Same as any art form, digital camera photography too has its own nomenclature. It can be quite difficult to navigate this minefield of jargon. However, our list of common camera-related terms will help you out when shopping for or learning to operate your brand-new camera. How else will you figure out what all the photography guides are talking about?
- Aperture – The aperture size regulates the amount of light allowed into your photo. A bigger aperture size will let in more light while a smaller aperture size will suffice in bright shooting conditions. Usually measured in f-stops, a small f-stop refers to a wide opening and a large f-stop signifies a narrow one. Aperture also has a bearing on the focus of the image. Wide apertures give a mellow unfocused background. Narrow apertures result in sharper and more focused images.
- Focal Length – The focal length regulates how zoomed in your final image will appear. It has a direct bearing on the angle of view and magnification used. A camera with a greater focal length will give you a closer shot of distant images than one, i.e. low on focal length.
- ISO – ISO is a measure of how sensitive the camera’s image sensor is. Doubling of ISO corresponds to doubling of the camera lens’s light sensitivity. A low ISO gives the best results in good light conditions. A higher ISO makes it possible to shoot images in low-light but possesses a significant amount of “noise” or grain in the photo. You need to adjust a camera’s ISO, shutter speed and aperture to get the right exposure.
- Shutter Speed – The shutter speed of a camera indicates how long the shutter remains open to click a photo. A slower shutter speed can capture more light but may result in motion blur. A faster shutter speed can capture fast moving objects. It is recommended that a tripod is used for shooting at lower shutter speeds.
- White balance – White balance adjusts the camera’s color readings to retain the whiteness of white color irrespective of the source it stems from. Image sensors may capture blue, green or yellow cast in the white from a cloudy sky or that of a tube light. White balance corrects this.
- Zoom – Always pick optical zoom lens instead of a digital zoom lens. Digital zoom lenses digitally manipulate your image to render a zoomed in effect. On the other hand, optical zoom enables the lens to reach outwards to capture distant subjects closer. Digital zoom also messes up the image quality where optical zoom does no such thing.
- Manual Mode – Manual mode cameras allow its user the freedom to manipulate the exposure. You can select the ISO, aperture and shutter speed instead of relying on the predetermined settings of the Auto mode. There are also semi-manual modes with shutter speed priority and aperture priority individually which lets you adjust the shutter speed and aperture respectively. Manual modes also enable the photographer to focus on their subject of choice manually instead of depending on Autofocus.
- Aspect Ratio – The aspect ratios offered by a camera only comes into play if you intend to print the image you take. It is the ratio of height to width. An image with an aspect ratio of 5 x 8 is wider than a 5 x 6.
- Panorama – A camera that offers panorama setting has the ability to stitch together multiple photographs taken adjacently into a single wide-angle photograph. It is useful for photographing vast landscapes.
Once you get the hang of these terms, you can begin to delve deep into the subject of photography and skill yourself in the art.