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Questions about specific terms used within photography

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

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 ...
7
votes
4answers
305 views
+50

How to identify whether the available light is too harsh or too soft?

When I go out in a park what factors should I consider to determine whether the present light is too harsh or too soft?
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, ...
1
vote
4answers
753 views

What exactly is focal length when there is also flange focal distance?

If focal length is the measure between the rear element and the sensor then how can you have different flange focal distances? Is the focal length not literally the measure between the rear element ...
7
votes
8answers
1k views

How many pixels in a megapixel?

I am trying to find out the definition of a megapixel? Some references on the web place it at 1 million pixels, and other places say it is equal to 2^20 = 1,048,576 pixels.
6
votes
4answers
541 views

What does “DMC” mean?

I have seen "DMC" in many names of digital cameras. Is this an abbreviation? What does it mean? Some examples: Lumix DMC-TZ40 DMC-FZ200 DMC FT25
14
votes
2answers
13k views

What does DPI mean?

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

What is a “crisp” photo?

I see the word crisp used a lot to describe photographs, but I'm not sure what it means. Sometimes it seems synonymous with sharp, but as often it's used along with sharp seemingly to indicate ...
12
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
27
votes
4answers
11k 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
4answers
16k 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?
8
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?
4
votes
8answers
921 views

What is Snapsort's true resolution?

On Snapsort I found this explanation: True resolution Manufacturers advertise high megapixels to sell their cameras, Snapsort calculates the true resolution of each camera based on the ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is it called ISO “speed”?

As I understand it, the ISO value indicates how sensitive the sensor/film is to light. How is this related to speed? Is it something to do with how fast old chemical film developed?
2
votes
3answers
130 views

Are the terms 'push' and 'pull' relevant/applicable to digital photography?

The terms push and pull come from the days of film processing, and there's more on that here and here, but essentially they refer to increasing or decreasing the chemical processing time to account ...
0
votes
2answers
99 views

What is CMOS in SLR camera? [duplicate]

I regularly come across this term "Dual Pixel CMOS AF" or "APS HD CMOS" when reading about cameras. So what is this CMOS term? What does it describe about the camera? Is it telling something that it ...
11
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
88 views

Does fps relate to still photography or videography?

As a beginner, how much importance should I give to the FPS feature of a camera? How is the price of a DSLR related to the FPS? Directly or inversely? I was under the naive impression that FPS was a ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

What does “Tone” mean?

I hear "Tone", "Tonal scale/range" in the context of photography. What does it actually mean?
8
votes
3answers
10k 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?
2
votes
2answers
71 views

Why refer to “aperture” as “iris”?

With common lenses the aperture is controlled by a mechanism called an "iris." But, especially with cine/video-oriented lenses, I often see the term "iris" used as an apparent synonym for aperture. ...
30
votes
3answers
13k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
8k 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. ...
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.
5
votes
4answers
199 views

What is the difference or relation between a Color Model and a Color Space?

What is the exact relation or difference between a color model and a color space? I find these two terms to be used interchangeably in some literature. Are they simply the same? Thanks!
2
votes
3answers
956 views

What does “maximum aperture” mean in a camera spec? Where can I get the full aperture range?

I own a Canon S95, and am considering getting a newer model (e.g. Canon S110 or S120), and I'm comparing the specs. According to DPReview.com, the S95 has a maximum aperture of F2.0-F4.9, and the S110 ...
1
vote
2answers
88 views

CIE Chromatic Diagram explainment

The MacAdam Ellipse is applied in the CIE Chromatic Diagram. I understand that humans distinguish some colors better then other colors (that's why the shape is eliptic / a horseshoe / inverted ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

What makes a DSLR camera “entry-level”?

When I look around the questions on this site, I feel everyone can clearly tell what makes a DSLR camera "entry-level". But I have no clue on how to tell. What makes a camera model "entry" level or ...
32
votes
7answers
2k views

What is “Hyperfocal Distance”?

I'd like a clear & easy-to-understand (especially for non-physics-types) explanation of what Hyperfocal Distance is, how it affects photographs, and what determines its value.
1
vote
1answer
88 views

Difference between luminance and brightness [duplicate]

What is the difference between Luminance and Brigthness? If there is any...
19
votes
7answers
4k 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: ...
10
votes
4answers
20k 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?
46
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
6k views

What is “100% crop?”

I use the term "100% crop" to mean a portion of a picture that has been cropped but not resized, but I have also seen some confusion around that term. Is there an accepted definition for "100% ...
3
votes
2answers
303 views

If it's not a 100% crop, what is it? [duplicate]

I've been reading a camera review which shows a picture with a tiny rectangle highlighted. It then shows that rectangle expanded to the same size as the original picture so that one can see the ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
120 views

What does “OS” mean on a Sigma lens? [duplicate]

I want to buy a Sigma 180mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro OS HSM Sigma. What does EX mean? What does DG mean? What does OS mean? What does HSM mean?
41
votes
8answers
18k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

What's the difference between colour space and bit depth?

I know that there are different types of colour space and that sRGB is the most common. Bit depth defines the variations of a colour channel, where (I think) 8 and/or 16 bits are the most common. ...
3
votes
1answer
160 views

What is the name of this ruler for Photogrammetry? Where to find similiar ones?

i want to measure something in a picture on a plane. To adjust the picture after shooting it e.g. to do lens correction and de-skewing I want to use a calibration ruler as attached. What is the ...
29
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does every digital camera save photos in a directory called DCIM?

It seems like every digital camera that I have ever used creates a folder called DCIM on its removable storage to save photographs into. Can anyone tell me what this name (DCIM) stands for (if ...
3
votes
3answers
650 views

Is there a term for “not portrait” photos?

My photos rarely have people (faces) in them. Is there a term for such photography?
4
votes
2answers
276 views

What's the proper name for the eye viewfinder?

I can use the screen as a viewfinder or the smaller, eye viewfinder on most cameras. Is there a proper name for the eye viewfinder?
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 ...
17
votes
3answers
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
200 views

What is the name for the type of photography where the subject is close-up?

I believe there is a name for this particular type of photography where the subject is close-up such as the below examples:- I'm trying to search for photography like this on the web but unsure ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

about luminance and illuminance: what is the difference? [duplicate]

First of all, let me say that english is not my first language, so please excuse any mistakes that you could meet from here on out. I read several articles and explanations about luminance and ...
0
votes
4answers
132 views

What is a standard kit lens?

I know what a kit lens is, but I am wondering what a standard kit lens is. There is a post for what a kit lens is, but I couldn't find a post on standard kit lenses. Standard or normal, in general, is ...
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?