “Positional Photography”?

I’m wondering if there is a term for the kind of photos where the subject and the background together form an optical illusion that they are connected. The classic example is a photo of a person ...
0
votes
2answers
191 views

Is there a term for the people who always compliment your work? [closed]

I'm not talking about chimping in particular. I'm talking about how some photographers will post their photos only to look for compliments and they'll show it to people who usually just tell them ...
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 ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

How can aperture be f/11 on a lens with an aperture range designation of 3.5-5.6?

I made a series of outdoor shots with Nikon D5000, with the 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens. On some shots, I see in the EXIF info f/11, and in another shot, f/9. How can that be, that the f-number ...
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 = ...
5
votes
5answers
405 views

What is it called when multiple photos are adjusted for further blending?

I have taken a series of noisy photos without a tripod. I want one less noisy version, so I need average them down to one photo. But details of the individual images do not exactly match, so that ...
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., ...
42
votes
4answers
3k views

What exactly determines depth of field?

There are several questions here about the definition of depth of field, about focal length, and about subject distance. And of course there's the basic how does aperture affect my photographs. And ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the meaning of “stopped down”?

Was reading this answer (emphasis mine): It also tells us that the lens was stopped down, as if it were wide open there would be no corners to cause diffraction, regardless of the number of ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

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

Does anyone know the origins of the term?
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What makes a camera an “SLR”?

My question, specifically: why is the Fujifilm HS 10 not an SLR?
10
votes
4answers
840 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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
7k views

What is a kicker?

In lighting, what is a kicker and when should I use it? (And is it any different from hair light?)
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, ...
6
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
26
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
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 ...
37
votes
4answers
9k views

What is “angle of view” in photography?

I read on the Lens Buying Guide @ neocamera: Focal-length determines the angle-of-view seen through a lens for a given sensor-size. With a full-frame sensor a lens gives the same angle-of-view ...
19
votes
3answers
12k views

What does TTL mean?

I'm new to photography and I see the term TTL all over the place. What does it mean? And how do I use it to make my pictures better?
19
votes
5answers
2k views

What is exposure compensation?

What does exposure compensation do? If I take a photo with a given shutter speed, aperature, and ISO, and then take the same shot with +1EV or -1EV, what is actually happening? Is this just a gain ...
10
votes
4answers
990 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 ...
40
votes
8answers
14k views

What does “expanded ISO” mean?

The ISO specification for the Canon EOS 7D reads as follows: High ISO For handheld shooting in low light, the EOS 7D offers ISO speeds of up to 6400. Expandable to ISO 12800, for low light ...