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A comprehensive alphabetical list of photographic terms and meanings.
"C" Format:- The film is 24 mm wide, and has three image formats:
H for "High Definition" (30.2 × 16.7 mm; aspect ratio 16:9; 4×7" print)
C for "Classic" (25.1 × 16.7 mm; aspect ratio 3:2; 4×6" print)
P for "Panoramic" (30.2 × 9.5 mm; aspect ratio 3:1; 4×11" print)
The "C" and "P" formats are formed by cropping. The full image is recorded on the film, and an image recorded in one aspect ratio can be reprinted in another.
The "C" format has an equivalent aspect ratio to a 135 film image. Most APS cameras (with the exception of some disposable cameras) can record all three formats; the format selection is indicated on the film by a series of exposed squares alongside the image area or recorded on the magnetic coating depending on the camera. In the absence of an operator-specified format, the machine printing an APS roll will use these indicators to determine the output format of each print.
CRC (Close Range Correction System):- means the lens optimizes itself as the distance changes. This is done with "floating elements" that move in relationship to others during focusing. This is most needed on macro and fast wide-angle lenses like the 35mm f/1.4 AI-s and 105mm F/2.8 AF-D Micro. The benefit to this is that it allows wide- angle and macro lenses to focus closer than they could otherwise while retaining great sharpness.
"Classic" format:- one of the three selectable Advanced Photo System print formats; identical to the 2:3 aspect ratio used in 35 mm photography and suitable for most general-purpose shots.
Camera Angles:- Various positions of the camera (high, medium, or low; and left, right, or straight on) with respect to the subject, each giving a different viewpoint, perspective or visual effect.
C-41:- Kodak's standard chemical process for developing color negative film.
Cable release:- flexible cable used for firing a camera shutter. Particularly useful for slow shutter speeds and time exposures, when touching the camera may cause camera vibration and blurring of the image.
Cadmium sulfide cell (CdS):- photo-sensitive cell used in exposure meters. Fed by an electric current from a battery, its electrical resistance varies according to the amount of light it receives.
Callier effect:- contrast effect in photographic printing caused by the scattering of directional light from an enlarger condenser system. The negative highlights are of high density and scatter more light with little or no scattering from negative shadow areas, which are of low density. This gives a print higher contrast than a contact print.
Calotype process:- first negative/positive process, invented by W.H. Fox Talbot in 1839. Paper was coated with silver iodide and a solution of silver nitrate and gallic acid. After exposure the paper was developed in a silver nitrate solution.
Camera angles:- various positions of the camera with respect to the subject being photographed, each giving a different viewpoint and perspective.
Camera lucida:- lens and prism system through which a virtual image was seen, apparently appearing on the surface of the drawing paper.
Camera movements:- mechanical systems most common on large format cameras which provide the facility for lens and film plane movement from a normal standard position.
Camera obscura:- origin of the present day camera. In its simplest form it consisted of a darkened room with a small hole in one wall. Light rays could pass through the hole to transmit on to a screen, and inverted image of the scene outside. It was first mentioned by Aristotle in the 4th Century B.C. and developed through the centuries as an aid to drawing.
Camera shake:- movement of the camera caused by an unsteady hold or support. It is a major cause of un-sharp pictures, especially with long focus lenses.
Camera shake:- Movement of camera caused by unsteady hold or support, vibration, etc., leading, particularly at slower shutter speeds, to a blurred image on the film. It is a major cause of un-sharp pictures, especially with long focus lenses.
Canada balsam:- liquid resin with a refractive index similar to glass. It is used for bonding elements in compound lenses.
Candela:- unit which expresses the luminous intensity of a light source.
Candid Pictures:- unposed pictures of people and animals, often taken without the subject's knowledge. These usually appear more natural and relaxed than posed pictures. Capacitor. Electrical component once more commonly known as a condenser. Stores electrical energy supplied by a power source and can discharge it more rapidly than the source itself. Used in flash equipment, providing reliable bulb firing even from weak batteries, and supplying the surge needed for electronic flash tubes.
Candle meter:- also known as a lux and defined as the illumination measured on a surface at a distance of one meter from a light source of one international candle power.
Candle meter second:- unit of illumination related to exposure time, more often referred to as one lux- second.
Capacitor:- device that builds and stores electrical charges. Used in electronic flash and some forms of electronic shutters.
Capping shutter:- extra shutter used in some medium format cameras or in conjunction with a group of extreme high speed shutters.
Carbon arc:- see Arc lamp.
Carbon process:- contact printing process, introduced in 1866, using tissue coated with pigmented gelatin. The paper was sensitized in potassium bichromate and contact printed behind a negative in sunlight.
Carbon tetrachloride:- liquid used for removing grease and finger prints from negatives.
Carbro process:- early color print process using an adaptation of the carbon printing process.
Carrier:- frame that holds a negative flat for enlarging.
Carte-de-visite:- portrait photograph on a mount about the size of a postcard. Introduced in 1854, carte-de- visite became a social craze in many countries during the 1860s.
Cartridge:- A lighttight, factory loaded film container that can be placed in and removed from the camera in daylight. Some nature of film, like the infra red film, MUST not even try to load or unload film in any possible light existence, absolutely must be in total pitch dark condition to avoid fogging on film.
Cassette:- Light-trapped film container used with 35 mm cameras. Elliptically shaped film cassette designed especially for the Advanced Photo System that serves as the sealed, leaderless container for all System film whether unexposed, exposed or processed.
Cast:- Abnormal colouring of an image produced by departure from recommended exposure or processing conditions with a transparency film, or when making a colour print. Can also be caused by reflection within the subject as from a hat on to the face.
Catadioptric lens:- see Mirror lens.
Catchlight:- reflection of a light source in the subjects eyes.
Cathode ray tube:- evacuated bulb of glass containing pairs of plates between which electrodes pass.
Caustic potash:- high alkaline used in high contrast developing solutions to promote vigorous development. Highly corrosive and poisonous.
Caustic soda:- see Caustic potash.
CCD:- Electronic sensor used by all autofocus cameras, capable of detecting subject contrast; also an image-receiving device for video camera.
CC filter:- abbreviation for color compensating filter.CC filters are designed primarily for introducing or correcting color bias at the camera exposure stage.
Cds:-V Cadmium Sulfide (Cell):- A battery powered, current-modulating. light-sensing cell that was quite popular with lots of cameras exposure metering system and external metering devices. May be this extra will help, photo conductive material used in exposure meters as alternative to selenium-based or silicon blue photocells. Its electrical resistance decreases as the light falling on it increases. Cds meters use current from an external power source, such as a battery.
Centigrade:- scale of temperature in which the freezing point of water is equal to 0° and boiling point to 100° C.
Changing bag:- opaque fabric bag, which is light tight and inside sensitive materials may be handled safely.
Characteristic curve:- performance graph showing the relationship between exposure and density under known developing conditions. It can provide immediate comparative information on factors such as emulsion speed, fog level, and contrast effect. The study of photographic chemicals in this way is known as sensitometry.
Chemical focus:- point at which a lens brings the actinic rays to focus. In a modern fully corrected lens, chemical and visual focus coincide.
Chemical fog:- even, overall density on film or paper. It is exaggerated by over-development.
Chemical reducer:- see Reducers.
Chemical vapor:- method of exposing negatives in a closed container to a small amount of mercury of sulfur dioxide. After approximately 24 hours the film is developed normally. It produces interesting yet very inconsistent results.
Chiaroscuro:- light and shade effect. The way in which objects can be emphasized by patches of light, or obscured by shadow.
Chlorhydroquinone:- developing agent contained in warm tone developers.
Chloride paper:- printing paper with a silver chloride emulsion. Much less sensitive than bromide paper. Mainly used for contact printing.
Chlorobromide paper:- photographic paper coated with an emulsion made up of both silver chloride and silver bromide. Used for producing enlargements with a warm, slightly brownish-black image, especially if processed in a warm tone developer.
Chlorquinol:- alternate term for chlorhydroquinone.
Chromatic aberration:- A lens aberration producing an overall blurred image; the inability of a lens to bring all wavelengths of light (especially red and blue) into the same plane of focus; usually present in regular large-aperture telephoto and super-telephoto lenses; does not improve by stopping down the lens; correctable through the use of Iow Dispersion (ED, LD SD) glass. Basically, 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. The inability of a lens to bring light from the same subject plane but of different wavelengths to a common plane of image or focus.
CI:-Contrast Index (sounds like composite index for stock market, ha!) Numeric rating indicating the optimum development contrast for negative materials.
Chromaticity:- objective measurement of the color of an object or light source.
Chromatype:- early type of extremely slow paper used for contact printing.
Chrome alum:- alternative term for potassium chromium sulfate.
Chromogenic development:- process in which the oxidation products of development combine with color couplers to form dyes during processing.
Chromogenic materials:- color photographic materials which form dyes during processing.
Chronocyclograph:- photograph used for the analysis of complex cyclic movements.
Chronophotography:- technique pioneered by Eadweard Muybridge, for recording objects in motion by taking photographs at regular intervals.
Cibachrome:- color printing process that produces color prints directly from color slides.
CIE standard:- system of standards adopted by the Commission Internationale de I'Eclairage, allowing accurate descriptions of colors.
Circle of confusion:- disks of light on the image, formed by the lens from points of light in the subject. The smaller these disks are in the image the sharper it appears.
Clayden effect:- desensitizing of an emulsion by means of exposure to a strong, brief flash of light.
Clearing agent:- processing solution used to remove stains or to cancel out the effect of chemicals left on the sensitive material left from previous stages in the process.
Clearing time:- length of time needed for a negative to clear in a fixing solution.
Clear-spot focusing:- method of lens focusing achieved by examining the image through a transparent area in a specific plane.
Cliche-verre:- designs painted on glass in varnish or oil paint, or scratched into the emulsion of a fogged and processed plate using an etching needle. The results are then printed or enlarged on photographic printing paper.
Click stop:- Ball bearing and recess or similar construction used to enable shutter speeds, aperture values, etc. to be set by touch.
Close-Up:- A picture taken with the subject close to the camera-usually less than two or three feet away, but it can be as close as a few inches.
Close-Up Lens:- A lens attachment placed in front of a camera lens to permit taking pictures at a closer distance than the camera lens alone will allow.
CMYK:- abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. It is the colors used in a four color printing process.
Correction of Aberrations at Close Distance Focusing (or CRC):- In general, lenses are designed for maximum performance at infinity. Accordingly, when the lense barrel is fully extended to the shortest focusing distance, resolution is reduced. Although this is negligible for ordinary lenses, it becomes increasingly important in lense specially designed for close distance photography. Lense designers adopted a system where mechanism moves certain lense components as a unit automatically correcting for aberrations. This assures high lense performance throughout the focusing range.
Coated Lens:- A lens covered with a very thin layer of transparent material that reduces the amount of light reflected by the surface of the lens. A coated lens is faster (transmits more light) than an uncoated lens.
Color Balance:- How a color film reproduces the colors of a scene. Color films are made to be exposed by light of a certain color quality such as daylight or tungsten. Color balance also refers to the reproduction of colors in color prints, which can be altered during the printing process.
Coherent light:- light waves that vibrate with constant phase relationships. They can be produced by a laser or a combination of two prisms.
Coincidence rangefinder:- see Rangefinder.
Cold cathode illumination:- low temperature fluorescent light source common in many diffuser enlargers, which is inclined to reduce contrast and edge definition.
Cold colors:- colors at the blue end of the spectrum that suggest a cool atmosphere.
Cold-light enlarger:- enlarger using cold cathode illumination. A diffusion type of enlarger. These types of enlarger heads scatter the light more evenly across the surface of the negative. One advantage of the cold light head is that it can render more subtle tonal gradations and will minimize the effect of dust and scratches on the negative which are translated to the print.
Collage:- composition employing various different materials combined with original artwork attached to some type of backing.
Colour negative:- Film designed to produce colour image with both tones and colours reversed for subsequent printing to a positive image, usually on paper.
Colour reversal:- Film designed to produce a normal colour positive image on the film exposed in the camera for subsequent viewing by transmitted light or projection on to a screen.
Collodion:- soluble gun-cotton, dissolved in a mixture of ether and alcohol.
Collodion process:- also known as "wet collodion" was invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851-52. It was a great improvement over the earlier calotype process because because of the large increase in speed gained by exposing the plate while still "wet", but it had the disadvantage of requiring bulky equipment.
Color balance:- adjustment in color photographic processes ensuring that a neutral scale of gray tones is reproduced accurately.
Color balancing filters:- filters used to balance color film with the color temperature of the light source and prevent the formation of color casts.
Color circle:- chart of spectrum hues presented as a circle.
Color compensatory filters:- pale colored filters used to warm or cool subject colors.
Color contrast:- subjective judgment on the apparent luminous difference or intensity of two colors when placed close to one another.
Color conversion filter:- see CC filters.
Color developer:- developer designed to reduce exposed silver halides of black silver and at the same time create oxidation byproducts that will react with color couplers to form specific dyes.
Color development:- chemical treatment in the color processing cycle that produces the colored dye image.
Color head:- enlarger illumination system that has built-in adjustable filters for color printing.
Color masking:- pink or orange mask built into color negative film to improve final reproduction on the print.
Color mixing:- practical application of either additive or subtractive color synthesis.
Color Negative:- film designed to produce color image with both tones and colors reversed for subsequent printing to a positive image, usually on paper.
Color reversal:- film designed to produce a normal color positive image on the film exposed in the camera for subsequent viewing by transmitted light.
Color saturation:- purity or strength of color, due to the absence of black, white or gray.
Color sensitivity:- response of a sensitive material to colors of different wavelengths.
Color sensitometry:- method of determining the sensitivity of color materials.
Color separation:- process of photographic an image through filters to produce three black and white negatives that represent red, green and blue content.
Color synthesis:- combinations of colored light or dye layers that will collectively produce a colored image.
Colour temperature:- Description of the colour of a light-source by comparing it with the colour of light emitted by a (theoretical) perfect radiator at a particular temperature expressed in kelvins (K). Thus "photographic daylight" has a colour temperature of about 5500K. Photographic tungsten lights have colour temperatures of either 3400K or 3200K depending on their construction.
CompactFlash:- Most digital cameras with PC Card interfaces use a storage technology called CompactFlash. Standard supported by the CompactFlash Association. CompactFlash is ATA compatible and will fit into any Type II or Type III slot when used with a passive adapter.
Component:- Part of a compound lens consisting of one element (single lens) or more than one element cemented or otherwise joined together. A lens may therefore be described as 4-element, 3-component when two of the elements are cemented together.
Color temperature meter:- device for measuring the color temperature of a light source.
Color toning:- system of changing the color of a black and white photograph by converting black metallic silver into a colored compound:- Color weight:- visual characteristic of fully saturated colors. Some of these colors appear darker than others. A color's visual weight may have a different appearance to the eye to its appearance on film.
Coma:- lens aberration producing asymmetrical distortion of points in the image.
Combination printing:- producing a composite image by printing more than one negative on a single sheet of paper.
Compact camera:- camera designed to allow easy portability or concealment.
Compensating developer:- developer designed to compress the general contrast range in a negative without influencing gradation in the shadow and highlight areas.
Compensating positive:- image on translucent material that can be printed together with the negative of the same image. When combined the result makes printing contrasty negatives easier.
Complementary color:- color of light which, when combined with another specified color in the correct proportions, will form gray or white.
Completion:- state of development when all the exposed silver halides have been reduced to metallic silver, and the image density will not increase with further development.
Composite printing:- alternative term for combination printing.
Composition:- visual arrangement of all the elements in a photograph.
Composition:- The pleasing arrangement of the elements within a scene-the main subject, the foreground and background, and supporting subjects.
Computerised flash:- Electronic flash guns which sense the light reflected from the subject, and cut off their output when they have received sufficient light for correct exposure. Most units must be used on or close to the camera for direct lighting only. And the camera lens must be set to a specific aperture (or a small range of apertures) determined by the speed of the film in use.
Condenser:- Generally a simple lens used to collect light and concentrate it on a particular area, as in enlarger or projector. Frequently in the form of two planoconvex lenses in a metal housing. A condenser, normally of the fresnel type, is used to ensure even illumination of the viewing screens on SLR cameras.
Condenser Enlarger:- An enlarger with a sharp, undiffused light that produces high contrast and high definition in a print. Scratches and blemishes in the negative are emphasised.
Contact Print:- A print made by exposing photographic paper while it is held tightly against the negative. Images in the print will be the same size as those in the negative.
Contrast:- The range of difference in the light to dark areas of a negative, print, or slide (also called density); the brightness range of a subject or the scene lighting. It may be also explained as tonal difference. More often used to compare original and reproduction. A negative may be said to be contrasty if it shows fewer, more widely spaced tones than in the original. Or another way to explain, a difference in visual brilliance between one part of the image and another; without contrast, there would be no such thing as a visible image; a line in a photograph is visible only because it is either darker or lighter in tone than the background; every distinguishable part of the image is the result of a contrast in tonal values.
Contact Printer:- A device used for contact-printing that consists of a lighttight box with an internal light source and a printing frame to position the negative against the photographic paper in front of the light.
Contact screen:- type of half-tone screen in which the dots consist of slightly unsharp halos. Used to make half-tone images.
Contamination:- traces of chemicals that are present where they don't belong.
Continuous tone:- term applied to monochrome negatives and prints, where the image contains a gradation of density from white through gray to black, which represents a variety of subject luminosities.
Continuous Servo AF Focus:- Autofocus term used by Nikon, the AF sensor detection continues as long as shutter release button is lightly pressed and the reflex mirror is in the viewing position. Useful when the camera-to-subject distance is likely to change.
Contour film:- special print film producing a equidensity line image from a continuous tone negative or print.
Contrast:- subjective judgment of the difference between densities or luminosities and their degree of tonal separation in a subject, negative or positive print.
Contrast filters:- filters used in black and white photography to darken or lighten the films rendition of particular colors in the subject.
Contrast grade:- numbers (usually 1-5) and names (soft, medium, hard, extra-hard, and ultra hard) of the contrast grades of photographic papers.
Contrast values:- perceived difference between the light areas (highlights) and the dark areas (shadows) of a scene. The range of contrast levels between the highlights and the shadows is called Contrast Values.
Contrast Grade:- Numbers (usually 1-5) and names (soft, medium, hard, extra-hard, and ultra hard) of the contrast grades of photographic papers, to enable you to get good prints from negatives of different contrasts. Use a low-numbered or soft contrast paper with a high contrast negative to get a print that most closely resembles the original scene. Use a high-numbered or an extra-hard paper with a low-contrast negative to get a normal contrast paper.
Contrasty:- Higher-than-normal contrast including very bright and dark areas. The range of density in a negative or print is higher than it was in the original scene.
Coma:- A lens aberration restricted to off axis image points; the inability of a lens to render point sources of light near the edges of the frame as circular; the points of light appear as comet-shaped blurs (hence the name coma) with the tails flaring toward the center of the image; this aberration is very difficult to eliminate in wideangle lenses with large maximum apertures; improves by stopping down the lens.
Continuous Servo (Nikon's term):- AF Focus detection continues as long as shutter release button is lightly pressed and the reflex mirror is in the viewing position. Useful when the camera-to subject distance is likely to change.
CPU (Central Processing Unit):- The electronic component that controls an electronic product's functions. Essentially, all automatic cameras have at least a CPU to control various functions of the cameras. Some top models have three to five CPU to handle individual task functions - some handle the exposure, one handle the autofocus and so on. The latest on some top models utilising 8 or 16 bits chips now. Newer autofocus lenses have built-in CPUs to relay information relating to focal length, distance info, lens type to the camera body for exposure to AF processing.
Contre-jour:- backlighting. A photograph taken with the camera pointed directly at the light source.
Converging lens:- see Convex lens.
Convertible lens:- compound lens made in two sections, the elements of which are arranged so that when one part is unscrewed it provides a new lens with approximately twice the original focal length.
Convex lens:- simple lens which causes rays of light from a subject to converge and form an image.
Cooke triplet:- one of the most important lenses in lens history, designed by H.D. Taylor in 1893. It consists of three basic elements and has a maximum aperture of 16.3. It is the basic design that most normal focal length lenses of today have evolved.
Copper chloride:- chemical contained in certain bleaches, toners, intensifiers, and reducers.
Copper sulfate:- chemical contained in certain bleaches, toners, intensifiers, and reducers.
Copper toning:- chemical process used for toning monochrome prints. See Toners.
Copyright laws:- laws which govern the legality of ownership of a particular photographer or piece of work.
Correction filter:- filter which alters the color rendition of a scene to suit the color response of the eye.
Coupled rangefinder:- system of lens focusing which combines the rangefinder and the focusing mechanism, so that the lens is automatically focused as the rangefinder is adjusted.
Coupler:- chemical present in different forms in all three layers of substantive color or a chemical incorporated into a developer.
Covering power:- maximum area of image of usable quality, which a lens will produce.
Coving:- plain curved background which has no edges, corners or folds and gives the impression of infinity.
CP filters:- abbreviation for color printing filters.
Critical aperture:- setting at which a lens gives its best performance. The setting offers the best compromise between diffracting due to small aperture and lens aberrations apparent at wide apertures.
Cronographic camera:- camera used to photograph the sun.
Cropping:- Printing only part of the image that is in the negative or slide, usually for a more pleasing composition, in medium format, esp the 6 x 6, some form of cropping is necessary for publishing on A4 magazine format. May also refer to the framing of the scene in the viewfinder.
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.
Crossed polarization:- system of using two polarizing filters, one over the light source and one between the subject and the lens. With certain materials crossed polarization causes bi-refringent effects which are exhibited as colored bands. Used in investigations of stress areas in engineering and architectural models.
Cross front:- camera movement which allows the lens to be moved laterally from its original position.
Crown glass:- low dispersion optical glass.
Cubism:- early twentieth century European art movement characterized by the rendering of forms as simplified planes, lines and geometric shapes.
Curvilinear distortion:- combination of barrel distortion and pincushion distortion.
Curvature of field:- lens aberration causing a curved plane of focus.
Cut film:- negative film available in flat sheets. The most common sizes are 4x5, and 8x10 inches.
Cyan:- blue-green subtractive primary color which absorbs red and transmits blue-green.
Cyanotype:- contact printing process producing a blue image on a white background.
C 41:- Kodak's standard chemical process for developing color negative film, an industrial reference standard.