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Glossary

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The lens focal length divided by effective diameter of the aperture gives the f/number that's used to indicate the aperture value. Each full f/number, also called a stop or f-stop, halves or doubles image brightness and some lenses can also be controlled in half or third steps. The most common f/numbers are 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 and 22. They are usually preceded by an "f". The larger the f-number, the smaller the lens opening. In the aforementioned series of numbers, f/1.4 is the largest opening and f/22 the smallest. The smaller stops (larger f numbers) give the greater depth of field in a photograph, and vice versa.
A film that produces a photograph with significantly different colours than our eye sees, such as Ektachrome Infrared.
A modem that can also be used to send or receive fax messages.
A digital method of softening the edge of a selection or brush to ensure a less sharp edge or seamless blend when cloning, painting and pasting images.
A printing paper that doesn't have a resin coated surface. It takes much longer to wash and dry but the results can look better and it has better archival qualities.
A folding view-camera that's usually made of wood or light metal for use on location.
As you look through the viewfinder of an SLR it should give you as near as possible what will appear in your image. Because of the design, position and size of mirror/pentaprism, etc., this is not always possible and you often see less than 100%. The higher this figure is, the more accurate the results will be. It's usually only professional cameras that give 100% accuracy.
A distance, or angle, measure given by binocular manufacturers that's similar to angle of view on a lens. It's usually indicated in degrees or as a width in meters at 1000m. A pair of binoculars with, for example, 6 or 105m at 1000m indicates that you will see a 105m span when you're viewing a subject that's 1000m away. A wider field of view is better for looking at wider expanses - birds in flight, horse racing, starry skies, etc.
Common name for an electronic document or digital image.
The way that a file is saved so it can be seen and is compatible with other applications/computers. Digital images are saved in a format such as TIFF, EPS, JPEG, PNG, BMP or Photo CD that can then be opened on different computers.
The amount of data held in a file determines its size. High resolution digital images can be 50 megabytes, for instance, while a text document may only be a few hundred kilobytes or less. Images can be compressed to save space, and folders of text and pictures can be grouped and reduced in size using programmes such as Stuffit, WinRAR or WinZip.
A way of reducing harsh contrast by adding light to darker or shaded areas of the subject using a reflective material or flash.
The light-sensitive material used in most non-digital cameras to record an image.
This is used to describe the area of a film used by a camera to record a photo. A 35mm format camera records a 24x36mm image on the film. Medium format cameras record anything from 6x4.5cm to 6x17cm on 120 and 220 roll film. When choosing a medium-format some photographers prefer the square 6x6cm format because it offers an alternative shape to the conventional oblong, but also saves you having to think in a portrait or landscape way. The cropping can be done later when printing the results. As the format increases, potential quality improves, while the number of pictures that can be recorded on a roll of film decreases. You can shoot 15 pictures on a 6x4.5cm camera, 12 on a 6x6cm camera and 10 on a 6x7cm camera and just 4 on a 6x17cm camera.
A two-sided frame that holds a sheet of film on either side for use with large format cameras.
The area in the back of the camera where film is positioned during exposure.
A unit used to record digital images onto transparency or negative film.
A peripheral that scans slides or negatives and converts them into high resolution digital images.
Used to indicate the light sensitivity of a film as ISO. Digital cameras also use the ISO rating to indicate the CCD sensitivity.
Most cameras now set the speed film automatically using DX coded film cassettes, but if there's a dial you can usually override. This can be used to uprate a film or adjust to suit your shooting preferences or to bring an out of calibration exposure meter back in line.
The range of films that can be used by the camera. Most modern cameras set this speed automatically using DX coding, some have manual settings that have a slightly wider acceptance range. The range quoted is for the maximum that can be used.
A rotating set of four icons on the base of an APS film cartridge that indicates what stage the film is at unexposed, partly-exposed, fully-exposed but not processed and processed.
Glass or plastic item that goes in front of the camera or enlarger lens to either absorb and remove selected wavelengths of light or add special effects such as soft focus, starbursts or multiple images. There are different ways of attaching filters, for instance screwing a round filter in front of the lens, or sliding a square or rectangular filter in a filter holder which is attached to the lens with an adapter ring.
Part of a software programme or plug-in for a programme that is used to alter the appearance of a digital image. Countless options are available to distort, blur, sharpen or add artistic effects.