A Glossary of Photographic Terms: A

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Some of the ready resources: Nikon - Terms, SLRs, lenses || Canon - A & T series SLRs , FD Lenses || Minolta -XK/XD11 || Pentax - LX || Olympus - OM1/OM2 series, Zuiko Lenses || Contax - RTS Series | Hasselblad - Bodies, older lenses | Rollei - bodies
 
3D Color Matrix Meter
Basically, a Nikon pioneered technology first started featured on its flagship model, the F5, will expect more models to include this to fully utilise this. 3D Color Matrix Meter
* evaluates not only each scene's brightness and contrast but, using a special Red Green Blue (RGB) sensor, it also evaluates the scene's colors. Then its powerful micro-computer and database together guide it to unequalled exposure control.

* Currently, 3D Color Matrix Meter will work only with F5 & with D-type Nikkor lenses, other new Nikon models should roll out to fully utilised this exclusive features.

ABC

First featured in Contax (am I wrong?). Also sometimes refer as AEB (Auto Exposure Control). Auto Bracketing control: Metering feature that automatically produces three or four different exposures with one press of the shuttle release. Usually one with the recommended exposure by the camera reading, others at user specified intervals above or below the recommended setting.

ABC

Auto Backlighting Control, metering feature that automatically recognises a subject in back lighting condition and increase the exposure to compensate.

Accessory Shoes - also often called "Hot Shoe". The early flash types were simple metal brackets. To install a flash unit, you just slide the mounting foot of the flash into the accessory shoe. No electrical connection is made between camera and flash - it's just a simple and convenient way to attach the flash unit to the camera. Subsequent accessory shoes have been built as part of the camera and usually reat on top of the camera's pentaprism; others are separate items that you mount on the camera body when you need them. Some like the Nikon early professional camera has special dedicated which was designed around the rewind knob.

Aberration.

Failing in the ability of a lens to produce a true image. There are many forms of aberration and the lens designer can often correct some only by allowing others to remain. Generally, the more expensive the lens, the less its aberrations (More attention to optical quality). While no single lens is called a 'perfect lens'.
The "ideal" lense would reproduce a subject in a faithful, clearly defined image on film. Aberrations, which can be divided into six basic faults, affect the Ideal performance in an optical system.

a) Spherical aberration. Basically, a beam of light passing through a lens parallel to the optical axis converges to form 3 focused image on the film. Spherical aberration is the term for an optical fault caused by the spherical form of a lense that produces different focus points along the axis for central and marginal rays.

b) Curvature of field. This optical defect causes points on an object plane perpendicular to the lens axis to focus on a curved surface rather than a plane.

c) Astigmatism. Rays of light from a single point of an object which is not on the axis of a lense fail to meet in a single focus thus causing the image of a point to be drawn out into two sharp lines, one radial to the optical axis and another perpendicular to this line, in two different planes near the curvature of field.

d) Coma. This optical defect causes the image of an off-axis point of light to appear as a comet-shaped blur of light. Coma, as well as curvature of field and astigmatism, degenerate the image forming ability of the lense at the rims of the picture.

e) Distortion. Even if the first four aberrations were totally eliminated, images could result that still have a distorted appearance. For an example, an rectangle may appear as a barrel or pin cushion-shaped object.

f) Chromatic aberration. This aberration is caused by light rays of different wavelengths coming to focus at different distances from the lense. Blue will focus at the shortest distance and red at the greatest distance. Since the natural rays of light are a mixture of colors, each aberration will give a different value corresponding to each color thus producing blurred images.


Adjustable Camera

Commonly called the manual camera. A camera with manually adjustable settings for distance, lens openings, and shutter speeds. eg Nikon FM series, Carl Zeiss S2, Pentax K1000, Yashica FX-3 super etc.

Adjustable-Focus Lens

A lens that has adjustable distance settings.

Advanced Photo System

A new standard in consumer photography developed by Kodak and four other System Developing Companies - Canon, Fuji, Minolta and Nikon - based on a new film format and innovative film, camera and photofinishing technologies. Generally, APS cameras are more compact in size, weight and enbodied most of the latest and most advance technologies available. There are options in various sizes of print out and it will even provide a thumbnail prints (Contact sheet) for you to select or preview prior to actual printing. There have a different series of lenses and some of the 35mm format AF lenses can even be shared (With limitation or effective focal length will increased). You can say, it is a different system camera all together. So much for the brighter side, but there are drawbacks as well and it is not that economical as I originally thought it supposed to be.

AE (Automatic Exposure)

AE-L (Automatic Exposure Lock)

Auto exposure Lock. Metering feature that used to hold the exposure setting when used in the automatic mode. Used most commonly in situation where off centering of the subject in composition and wish to retain the exposure setting of the subject OR where the level of exposure reading both the subject of interest and the background exposure reading is different eg. back lighting. Used to hold an automatically controlled shutter speed and/or aperture. Recommended when the photographer wants to control an exposure based on a scene's particular brightness area with Center Weighted or Spot Metering.

Agitation

Keeping the developer, stop bath, or fixer in a gentle, uniform motion while processing film or paper. Agitation helps to speed and achieve even development and prevent spotting or staining.

Alphabetical Coding:

Some early lenses such as Nikon and Olympus uses some alphabetical coding to illustratre the composition of their lenses. Fora na exmaple, each ZUIKO Lens is described with an alphabetical prefix and suffix such as F . ZUlK0 AUTO-S, AUTO-T, etc. The prefix represents the number of elements in a lens in alphabetical order. For an instance, "A"=1 element, "B"=2 elements, "D"=4 elements, and so forth. "AUTO" signifies automatic diaphragm. The suffix represents the type of lense: "S": Standard, "W"=Wide Angle and "T"=Telephoto. While another example:
U
(Uns) for 1 lense element

B (Bini) for 2 elements
T (Tres) for 3 elements
Q (Quatour) for 4 elements
P (Pente) for 5 elements
H (Hex) for 6 elements 
S (Septem) for 7 elements
0 (Octo) for 8 elements
N (Novem) for 9 elements
D (Decem) for 10 elements

Ambient Light

The available natural light completely surrounding a subject. Light already existing in an indoor or outdoor setting that is not caused by any illumination supplied by the photographer i.e. not by artificial light source.

Angle Of View

The area of a scene that a lens covers or sees. Angle of view is determined by the focal length of the lens. A wide-angle lens (short-focal-length) includes more of the scene-a wider angle of view-than a normal (normal-focal-length) or telephoto (long-focal-length) lens. Currently, the widest view available is 220 degree (achieved by Nikon's Nikkor 6mm F2.8 fisheye lens - 220 degree; while the narrowest is Nikon, 2000mm F11 Reflex Nikkor, only slightly over 1 degree of view. It can also be explained as the extent of the view taken in by a lens. For any particular film size, it varies with the focal length of the lens. Usually expressed on the diagonal of the image area. Basically, there are three types of angles which can be measured (based on horizontal, vertical and diagonals of the film frame), the lense must be designed to cover the widest angle in the diagonal direction. Thus, the angle of view is the angle between imaginary lines drawn from the opposite ends of the film plane to the second nodal point of the lense. All objects within this angle will be recorded by the lense on the film.

A-PEN

Annealed polyethylene naphthalate-a polyester material used as the base on Advanced Photo System film; thinner, stronger and flatter than the acetate base traditionally used in consumer photographic roll films.

APO

Apochromatic. Having the ability to bring all colours of the visible spectrum to a common plane of focus, within close tolerances, usually refer to a lens with such superior colour correction. Also refer to "ED", "LD", "SD", "UD".

Aperture

Lens opening. The hole or opening formed by the metal leaf diaphragm inside the lens or the opening in a camera lens through which light passes to expose the film. The size of aperture is either fixed or adjustable. Aperture size is usually calibrated in f- numbers-the larger the number, the smaller the lens opening. Aperture affects depth of field, the smaller the aperture, the greater is the zone of sharpness, the bigger the aperture, the zone of sharpness is reduced. The hole or opening formed by the metal leaf diaphragm inside the lens; controls amount of light and depth of field, prevents vignetting and reduces lens aberrations; the size of the aperture is indicated by its f-number, i.e., the ratio of the diameter of the opening to the focal length of the lens; a large aperture is indicated by a small numerical f-number.

Aperture Priority

An exposure mode on an automatic or autofocus camera that lets you set the aperture while the camera sets the shutter speed for proper exposure. If you change the aperture, or the light level changes, the shutter speed changes automatically. Apart from the sport or action arena, aperture priority is the most common & effective automatic preference in photography. It can also explained as automatic exposure system in which the lens aperture is set by the photographer, and the camera sets the shutter speed. Can be used in the stop-down mode with any lens that does not interfere with the metering system.

Aperture ring

A ring, located on the outside of the lens usually behind the focusing ring, which is linked mechanically to the diaphragm to control the size of the aperture; it is engraved with a set of numbers called f-numbers or f- stops.

Artificial light.

Light from a man-made source, usually restricted to studio photo lamp and domestic lighting. When used to describe film (also known as Type A or Type B) invariably means these types of lighting.

Aspherical lens

A lens whose curved surface does not conform to the shape of a sphere; lenses are usually ground or molded with spherical surfaces; because a spherical surface lens has difficulty in correcting distortion in ultra-wideangle lenses or coma in large-aperture lenses brought about by spherical aberration, an aspherical lens is used.

ASA

American Standards Association. Group that determining numerical ratings of speed for US made photosensitive products. eg films. In 1982, its role and its influence was narrow down by the establishment of the ISO (International Standards Organisation).

Aspect Ratio

The ratio of width to height in photographic prints - 2:3 in 35 mm pictures to produce photographs most commonly measuring 3.5 x 5 inches or 4 x 6 inches; Advanced Photo System cameras deliver three aspect ratios as selected by the user.
ATA

ATA- This means the camera supports the electrical interface standard, defined by the PC Card Association (formerly PCMCIA), known as ATA (AT Attachment). This is the mobile computing equivalent of the IDE standard for desktop computers. Most computers have ATA support built-in. ATA is supported by most operating systems like Microsoft Windows 3.1, Windows '95, Windows CE, IBM OS/2, Apple System 7, etc. ATA is supported by most computer manufacturers including IBM, Compaq, Packard Bell, Dell, Gateway 2000, etc.

Auto Exposure Bracketing:

Auto Exposure Bracketing performs automatic exposure bracketing with varied shutter speed and/or aperture.

Autofocus (AF)

System by which the camera lens (most popular) or the camera body (only available in Contax AX) automatically focuses the image of a selected part of the picture subject. The autofocus camera revolution first popularised with the launch of Minolta's Maxxium. Currently, most current SLRs are autofocus based.

AF-I & AF-S lenses

Nikon's new series of AF lenses, involves the intergration of coreless motors into their super telephoto lenses. This gives these lenses quick, ultra quiet autofocus operations. While the AF-S lenses housing a silent wave motor for even quicker and quiet operations than the AF-I lenses, which was being in the stage of being replaced by the newer series.

Automatic Camera

A camera with a built-in exposure meter that automatically adjusts the lens opening, shutter speed, or both (program) for proper exposure.

Automatic iris.

Lens diaphragm which is controlled by a mechanism in the camera body coupled to the shutter release. The diaphragm closes to any preset value before the shutter opens and returns to the fully open position when the shutter closes.

AV

The Aperture value, usually refer to aperture settings.

A Glossary of Photographic Terms Menu - A

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