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Questions about specific terms used within photography

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

17
votes
2answers
4k views

What is “micro contrast” and how is it different from regular 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
20k 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 ...
13
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
33
votes
5answers
10k 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, ...
15
votes
2answers
8k 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
235 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
203 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
4k 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
548 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
984 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., ...
48
votes
4answers
4k 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
4k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

What does Time for Print (TFP) mean in practice?

I've seen the cut and dried version of what Time for Print (also called 'Trade for Print' by many) means on Wikipedia. I was wondering what it is and what it means for the photographer and model ...
16
votes
3answers
3k 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?
18
votes
5answers
13k views

What is dynamic range and how is it important in photography?

Wikipedia says that the dynamic range is the "ratio between the largest and smallest possible values of a changeable quantity". Ok, I get that. I suppose that's why HDR photos have a "high dynamic ...
10
votes
4answers
1k 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
11k 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
4k 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
7k 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 ...
31
votes
9answers
6k 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
3k 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 ...
48
votes
5answers
13k 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
4answers
19k 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?
21
votes
5answers
3k 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
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 ...
43
votes
8answers
22k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
16k 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
525 views

Is there construction-agnostic term for a lens with a long focal length?

Turns out that telephoto refers to a specific construction of a long-focal-length lens, i.e., one where the lens is physically shorter than the focal length. Is there a generic term for referring to ...
17
votes
1answer
569 views

Why are photographic gels called “gels”?

This question has been bugging me for a while, as I've been digging through filters on Adorama and B&H and various other sites for days now. I keep seeing numerous types of filters often tagged as ...
11
votes
4answers
2k 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, ...
24
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “white balance”?

I would like to understand the term white balance. My camera has settings for white balance with the following options: Auto white balance Daylight Cloudy Shade Flash Incandescent lights White set1 ...
8
votes
1answer
292 views

What is lighting ratio?

What is lighting ratio and how is it calculated?
101
votes
7answers
8k views

What is bokeh, exactly?

I understand that "bokeh" refers to out-of-focus areas of an image — but there is obviously more to it than that. What does the term mean exactly? How well is bokeh really understood? Is it purely ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

What is background compression?

What does the term "background compression" mean? How would you tell you're achieving it, and how would you achieve it? Ideally, the right answer would also explain how this is related to ...
27
votes
2answers
3k views

What is a pancake lens?

I've read about a "pancake lens" but don't really understand what that means. What the pros and cons of having a pancake vs. another type of lens? I'm thinking of getting a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the distinction between a professional and amateur photographer?

I describe myself as an amateur photographer to other photographers and avoid using qualifiers like "pro" or "amateur" when talking to clients, but after reading a number of articles in Rangefinder ...
27
votes
4answers
13k views

What is a macro lens?

I've read a few threads on here that mention some elementary descriptions of macro lenses and found some marketing fluff in the box for my Canon about them as well, but being a complete novice I was ...
19
votes
7answers
5k 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: ...
14
votes
2answers
16k views

What does DPI mean?

What does DPI mean and how does it affect images displayed on screen versus printed?
27
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the definition of a “prime lens”?

There are many discussions of differences between prime, zoom and macro lenses. I have not heard about prime lenses until recently. Could someone explain what exactly a prime lens is? Is it ...
14
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
659 views

Choosing a Gitzo Tripod head - deciphering series, model #, etc

I recently purchased a Gitzo Mountaineer tripod, the GT0541. It is a Series 0 (not really sure what that means), 4 section with ground-lock capability. The G-Lock capability has been really nice for ...
6
votes
3answers
1k 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?
133
votes
3answers
53k views

What do all those cryptic number and letter codes in a lens name mean?

Then looking at a lens name there is a lot of acronyms in the name describing it's features (often specific to the manufacturer). Examples, Nikon: Nikon AF-S DX 16-85mm VR f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED Nikon ...
17
votes
5answers
803 views

What is an ultra-wide lens?

What is the point at which a lens is considered "ultra-wide angle" vs just wide angle?
15
votes
3answers
536 views

What is Chromatic Aberration?

What is Chromatic Aberration? Is it a physical part of the lens, or just an optical illusion?