Compact Glossary of Digital Photography
Glossary: The 20 Most Important Terms in Digital Photography
In photography and especially in digital photography, terms and concepts are often used that can stump even the pros. In order for you to be able to use and understand the jargon yourself, we’ll present you the 20 most important terms in the world of digital photography from exposure bracketing to zoom.
2. How long should the exposure time be?
In general, a not-too-skilled photographer can use an exposure time as long as 1/60 of a second and hold the camera in their hands without camera shake. For taking photos with longer exposure times, it’s necessary to use a tripod.
3. What is image resolution?
Resolution isn’t only important when printing photos. Image resolution describes the detail fidelity of the camera, which is characterised by the number of image elements (pixels) used. Depending on the given application, image resolution is depicted as the number of image elements (pixels), dots per inch (dpi), or dots per centimetre (dpcm).
In digital photography, the term pixel is typically used. For printed images, on the other hand, the dpi value is especially crucial.
In order to end up with a good print result in 20cm format, the resolution should be at least 2400x3600 pixels, i.e. 10 MP.
4. What determines the image quality of photos?
5. What is an image stabiliser?
Since too high of an ISO value can cause image noise, it’s not recommended to use digital image stabilisation.
6. What does the aperture do?
7. What determines the focal length of a camera?
8. What is dynamic range?
9. What is Exif?
Exif stands for exchangeable image file format. When using Exif, additional image information is automatically added to the camera’s digital photos. Examples of this are the date the photo was taken, aperture, exposure time, camera type, or focal length.
10. What is colour balance?
Colour balance is the distribution of colours within an image and an image is only in balance when there is no colour cast visible. Thus, colour balance is only present when all colours are nearly uniformly saturated.
Counterexamples are, for instance, a red colour cast or green colour cast in the image.
11. What is colour depth?
12. What is the “golden ratio”?
13. What does HDR stand for?
14. What is the optimal ISO value?
An ISO value between 400 and 800 is normally no problem to use in cloudy weather. When photographing at night, ISO values over 800 are also common. After raising the ISO value, however, you should take a close look at the first couple of photos on your display in order to be sure that no image noise appears later when editing photos on your computer.
15. What does JPEG mean?
16. What does lens speed mean?
The smaller the minimum f-number, the faster the lens is.
Lenses with an especially high lens speed are called “fast lenses” since the higher quantity of light that hits the sensor allows for the exposure time to be shortened. The maximum aperture of most camera lenses today is between 1:1.4 and 1:5.6. Ultrafast lenses with a value between 1:1.0 and 1:0.7 are only used for special applications in science.
Besides the advantage of a shorter exposure time, less camera shake appears when freehand photographing with a fast lens. A brighter display image can be depicted and the autofocus can focus faster and more exact even in poor weather conditions. However, these lenses are not only larger and heavier, but they are also more expensive.
17. What is RAW format?
If, while photographing, the RAW format is used instead of the JPEG format, the image data from the sensor is saved without being processed and no data is lost. The larger amount of data and colour depth allows more in-depth image editing of the photos at a later point in time.