Camera and Photography Equipment Terms

  • Aperture: The lens opening that changes in diameter,thereby determining how much light passes through to expose the film.
  • Aperture Priority Setting: An exposure setting taken with a camera where the photographer chooses the aperture setting and the camera sets the shutter speed for proper exposure. If the photographer changes the aperture, the camera automatically changes the shutter speed to match.
  • Aperture Ring: The ring located on the outside of the lens, usually behind the focusing ring. It controls the size of the aperture opening.
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing: A camera option that automatically sets the exposure of the film to varied shutter speeds and/or aperture settings.
  • Autofocus (AF) System: A common system on SLR cameras where the camera lens automatically focuses the image using a selected part of the picture.
  • Automatic Camera: A camera with a built-in exposure meter that automatically does the work of adjusting the aperture, shutter speed, or both for proper exposure.
  • Automatic Setting or Program Exposure: An exposure setting where the camera sets both the aperture setting and shutter speed for proper exposure.
  • Bulb Setting: An exposure setting on SLR cameras labeled with a “B.” The bulb setting opens the shutter and keeps it open as long as you keep pressing the shutter release. The bulb setting is best used for photographing fireworks and other things that need a long exposure time.
  • External flash: A supplementary flash unit attached to the camera. External flashes are used for many things including increased flash range and red-eye reduction.
  • Film: A photographic emulsion of an image that is fixed on a flexible, transparent base.
  • Filter: A colored or transparent round glass the size of a camera lens which a photographer attaches to the camera by either screwing it onto a lens, holding it in front of the lens, or inserting it in a filter holder. The filter gives different effects to the photographer’s images, depending on the type of filter.
  • Finder or Viewfinder: The area on the camera where the photographer views the subject area that will be recorded on the film.
  • Fixed-Focus Lens: A non-adjustable camera lens, which is set for a fixed distance.
  • Flash: A brief, intense burst of light from a bulb or flash unit.
  • F-Stop or F-Number: A number that indicates the size of the aperture lens opening such as f/1.4, f/4, f/5.6, f/16, and f/22. The larger the f-stop number, the smaller the lens opening. F-stop determines your depth of field, or in other words it changes the focal plane of the lense.
  • Focal Length: The distance, as marked on the lens, between the film and the optical center of the lens when the lens is focused on infinity. The distance is often listed in millimeters, such as 50mm.
  • Focal-Plane Shutter: The shutter system on cameras with a built-in lens. When the shutter is pressed an opaque curtain containing a slit moves directly across in front of the camera film, exposing the film.
  • Focus: The act of adjusting the focus setting on a lens in order to sharply define the subject.
  • Hot Shoe: The area on a camera that holds a small external flash.
  • Image Stabilization or Vibration Reducing: A lens with an internal system to detect camera shake and compensate for it.
  • Internal Flash. A flash integrated into the body of the camera, usually on the top.
  • Lens: Optical glass or a similar material that collects and focuses light to form an image on film.
  • Lens Hood or Shade: An attachment located at the front of a lens to keep unwanted light from striking the lens and causing image flare.
  • Light Meter or Exposure Meter: An instrument that measures the light reflected from or falling on an object for proper exposure. Cameras often have an internal light meter but external light meters are more effective.
  • Macro Lens: A lens which changes the perspective to focus from an extremely close distance to infinity.
  • Manual Focus: The process of setting the focus using the focus ring on the lens instead of using the camera’s auto-focus system.
  • Manual Setting: An exposure setting where the aperture setting and the shutter speed are both set by the photographer. It gives the photographer more freedom in choosing shutter speed and depth of field when composing. Related Article: Using Aperture: Creative Power with Your Camera’s F-Stop
  • Motor Drive or Continuous Mode: An electronic mechanism that advances the film to the next frame and continues taking photographs. Continuous mode is often used in Sports Photography.
  • Normal Lens: A lens that does not change the perspective of the image like a telephoto or wide-angle lens.
  • Reflector: Any device which reflects light onto a subject.
  • Shutter Blades: A movable cover in a lens that controls the aperture setting and the time when light reaches the film.
  • Shutter Priority: An exposure setting taken with a camera where the photographer chooses the shutter speed setting and the camera sets the aperture for proper exposure. If the photographer changes the shutter speed, the camera automatically changes the aperture to match.
  • Single-Lens-Reflex (SLR) Camera: A camera in which you view the scene through the same lens that takes the picture.
  • Soft Focus Lens: A special lens that creates soft outlines in the image.
  • Telephoto Lens: A lens which changes the perspective to make the object appear closer.
  • Time Exposure: An exposure that takes seconds or minutes to complete.
  • Tripod: A three-legged support that holds the camera steady.
  • Unipod: A one-legged support that holds the camera steady.
  • Wide-Angle Lens: A lens which changes the perspective to make the objects appear in a wider field of view.
  • Zoom: A lens which changes the perspective like a telephoto or wide-angle lens. The zoom, though, has a wide range of focal lengths, allowing the photographer to change the perspective from close in to far away.

Exposure Terms

  • Bracketing: The process of taking a series of photographs of the same subject through a range of exposures, both lighter and darker, to insure a correct exposure. Some SLR cameras have settings that allow automatic bracketing.
  • Film Speed: Your choice of film speed as reflected in an ISO number.
  • Highlights: The brightest areas of a subject.
  • ISO Number: A rating of the film’s sensitivity to light. The higher the number, the more sensitive or “faster” the film; the lower the number, the less sensitive or “slower” the film.
  • Overexposure: The washed-out, overly bright areas of a photograph due to too much light reaching the film.
  • Shutter Speed: The duration for which the aperture will remain open. On an SLR camera the shutter speed can be adjusted. The numbers represent either seconds or fractions of a second. For example, 1 = 1 second, 15 = 1/15 second, 60 = 1/60 second, etc.
  • Tone: The degree of lightness or darkness on a print.
  • Underexposure: The muddy, dark areas of a photograph due to too little light reaching the film.
  • White Balance: A function on the camera that compensates for different colors of light being emitted by different light sources.

Exposure is highly influenced by the lighting conditions, either the natural conditions or artificial light created by the photograph. Here are some important lighting terms to understand:

Lighting Terms

  • Ambient Light: The natural, available light in a scene.
  • Backlighting: The light coming from behind the subject.
  • Bounce Lighting: Light that is bounced off a reflector to give the effect of ambient light.
  • Diffuse Lighting or Soft Lighting: Lighting that is low or moderate in contrast.
  • Existing Light: Any available light regardless of time of day and at any location.
  • Fill Flash: A technique to brighten dark shadow areas, often used when the subject is located in the dark shadow.
  • Fill-In Light: Light added to the existing light by use of a lamp, flash or reflector.
  • Frontlighting: Light shining from the direction of the camera toward the subject.
  • Sidelighting: Light shining on the subject from the side relative to the camera, often casting long shadows.

This blog is designed to provide photography tips and tricks and post processing tips

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