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Glossary "P"

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This is the most common type of head found on tripods, and allows you to adjust the camera position in two or three ways. A two way pan & tilt head has a pan option to allow the camera to be rotated along a horizontal path and a tilt option to point the camera in up or down directions. A three way pan & tilt head also includes a swing control to change the camera from horizontal, landscape, format to vertical, portrait, format. The size and build of heads vary from model to model, so give them close inspection. The adjustment should be smooth to ensure accurate control - some models, often labeled video heads, use fluid to ensure a smoother operation. Check that there is no wobble once the handle and locking nut are secured. A few tripods come with a ball & socket head that is preferred by some photographers because it allows a quick adjustment of pan, tilt and swing movements in one go, but the camera platform is often smaller and overall they're more fiddly to control precisely.
Black & white film that is sensitive to all colours of the visible spectrum.
A technique where you follow the subject through the camera lens along a horizontal path.
Many digital cameras have a built-in program that will stitch multiple images together to create a wide panoramic image.
A specialist camera designed that produces an elongated image by exposing using more than one film frame. A 35mm version will use one and a half frames to create a 24x54mm image and a 120 film type can capture 6x17cm images. When printed these images look stunning especially landscapes which is the main use for this type of camera. There are other panoramic models made that revolve to record a full 360 view. This can be joined and viewed digitally so you look as though you are in the centre and as you scroll with the mouse you turn around inside the view.
A mode on many compact cameras and some SLRs that masks the film so that a narrow strip is recorded. The result is then printed on elongated paper to give an impressive 10x4in widescreen style photo. This works better when the camera's lens is a wider angle. You don't have to have a panoramic mode to obtain this style photo. Cropping an existing negative that was printed on 10x8in paper would give the same results, but is obviously more expensive. Alternatively, if you ensure the subject is in the middle of the frame you could ask your lab to make panoramic pictures from your film when processed.
A parafocal lens, after having achieved focus at a telephoto focal length, offers the possibility of zooming back to a wide angle length, meanwhile maintaining focus on the subject. Non-parafocal lenses have to be re-focused after zooming back.
The variation in viewpoint of a camera's optical viewfinder and that of the taking lens. This increases as you go closer to the subject.
A meter reading found in some cameras that takes a measurement from around 10% of the central image area.
An automatic exposure mode which chooses a high ISO sensitivity to help balance dark backgrounds with your subject in flash pictures.
One of two popular methods of camera focusing systems, the other is active. Passive has the advantage over active because it isnt fooled by glass in between the camera and the subject. Its also not dependent on subject distance. It works by measuring the subjects contrast and as such its main downfall is when the subject has no contrast. In such situations, such as snow scene or low light, the lens will focus in and out and may never reach sharp focus. Fortunately many cameras with this system have manual override.
A method of drawing around a subject using a Pen tool to create an editable path. This can be turned into a selection so the subject can be copied or edited.
Another name for a shift lens that has a sliding front panel so the lens can be raised or lowered from its normal position to correct for verticals when shooting from high or low angles. Some also have a swing facility to control depth of field using the Scheimpflug rule.
Stands for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association - a group of 25 companies in 1989 who set worldwide standards for compact removable memory cards. These included Type I, II and III cards and were used to store images in a professionally specified camera or add extra functions to a computer. They have largely been superceded by the much smaller CompactFlash and an adaptor is available for older cameras to take the newer cards.
A multi sided glass prism housed in the roof of an single-lens reflex camera so that the image that's seen be the lens can be viewed through an optical viewfinder above the lens. The light enters through the lens is reflected up by a reflex mirror to the prism and across to the eye.
The name used to describe any accessories that connect to a computer such as card reader, printer or scanner.
The rating of the acid or alkalinity of a solution in a scale from 0 to 14. It's based on the hydrogen ion concentration in a solution. Chemical solutions with higher PH ratings are increasingly alkaline, while lower ones acid. Distilled water is neutral with a PH rating of 7.
Taking photos that tell a news story. Photo journalism is closely related to documentary photography and street photography, but distinguishes itself from those types of photography by being dependent on timeliness (the shots a photo journalists takes are to illustrate news stories and therefore they have to be available for publication quickly) and objectivity (the scenes depicted in the images should be a correct representation of the news events they illustrate). A photo journalist is a photographer who often has to take instant decisions, who always carries photographic equipment, and who regularly has to endure discomforts and sometimes even dangers.
A metering cell that converts light into a small charge that was used in older, non-battery meters or cameras to measure exposure.
A format for storing digital photographs at different resolution settings developed by Kodak. PhotoCD can be order when you have a film processed and the lab will scan in the negatives and add them to a CD. One CD can hold up to 100 images, each stored in five resolution levels. You're asked, when opening a picture, what resolution version is required.
A bright tungsten bulb with a colour temperature of around 3400K that is sometimes used in portrait studios. Most studio photographers prefer the convenience of electronic flash.
Where an image is formed by placing an object directly onto printing paper and exposing it to a light source. Many photographers and artists have tried this technique including pioneers Thomas Wedgwood and Fox Talbot along with the Surrealist, Man Ray, who renamed them Rayograms.
Extremely close up photography using bellows or extension tubes to obtain a magnification larger than lifesize.
Photographs taken using the camera attached to a microscope.
A light sensing device use in drum scanners that's capable of measure extremely low levels of light.
The leading image manipulation software for professional and advanced digital image makers. Now in version CS5.
Another name given to the single, light-sensitive area on a CCD that records unique image detail.
A bitmap image format used by Mac computers.
Lens aberrations that make the borders of an image bow slightly inwards to the centre forming a shape like pincushion.
Short for picture element. A tiny coloured square that forms part of an image. Digital images are made up of thousands or millions of different coloured pixels that appear as continuous tones when viewed by the naked eye.
Occurs when pixels are large enough to be seen individually.
Name given to the type of computer system such as Apple (Mac) and Windows (PC). Many peripherals such as cameras, scanners and printers come with a dual CD that allows downloading, scanning and printing software and drivers to be installed on MAC or PC computers. USB products are often compatible with both types of computer platform.
Term used to describe the latest USB peripherals that can be connected and set up while the computer is left switched on. The manufacturer’s dream of easy connectivity hasn’t fully been realised and the term is often abused as plug & pray!
Software that either allows users to access peripherals, such as a scanner, through their image manipulation software or adds features to an existing application, such as filters or third-party add ons.
The Point & Scroll is a USB Mouse with two buttons and a scrolling wheel. Both buttons are easily programmed via a simple control panel, so users can adjust the mouse to their preferences, whether it be a single click, double click, drag or contextual menu activation. The mouse is comfortable for both right and left hand users and the buttons may be adjusted for left hand users.
Light waves that are restricted to vibrate in one plane and at right angles to their direction whereas non polarised light is random.
A filter with a grey appearance that (partially) blocks polarised light. It's used in front of the lens to reduce glare and enrich colours. There are linear and circular polarising filters. Circular polarising filters work best with autofocusing systems. These filters rotate in their mount, by which method the photographer controls the amount of polarised light that reaches the film or sensor. Keep in mind that a polarising filter only works when used at an angle to the light. When shooting landscapes, for instance, try to shoot at an angle of about 90 degrees to the sun.
A film holder, named after the company who made the first instant film. It fits on the back of a medium-format camera or slides into a large format film holder that takes instant-picture material.
Kodaks name for variable contrast paper.
The conventional shape binoculars where light is bounced through 90 using a series of prisms. The other common type, used by many of the slim pocket style models, is roof prism that allows a straight tubed body.
An automatic exposure mode which chooses a large aperture to help blur distant objects, which is considered pleasing for portraiture.
A film (transparancy) that, when viewed, is like the original in tone and colour, unlike a negative film where tones appear reversed.
Language used to control high quality laser printers to ensure text and graphics appear correctly when printed.
A focusing system that is power controlled by pressing a button or lever on the camera body.
A flash mode that's used to reduce the power of the output to quarter or half power. Some of the more advanced flashguns can reduce the output to 1/64 power which is useful for macro photography.
An indication of resolution for digital pictures taken by a camera or scanned in.
A black & white film or paper developer that includes the developing agents phenidone and hydroquinone.
Red, green and blue.
A computer peripheral that’s used to output prints from digital images or data files. Most inexpensive printers are inkjet models that squirt out tiny jets of ink onto paper to make up the photograph. More expensive models tend to be either laser printer or dye-sublimation printers.
A darkroom technique used to give more exposure to certain areas of the photograph during printing.
A removable back for the film chamber that adds additional camera controls such as autobracketing and time lapse.
An automatic exposure mode that sets the camera's aperture and shutter speed often referred to on camera dials and panels as P. What sets it apart from Auto mode, is that all the other functions, including exposure compensation, can still be adjusted.
A program mode thats used to adjust the shutter and aperture combinations that were set automatically by the camera in its program mode.
A technique used to reduce subject contrast and film speed by overexposing and underdeveloping.
A technique used to increase contrast and film speed by underexposure and overdevelopment. Also known as uprating.