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Glossary "M"

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A flash sync connection found on some older cameras that was used for bulbs, not electronic flash.
A focusing mode on many cameras and lenses that allows close up pictures of subjects to be taken with a range of 20cm or less. Digital compact cameras are particularly suited to macro work because they have such short focal lengths. Many models can focus as close as 1cm.
A lens that is designed to give optimum resolution at close subject distances.
APS films are coated with an invisible magnetic coating that doesn't affect picture quality but holds Information Exchange (IX) data which can be read by cameras and processing machinery. Data recorded could include the user's selected print format, date, time and information about the shooting conditions to helps the printing machine achieve optimum print quality. This is known as Print Quality Improvement (PQI).
The magnification of a lens compared to the naked eye. A 10x magnification will make the distant subject appear 10x bigger than it is. A common mistake that many binoculars buyers make is to rush out and buy the most powerful they can find. While this sounds like a wise move it isn't. Powerful pairs are difficult to hold steady and the view is also dimmer. It's far more difficult to view a wobbly and dim object at 16x power than having an 8x power with a bright and steady view .
An exposure mode where you set the shutter speed and aperture using either a hand held or built in meter, or knowledge, to help you determine what values to set.
Method of focusing the lens, using either a rotating mechanical action or a motorised method, where you enter a distance on the camera. Cameras with mechanical actions often have an aid to help you focus correctly. On some cameras you see the image split in half and as you adjust focus the two halves come together. When the images are lined up the focusing is achieved. Others have an LED indicator that blinks when out of focus and either goes out or stays on when focusing is correct.
An full override to a camera's automatic exposure where you select the aperture and shutter speed.
An oval, rectangle or freehand selection tool found in most image editing programs that adds a dotted lines around the area you select.
An image editing device used to cover part of a digital image that can then be left untouched while you apply a filter or effect to the rest of the picture.
An adjustable frame that's also known as an enlarging easel. It holds printing paper under enlarger during exposure and can be set to cover the edges to form an even white border.
Cardboard rectangle with rectangle or oval window that you lay over a print to neatly frame the picture.
The grid of sensors on a CCD that is used to capture an image in a digital camera.
Dull paper finish that provides a viable alternative to glossy.
This is the widest aperture that can be selected on the camera and is an indication of the speed of the lens. On zoom lenses two figures are often given. One is for the lens at the wide-angle setting and the other is for the telephoto setting.
A camera mode that allows two or more pictures to be taken on the same part of the film. Digital photography allows this to be achieved much easier and far more acuratley so it's less important to have nowadays.
A medium-format camera uses roll film to take pictures with 6cm width. These often have interchangeable backs so film can be swapped mid-roll and Polaroid or a digital back can be used to instantly proof a composition or exposure. Medium-format cameras are costly and often bulky so tend to be used by enthusiasts or professionals.
A unit of computer memory that's equivalent to 1024 Kilobytes.

Not to be confused with Megabit (Mb - note the lower case 'b'), which is one thousand times smaller.
Used to describe a digital camera that has a CCD that delivers more than one million pixels.
The part of the computer that processes the image. If you intend doing a lot of image manipulation buy a computer with at least 32Mb or RAM, but ideally with 128Mb or more.
Most digital cameras have a slot that takes a removable memory card such as MemoryStick, SmartMedia or CompactFlash. The camera uses this card to store pictures. Several sizes can be purchased from 2Mb to up to 1Gb depending on the make and type.
Removable memory card introduced by Sony that's currently available in sizes up to 64Mb.
The phenomenon that occurs when objects with different spectral power distributions display colours that seem to match. The main reason for metamerism is that colours are sensations, not properties of an object.

A person's eyes can register one and the same sensation from an infinite variety of combinations of different light frequencies. But computer systems need a much larger number of colours to process than human beings, since the human eye is more sensitive to any changes in some parts of the spectrum, while computers distribute the steps evenly across the whole colour spectrum.

Especially when trying to match colours of a photo on the screen to a print of the image, it's important to remember that you can only match colours in a given light.  Something that matches in incandescent light may not match in fluorescent light.
Cameras and exposure meters can take readings of the light levels in a number of ways, from basic to advanced methods. The most basic is Centre-weighted (CW) or average metering that takes a measurement from most of the image area. A more sophisticated version of this is Partial (P) metering that has a narrow area of measurement that is still based on the centre of the image and Spot (S) that can measure from as little as 1 of the image. The most commonly used in more advanced cameras now is Matrix, also known as Multi-pattern (MP) or segment metering, that takes readings from several parts of the scene and produces a calculated average. Buying advice In most cases the basic metering with an auto camera is fine, especially if you have the sun behind you or it is overcast. But when you start to try more advanced shots, such as the sun behind the subject for a backlit halo effect or an archway with light streaming through the pillars or a spotlit subject against a dark background, you may find the standard meter will let you down. If you can see yourself shooting subjects like this, buy a camera that lets you switch over to spot or multi-pattern metering.
Printing method developed by Irish manufacturer Alps that's similar to dye sublimation as it uses a heated element to fuse the ribbon ink to special paper for high resolution and longer life.
Where extremely small photographs are produced from use in microfilm documents. Not to be confused with Photomicrography.
A tone that appears between a scene's highlight and shadow areas.
This is the smallest aperture that can be selected. A minimum aperture of  f/22 is fine for most photography and the setting only really needs to be smaller to allow exposure at slow shutter speeds when using faster film in brighter conditions.
A measure of the colour of light whos values are found by taking one million and dividing it by the colour temperature in kelvins. A 5500k light source, for example, has a mired value of 182 (1,000,000/5500). When you know the mired values it's easier to calculate which filter is needed to balance one type of film with different lighting.
You can attach Wratten filter to the front of the lens to shift the colour. For example if you used a daylight film that's balanced or 5500k in tungsten lighting that's around 3400k you'd need to add a filter with a Mirad value of -112.
This is technically known as a catadioptric lens and has an unusual construction of mirrors and lens elements. As well as glass elements there are mirrors at the front and rear to fold the light as it enters the lens. Although this results in a body that's a little wider than normal, advantages are: 1. The lens is usually only half the physical length a regular lens of the same focal length would be, and 2. It's much lighter. Disadvantages are: 1. There is no adjustable aperture, so the user is forced to take all of his photos at a permanent aperture setting, usually f8, but sometimes even f11, which means you need plenty of light for taking photos; 2. Practically all mirror lenses use manual focus; 3. Highlights that are out of focus are, in some situations, shown as doughnut shapes (although some actually like this characteristic and consider it an advantage, not a disadvantage).
An extra feature found on only a few cameras that is used to lock the viewing mirror in the up position while the shutter is fired. The benefit is almost no vibration as well as the ability to keep up with an ultra-fast motor drive. This feature tends to be more common on medium format cameras because the mirror is larger and creates more vibration as it bounces out of the way of the film plane.
Functions on cameras that can be selected to offer a rage of features such as metering pattern, exposure setting or focus type.
A light that is positioned close to an electronic flash so you can roughly preview the effect of the flash before taking a photo. Usually supplied with studio flash although a few on-camera guns have a strobe to assist.
A small box that connects the computer to a phone line so the user can access the Internet or send and receive faxes. Internal and external versions are available to convert the digital data to analogue signals ready to be transmitted down the line.
Coarse cross shaped pattern that you'll see when you try and scan photos that are printed in newspapers or magazines. Some scanners have a descreen mode that will help soften the effect to reduce the harshness of the pattern.
The computer screen which is available in several sizes from 14in up to 22in. The size is misleading as the measurement is taken across the diagonal and also includes a couple of inches that are hidden behind the plastic surround.
A studio flash unit that has its flash tube and charging circuitry all contained within the head.
A general description of black & white photography, but can also describe a single colour image.
A large format camera that is built on rail. Its lens is mounted on a front panel, the film is held in a rear panel and they're connected with bellows.
Image manipulation software that merges one image into another. You choose two images draw maps around them and the software takes the mapped reference points and cleverly locates similar points on the other picture before blending the two. This technique is regularly used by the media as fun way off showing us what the offspring of two famous people could look like.
A battery powered mechanism that winds on the film after each picture is taken. Older cameras had connection terminals on the base of the camera where a motor drive (generally two frames per second (fps)or faster) or powerwinder (below two frames per second) could be attached. Most modern cameras have integral motor drives.
Focusing system in some of the latest autofocus cameras that takes measurements of  the subject distance  from various parts of the image area, rather than just the centre. Some cameras allow manual selection of this point so you could, for example, set it up to focus on a zone to the left of the image if the subjects you shoot are regularly off centre.
A file format that compresses video, animation and sound.
MPO, or Multiple File Format, is a camera image format, first used on Fujifilm's Real 3D W1 camera. A file contains two or more separate jpeg images. On the Fujifilm camera it's a stereo pair that gives the realistic 3D effect when combined at the viewing stage.

On some Ricoh cameras MPOs are created from the Multi-Target AF mode, where seven photos are taken in quick succession, each at slightly different focus points. The files can then be merged to create a focus stack, with incredible depth-of-field.
A measure of resolution for lenses and/or film.
A metering system that uses several sensors to take readings from various sections around the image and calculates an exposure based on these values. This type of metering, also known as matrix or segment, is better for difficult lighting situations, such as backlit subjects, as it can determine when several sections are brighter than the area that you have focused on and adjust to compensate. Some of the more sophisticated versions couple up to the focusing system to offer even more precise exposure. Basic systems have as few as two metering zones where advanced ones can have eight or more segments.
A way of presenting material that brings together still images, video, text and sound files. Multimedia presentations can be interactive and be as basic or as advanced as you desire.
A technique where several pictures are exposed on one frame of film. This can be used for special effects such as shooting the same person so they appear twice in the same photo. Its also useful for shooting, say, a photo of the moon using a long lens and taking a second shot of a landscape with a wide angle. The two combined will look surreal. You normally have to do this manually and on cameras with automatic film advance it can be very tricky to achieve. Fortunately some cameras have an automatic multiple exposure mode.
A flash technique where you fire the flash several times to increase the exposure allowing a smaller aperture to be selected. It can also be used for special effects; the most common being strobe like effect, following the swing of a golfer or the flapping wings of a nocturnal bird. It can also be used to light the same subject in several positions in the frame - to allow a multiple exposure effect.
A camera focusing system that uses several areas of the screen as focusing points. This ensures better results when the subject is off centre.
Found on Nikon Coolpix digital cameras, this mode takes a series of shots but will only save the sharpest one to the memory card, which can help to achieve a sharp shot in low light where flash photography is prohibited.