Glossary of Digital Photography Terms: Definitions

Single-lens reflex (SLR) – is a type of camera that uses a movable mirror placed between the lens to show the image that will be captured in a viewfinder.
Digital single-lens reflex camera (digital SLR or DSLR) – is a digital camera that operates on the same optical and mechanical principles as a film single-lens reflex camera.
Exposure compensation – is a technique to compensate a measured exposure level against other factors which may render a less-optimal image (filters, non-standard processing, or intended under or overexposure).
Focal length – is a measure of how strongly it focuses or diverges light.
Telephoto lens – is a specific construction of a long focal length photographic lens that places its optical centre outside of its physical construction, such that the entire lens assembly is between the optical centre and the focal plane.
Wide-angle lens – is a lens whose focal length is substantially shorter than the focal length of a normal lens for the image size produced by the camera.
Normal lens – is a lens that generates images that are generally held to have a “natural” perspective compared with lenses with longer or shorter focal lengths.
F-number – is the quantitative measure of lens speed, in other words, the diameter of the entrance pupil in terms of the effective focal length of the lens.
Angle of view (Field of view) – describes the vertical and horizontal extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera.
Viewfinder – is what the photographer looks through to compose, and in many cases to focus, the picture.
Liquid crystal display (LCD) – is a thin, flat display device made up of any number of color or monochrome pixels arrayed in front of a light source or reflector.
Stock photography – consists of existing photographs that can be used to save valuable time and stay on budget.
Bracketing – is the general technique of taking several shots of the same subject using different camera settings.
Autobracketing – is automatic bracketing by using a setting on the camera to take several bracketed shots (in contrast to the photographer altering the settings by hand between each shot).
Exposure bracketing – the photographer chooses to take one picture at a given exposure, one or two brighter, and one or two darker, in order to select the most satisfactory image.
Focus bracketing – is useful in situations with limited depth of field, such as macro photography, where one may want to make a series of exposures with different positions of the focal plane and then choose the one in which the largest portion of the subject is in focus, or combine the in-focus portions of multiple exposures digitally.
White balance bracketing – provides a way of dealing with mixed lighting by having the camera make several images with different white points for one exposure taken, often ranging from blueish images to reddish images.
Flash bracketing – is a technique of working with electronic flash, when the amount of light provided by the flash is varied in a bracketed series in order to find the most pleasing combination of ambient light and fill flash.
CCD – (stands for Charge-Coupled Device) is a type of sensor commonly found in consumer level cameras.
CMOS – (stands for Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) is a type of sensor commonly found in more professional level cameras.
Diffuser – is a piece of opaque plastic that sits over the top of a flashgun. It’s job is to soften the light from the flashgun, and therefore reduces harsh shadows caused by a ‘bare’ flash.
Prime Lens – is the opposite of a zoom lens, prime lenses have one fixed focal length. They represent the best quality of lens available, but have the big drawback in that they cannot ‘zoom in’ to a subject.
Purple Fringing – is an undesirable purple “rim” that surrounds areas of high contrast in a digital image, very obvious when photographing people against a bright (but not deep blue) sky.
Shutter Delay – Traditionally, the shutter opened when you pressed the camera’s button, exposed the film behind the shutter, and then closed again; covering the film back over in the process. With electric sensors the “shutter” is controlled by the camera’s computer. A short shutter speed means the sensor is charged for a fraction of a second. For longer shutter speeds, the sensor is kept charged for longer.
Dynamic Range of a Sensor – is defined by the largest possible signal divided by the smallest possible signal it can generate. The largest possible signal is directly proportional to the full well capacity of the pixel. The lowest signal is the noise level when the sensor is not exposed to any light, also called the “noise floor”.
Interpolation – is an imaging method to increase (or decrease) the number of pixels in a digital image. Some digital cameras use interpolation to produce a larger image than the sensor captured or to create digital zoom.
Optical sharpness – is defined by the quality of the lens and the sensor.
Software sharpness – is creating an “optical illusion” of sharpness by making the edges more contrasty.



I started photography as a hobby in 2005, during college. My passion slowly became a more important part of my life since 2008. Because of using a combination of my photographic knowledge, with those of internet marketing, I like to call myself a "photomarketer".

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