photography digital terms vocabulary glossary

Photography Vocabulary Lesson Part 1

Early last week I shared a few thoughts on Choosing That First DSLR Camera; either for yourself or as a holiday gift for a loved one. As a follow-up to that I think it is time for a little photography vocabulary lesson.  As a new photographer you’re going to see and hear so many new terms, phrases, acronyms, numbers, and even number-letter combos that it could make your head spin! So take out your Big Chief tablets and pretty yellow pencils; number your page from 1 to 40 and here we go…

  1. AE Modes – Auto Exposure Modes – camera modes that will automatically chose the required settings for your image. This includes aperture priority, shutter priority, and program modes.
  2. AF – Auto Focus –  modern cameras from cell phones and point and shoots to high end DSLRs have auto focus capabilities. This means that the lens automatically focuses on the subject. The difference between your cell phone and that high end DSLR is that with the DSLR you can also select manual focus when necessary.
  3. Aperture – the lens opening [formed by a diaphragm] that allows more, or less light onto the sensor.  Referred to as f-stops such as f/2.8 or f/22.
  4. Aspherical Lens –  a lens with flattened edges. This type of lens produces a much better image.
  5. AWB – Automatic White Balance – digital cameras have this feature it allows the camera to set the white balance. They also allow you to change this setting to other choices to suit your needs.
  6. B & W – abbreviation for black and white.
  7. Back Lit – means the subject is lit from behind.
  8. Barrel Distortion – a common lens distortion that causes an aquired image to “pucker” towards the center and be rounded along the outside edges.
  9. Blown Out – a term used to describe an image or part of an image that’s over-exposed with no detail.
  10. Bokeh – the quality of the out-of-focus areas of an image.
  11. Bracketing – applies to flash or exposure. It is used to create  multiple images [usually 3]; one exposed by the cameras meter automatically, one under exposed and one overexposed by a predetermined number of stops. Also called “exposure bracketing”.
  12. Bulb – a term used for a long exposure setting [normally more than 30 seconds]. The exposure is started by pressing the shutter and only ends when the shutter is released.
  13. Burst Mode – also know as continuous mode; this refers to shooting several frames in rapid succession.  DSLR’s have bust modes of up to 8 frames per second.
  14. CCD – Charged Coupled Device – an imaging system with a light sensitive chip used in digital cameras. CCD’s are analogue sensors, the digitizing happens when the electrons are passed through a converter. This Analogue to Digital converter converts the analogue signal to a digital file.
  15. Chromatic Aberration – also known as purple fringing. Fringing is fairly common in lower mega pixel cameras, especially when used with a long telephoto lenses. You can see it when a dark area of the image is surrounded by a highlight. In between the darker and lighter areas it shows up as a band of purple pixels that shouldn’t be there.
  16. CMOS – Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor – another imaging system used by digital cameras. These produce lower amounts of power consumption than the CCD systems.
  17. CRW – the RAW CCD file format used by Canon digital cameras. It stands for Canon RAW.
  18. DOF – Depth of Field – the amount of items that are in sharp focus in an image. DOF is controlled by the focal length and aperture opening of a lens. A large or wide aperture gives a shallow depth of field (not much in focus) and a smaller or narrow aperture gives a larger depth of field (more in focus).
  19. DSLR – Digital Single Lens Reflex. A digital camera with interchangeable lens.
  20. E-TTL –  stands for Evaluative Through The Lens – Canon’s exposure system that uses a quick pre-flash before the main flash in order to calculate the correct exposure.

Oops! That’s all the time we have for today kids. We’ll have to pick this up again tomorrow.

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