Wondering what some of the technical jargon mentioned on the site is? Below is a list of the more common photography acronyms and phrases. Where possible a link to more in depth literature is provided.


AF (Autofocus): A function of a camera (and usually lens) that enables a subject to be brought into focus by detection of a sensor inside the camera. There are usual two types of Aufofocus; Single, where once focus is gained it is locked and Continuous, which locks on the target and retains focus even if the target moves. Wikipedia

Aperture: The internal opening of a lens that is adjustable to alter the amount of light that enters the camera. The value of measurement is called the f number or f-stop. A wide aperture (low f number) allows more light to enter the camera enabling a faster shutter speed and/or lower ISO. A smaller aperture allows less light through slowing down the shutter speed and/or raising the required ISO. The aperture setting also changes the Depth of Field, the wider the aperture, the smaller amount of picture is in focus. Wikipedia

Aperture Priority: A camera shooting mode where the photographer sets the aperture and the camera assigns the required shutter speed determined by the cameras metering. Allows the photographer to determine the depth of field. Wikipedia

APS-C: Smaller (Crop) Sensor as found in many digital cameras, Nikon call this a DX Sensor. An APS-C sensor is smaller than a Full Frame sensor. Being smaller, it increases the effective Focal Length of a lens but also has a disadvantage as less can fit in the frame when photographing landscapes and large subjects. It is usual that a crop sensor not only has less quality than a Full Frame but also has less ability to shoot in lower light (High ISO). Wikipedia


Bokeh: Comes from the Japanese word meaning blur and refers to the part of the photo that creates pleasing out of focus areas due to depth of field. Wikipedia

Bracket(ing): Taking multiple shots of the same photo with different exposures. Photographers use this technique to either guarantee a correct exposure in difficult lighting conditions and/or to merge photos to create a HDR photo. Wikipedia


Chromatic Aberration: This occurs to an image when a lens fails to deliver all the colours to the same point on the sensor (or film) creating fringes of colour on the edges of differences of contrast which is usually the edge of a subject. Higher quality lenses create less Chromatic Aberration. Cameras and editing software can correct minor blemishes. Wikipedia

Crop Sensor: See APS-C


DoF (Depth of Field): The distance between the nearest and furthest part of the photo that is in focus. Depth of Field is controlled by adjusting the aperture to adjust the part of the photo that is in or out of Focus. Wikipedia

DSLR (Digital SLR): Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera. A digital version of the older film based Single Lens Reflex camera. The camera incorporates a mirror which provides the scene through the viewfinder, when the shutter button is pressed, the mirror moves upwards and allows the light to be directed onto the sensor via the shutter activation. Wikipedia

DX: Nikon’s term for it’s APS-C Sensor. Wikipedia

Dynamic Range: The amount of detail captured in the dark shadows and bright highlights. Higher quality cameras generally have a larger dynamic range. Wikipedia


EXIF: Exchangeable Image File Format. A standard used by many image file formats which contain information relating to the shot. The EXIF data usually includes camera model, lens model, time/date and exposure settings. Wikipedia

Exposure: Exposure is the amount of light that is directed to the sensor (or film) by a combination of ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. Adjusting one of the these settings has a knock-on effect on the other two. For instance, using a smaller aperture demands a higher shutter speed or ISO. Wikipedia

Exposure Compensation: A technique for overriding the exposure determined by camera. Settings are normally available in 1/3 f-stop increments in both + and – directions. This enables the photographer to control the exposure in situations where there is a large difference in light levels and contrast where the cameras Metering would over compensate. Wikipedia


f number or f-stop (f/x.x): This is the figure of measurement of the aperture of the lens. It is a ratio of the lens focal length to the diameter of the opening of the lens. The lower the number, the larger the opening resulting in more light entering the camera. Wikipedia

Full Frame: A Full Frame Camera has a sensor size equivalent to an older 35mm Film camera. Full Frame sensors are generally higher quality than Crop Sensors and also have advanced low light capabilities. Wikipedia

FX: Nikon’s (and many others) name for their full frame DSLR. Wikipedia



HDR (High Dynamic Range): High Dynamic Range photography is a process to take multiple photos at different exposures (bracketing and combining them to create a single photo showing all tonal ranges. Wikipedia


IQ (Image Quality): A perception of the quality of an image that has been shot. IQ can change due to various parameters of a camera/lens combination. Wikipedia

ISO: ISO is an acronym for International Standards Organisation which is a body that sets and controls many industry and commercial standards. Camera film was assigned different ISO standards (also known as ASA) which meant how sensitive it was to light. The lower the number the less sensitive the film was to light. Higher numbers meant the film was more sensitive to light, however, the picture would develop grain. In the digital age, the same ISO values have been used and can be changed on the camera settings. Similar to film, the higher the ISO value the more grain (known as noise) is apparent. Higher quality sensors tend to have a better high ISO capabilities with lower levels of noise. Wikipedia


Megapixels: One Million Pixels. Wikipedia

Metering: A camera uses metering to calculate the required exposure by detecting light levels. There are different types of metering available depending on camera manufacturer and model. Wikipedia


Noise: Noise is generated by the sensor and can be created by various different aspects (such as using a high ISO. It is usually an unwanted aspect of digital photography. Higher end cameras and sensors can control noise far better. Certain amounts of noise can be reduced using Noise Reduction. Wikipedia

Noise Reduction: Noise Reduction is a process to remove unwanted noise from an image. This can be carried out in camera and also in software when editing photos. Wikipedia


Overexposure: The result when a photograph is captured using an exposure that is higher than is required. This causes the highlighted bright areas to be “blown out”. Post recovery on overexposed highlight areas can become impossible as a full white section of a digital photo contains no data to recover. Wikipedia


Pixel: A Pixel is a single point of light in an image. A digital image is made up of many thousands of pixels. Camera sensors sizes are measured in a unit of Megapixels (1000 Pixels). Wikipedia


RAW File: A RAW file is a digital file that has little amount of processing by the camera and is data that has been captured by the sensor. Having this format enables the photographer to have greater control over the editing of the file. It is similar to that of the negative used by film processing. Wikipedia


Shutter: The shutter is the device inside a DSLR that allows light to be passed through to the sensor, changing the time that the shutter is open (Shutter Speed) changes the amount of light that is processed by the sensor. Wikipedia

Shutter Priority A camera shooting mode where the photographer sets the shutter speed and the camera assigns the required aperture/em> determined by the cameras metering. Allows the photographer to control a required shutter speed for certain instances, for example, ensure a bird in flight is not blurred by too slow a shutter speed. Wikipedia

Shutter Speed: The amount of time the shutter allows light to be available to the sensor (or film). WIkipedia



Teleconverter: A secondary lens attached to a lens to magnifiy the image being projected to the cameras sensor. For example a 2x Teleconverter will magnify a 300mm lens to become a 600mm lens. There are disadvantages of Teleconverters in that they not only reduce (sometimes only slightly) the image quality but also decrease the amount of light entering the camera. Wikipedia


Underexposure: The result when a photograph is captured using and exposure that is lower than is required. This causes shadows areas to be very dark. Sometimes, photographers will purposely underexpose images to avoid the highlights being overexposed. Dark shadow areas can contain data that can be recovered in post editing. Wikipedia


VR (Vibration-Reduction): This is Nikons name for it’s image stabilisation technology. Lenses with VR technology are able to move the lens elements to counteract camera shake helping to take photos with a low shutter speed. Wikipedia


White Balance: The ability to adjust the colour balance of the sensor so that the colours match what the human eye sees. White Balance is a method to ensure that the white captured is indeed white and not an off colour. Cameras can be set to automatically detect the correct white balance or can be set manually to match various shooting conditions. Shooting in with RAW file format gives the photographer the opportunity to change the White Balance during the edit stage. Wikipedia