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Glossary of Camera Termonology

AFA lens having auto focusing capability. Nikon AF lenses require the camera to have a focus motor.
AF-CAF-Continuous. A method of autofocus wherein the camera focuses continuously - when the shutter release is depressed halfway down. Typically used for sports and action.
AF-SAutofocus - Servo. A method of autofocus wherein the camera focuses once only - when the shutter release is depressed halfway down.
AF-SNikon abbreviation for an AF lens having it's own auto focus motor, not requiring the camera to have a focus motor.
ApertureAn iris-like opening in the lens that meters how much light can enter. Usually adjustable.
APSA 1.5x cropped DSLR.
APS-CA 1.6x cropped Canon DSLR.
APS-HA 1.29x cropped Canon DSLR.
 
Ball Head A head on a tripod that allows moving the camera in any direction or elevation.
BokehA Japanese word describing the quality of an out-of-focus area.
Bridge Camera A camera between the categories of a Compact Camera and DSLR - they "bridge-the-gap".
Bulb A setting for the shutter speed to allow it to be open indefinitely - for night or low-light photography.
 
Camera Shake Vibration induced into the camera by the photographer due to the inablity to hold it still.
CLS Creative Lighting System - Nikon lingo for the interaction between the camera and flash units.
Compact Camera Small, often "pocket" camera, with less capability than a DSLR.
Cold Shoe Similar to a Hot Shoe, but lacks electrical contacts.
Compact Flash Physically, a relatively large memory card used on some professional cameras.
Cropped FrameA digital camera having a smaller sensor than 35mm film. Nikon calls their 1.5x crop cameras DX.
 
DSLRDigital Single Lens Reflex. A camera having an interchangeable lens, pentaprism and mirror assembly.
Depth-of-FieldThe part of a lens that is in focus, a distance from in front of and to the rear of the focus point.
Digital Zoom Zoom effect processed digitally rather than optically. Generally results in low quality photos.
DoFAbbreviation for Depth-of-Field.
DXA Nikon 1.5x cropped frame DSLR.
Dynamic RangeThe range of brightness in an image, from the darkest to brightest.
 
EF Canon abreviation for autofocus lenses.
EF-S Canon abreviation for autofocus lenses for cropped cameras.
eTTL Canon's TTL (through the lens) metering system.
ETTR Expose To The Right. In reference to a histogram, increasing exposure until the right edge of the histogram shows the exposure leading edge. This may overexpose the scene - which results in better low-contrast areas. However, post processing may be requred to correct the scene.
EV Abbreviation for Exposure Value.
Exposure The characteristic of the light values of an image.
Exposure Value A change in light intensity, either 0.5x or 2.x, from the Inverse Square Law, from one intensity to another.
Exposure Triangle Describes the exposure relationship between Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO.
 
FThe Factor - or value of the aperture. A ratio of lens focal length to Aperture diameter.
F Stop Slang that describes the aperture's Exposure Value.
Field-of-ViewThe horizontal distance captured by a lens.
FD Canon abreviation for manual ocus lenses. These are obsolete lenses and will not function on modern DSLR bodies.
Fill-Flash. A method of using a flash in bright conditions to highlight areas or reduce shadows.
Filter Piece of glass attached to a lens to change the optical or color properties of the image.
FisheyeA short focal length lens that produces an intended distortion resembling a fish'es eye.
Flash A high-intensity light source to aid in properly exposing an image in low-light.
Focal LengthThe physical length of a lens, from the camera's Focal Plane to the front of the lens.
Focal PlaneThe plane at which the sensor resides(or film in the case of a 35mm camera).
Full FrameA digital camera having a sensor the same size as 35mm film. Called FX in Nikon lingo.
FXA Nikon full frame DSLR.
 
Grain Similar to noise, the amount of unwanted texture in a film image, mostly noticable at high ISOs.
Guide The measuring system for flash output - usually in feet/meters @ ISO 100.
 
HDRAbbreviation fo rHigh Dynamic Range.
High Dynamic RangeA photo technique that combines photos for a higher dynamic range.
High Key Lighting technique where the entire scene is evenly illuminated.
Hot Shoe A flat connector on the top of a camera with electrical contacts that allows mounting of a flash. camera.
 
Inverse Square Law The principle of light loss. If the distance from a light source is doubled, it's intensity is reduced by 4.
IS Image Stabilization. Same thing as Vibration Reduction.
ISO International Standards Organization standard for the light sensitivity of the sensor (or film).
iTTL Nikon's TTL (through the lens) metering system.
 
Key Light The main flash or light that illuminates the subject in the photograph.
 
Leaf Individual components of an aperture diaphragm. Usually 7, 8, or 9 leafs.
Low Key A lighting technique where there are shadows from one plane to emphasise a mood.
Light Painting A technique where an exposure is taken in low-light, and a spot light source illuminates certain areas.
 
Macro A lens used for close-up photography.
MagnificationDescribes the total magnification of a lens, from minimum to maximum. Expressed in "X" power.
MegaPixel Million pixels. Used to classify the resolution of a sensor.
Measurebater Derogative slang for a person that is more concerned about the camera's specification than taking photos.
Memory Stick A somewhat proprietary memory card used on some cameras.
Monopod A single leg stand to help hold a camera steady.
 
Noise Random patterns of color in a digital image - especially noticeable at high ISOs.
 
Optical Viewfinder Optical lens rather than digital screen used for "aiming" or composing the photo.
Optical Zoom The zoom function accomplished by optics.
 
PanThe technique of "leading" your subject with the camera side-to-side, similar to shooting a Clay Pigeon.
Pixel Individual component on the sensor that gathers light.
Point & Shoot Slang for a Compact Camera; one not having the capability of a DSLR.
PSAM Acronym for Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual exposure modes.
 
Reciprocity Inverse Square relationship in different EV values.
Recycle Time For a flash unit, the time it takes for the battery to recharge the flash for the next shot.
Remote Shutter Release Device that depress the shutter remotely so as to eliminate camera shake.
Resolution The ability of a sensor to resolve individual details in a scene and capture them to an image.
 
SD Secure Digital; a memory card where the camera places photos; limited to 2GigaBytes of memory.
SDHC Secure Digital - High Capacity. A SD card having a capacity of up to 64Gb.
SDXC Secure Digital - Extended Capacity. A SD card having a capacity beyond 64Gb.
Sensor Short for Digital Sensor. The device in a camera that captures the image.
Shutter Bug Slang for a photographer, especially an amateur photographer.
SLR35mm Single Lens Reflex film camera having an interchangeable lens, pentaprism and mirror assembly.
Stop A generic term for EV. 1 Stop = 1 EV.
Shutter A device in front of the sensor (film) that opens and closes to let a specific amount of light reach the sensor.
Shutter SpeedThe duration that the shutter stays open.
Super Wide AngleA lens with a focal length less than 25mm.
Super ZoomA lens with a magnification power greater than 5x.
 
TelephotoA lens with a focal length greater than around 100mm.
TiltUp and down motion of a camera while on a tripod. Also called Elevation.
TripodA 3 legged stand to hold the camera steady.
TTLThrough The Lens. A metering system that gets it's exposure information through the camera's lens.
 
Vibration Reduction An opto-mechanical or electronic method to reduce or eliminate camera shake.
VR Abbreviation for Vibration Reduction.
 
WBWhite Balance.
Wide AngleA lens with a focal length less than 35mm.
 
Zoom The act of adjusting the focal length of a zoom lens. Zoom in, Zoom out.
Zoom Lens A lens having a variable focal length.