digital photography glossary of terms

It is often taken for granted that we know and understand all the terms which relate to digital cameras. Just incase you are not familiar with a few of them, i have compiled a useful glossary of terms to help you out.

Digital photography glossary of terms

Digital cameras are precision pieces of equipment and as such involve some technical descriptions. Below is a quick Glossary of some of the terms which you are likely to come across:

Autofocus: Autofocus is a standard feature on Digital SLR cameras and is being increasingly found on many ‘point and shoot’ cameras. The autofocus function automatically focuses on the centre mass that the camera is pointed at (some models allow you to select different parts of the screen to focus on). Autofocus is generally engaged by semi-suppressing the shutter button prior to taking the picture.  This function works bests when there is a strong contrast between the subject and the background of the image.

Burst mode: Burst mode is commonly found on DSLR cameras and allows the camera to take many shots in a very short space of time. The number of shots is dictated by the speed of the camera, which is measured in ‘frames per second’. The speed of the camera depends on the make and model and can vary markedly.

Compact Flash: This is a form of memory card and is used to store the pictures that you take with your digital camera. CompactFlash cards vary in size from 512mb up to a huge 64GB. The larger the card, the more photos and videos you will be able to store.

Depth of field: This relates to how much of the image will remain in focus when you shoot your picture. If you are taking a family photo on holiday, the depth of field will dictate how much of the foreground and background is captured in your image. The depth of field is generally manipulated by the lenses used on the camera as well as a number of other factors. Generally speaking however, moving closer to your subject will reduce your depth of field, whilst moving away [from your subject] will increase it.

Exposure: This term relates to the amount of light which hits the camera sensor. This is controlled by the shutter speed and the sensitivity setting (ISO) on the camera. An over exposed image will appear ‘washed out’ whereas an under exposed image will appear dark and undefined.

Image editing software: This is the software that you use to improve the appearance of a photograph once you have transferred it to your computer of Mac. The most popular image editing software is Adobe Photoshop, which is where the term ‘photoshopped’ originated. Image editing software can be used to crop images, remove the effects of over or under exposure and to remove red eye. Image editing software can also be used to create stunning photos with plays on the colour and light levels in the image.

JPEG: JPEG stands for ‘Joint Photographic Experts Group’ and is the industry defining photo format. JPEG is commonly used in photography because of its comparatively small size, which makes it easily transferable via email and equally easily uploaded to the internet.

Mega Pixel (MP): a mega pixel is comprised of 1 million pixels and is the standard unit measurement of a digital cameras resolution. Generally speaking, it is preferable to look for cameras with high amounts of pixels, although this rule of thumb can be untrue in the case of some lower quality digital cameras, as too many mega pixels can make the image appear ‘noisy’ and thus make it lack some of the clarity expected for a high MP camera.

Memory Card: Memory cards are the tools on to which photos and videos are saved, transported and shared. Memory cards come in a number of different formats, including SD, CompactFlash, SmartMedia, xD and Sony’s Memory Stick. Memory cards come in different sizes and the larger the card the more data (photos and videos in this instance) the card can store.

Noise: Noise refers to the colour distortion which can be seen on certain photographs. This most commonly occurs on solid blocks of colour, like the walls on a skyscraper or on blue sky. Noise can be reduced (noise reduction) by the use of appropriate exposure settings on your camera and by the use of image editing software (see above).

Pixel: Pixels are the tiny dots which together comprise an image. Pixels are counted as ‘mega pixels’ or millions of pixels. Good cameras generally have higher numbers of pixels then their cheaper counterparts.

Sensor: the crucial internal camera element which turns light into a captured image.

Zoom lens:  zoom lenses allow the user to zoom into an image, thus making it appear larger and closer then it is in reality. Zoom lenses are purchased separately from SLR cameras, and come in a range of lengths (length of zoom) and qualities. Zoom lenses are built into many regular digital cameras.

~ by onlinecamerawarehouse on June 7, 2010.

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