Friday, May 2, 2014

The Glossary of Analogue Photography

Film photography can be complex and the various terms can be difficult to understand. Here's a glossary contains an alphabetical you will find some of the common terms used in analogue photography.

120 – A popular film format for still photography used in various medium format cameras. The 120 film format is a roll film which is nominally 60 mm wide (in fact, about 61 mm).

135 – Also called 35mm is a film format used for still photography. It is a cartridge film with a film gauge of 35 mm, typically used for hand-held photography in 35 mm film cameras.

Agitation – Gently moving developing chemicals to evenly process film or photographic prints.

Aperture – The aperture stop of a photographic lens can be adjusted to control the amount of light reaching the film or image sensor. In combination with variation of shutter speed, the aperture size will regulate the film's or image sensor's degree of exposure to light.

Aperture Priority – Often abbreviated A or Av (for aperture value) on a camera mode dial, is a setting on some cameras that allows the user to choose a specific aperture value while the camera selects a shutter speed to match.

ASA – American Standards Association is a now defunct rating system for film speed. The ASA system has been replaced by the universal ISO system. However, it is still a commonly used term.

Auto Exposure (AE) – The aperture and shutter speed are automatically determined for exposure.

Auto Focus (AF) – The ability of a camera lens to automatically find a point of focus.

Bellows – The pleated expandable part of a camera, usually a large or medium format camera, to allow the lens to be moved with respect to the focal plane for focusing.

Black and White (B&W) – A term referring to a number of monochrome forms in photography.

Photo by Barry Yanowitz

Blur – Subjects within the frame move during a long exposure and are recorded during movement. This will cause them to look out of focus and blurry.

Bulb (B) – A setting on the shutter speed dial of a film camera that allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as the shutter release is held.

Burning- A darkroom technique that singles out specific pieces of a photograph to add more light to the exposure of the photographic paper, thus darkening the spot.

C-41 – A chromogenic color print film developing process. C-41 is the most popular film process in use.

Caffenol – A photographic alternative process whereby caffeine, sodium carbonate and optionally Vitamin C are used in aqueous solution as a film and print photographic developer.

Cable Release – A cable that plugs into your cameras shutter release button and eliminate camera shake from the force of pushing the shutter release by hand.

Canister – A container for 35mm film for use in cameras.

Close-Up – Photographing an object at very close range.

Color Negative – When shooting in color film, the negative will show exact opposites of the original color. When printed to photographic paper, the negative becomes a positive and shows in full color on the print.

Color Reversal – Color film that shows the actual color on film. This film cannot be printed through common darkroom techniques as it requires a negative to positive, but can be shown through a slide projector.

Composition – Putting together various visual elements to create a unique organization or grouping to achieve a unified image or photograph.

Contact Print – A photographic image produced from film; sometimes from a film negative, and sometimes from a film positive. The defining characteristic of a contact print is that the photographic result is made by exposing through the film negative or positive, onto a light sensitive material that is pressed tightly to the film.

Contact Sheet – A set of multiple images printed at the same size as the negative, on one page. In film photography, contact sheets were often used to quickly scan for the highest quality images from a roll of film.

Contrast – The relative difference between light and dark areas of the photograph.

Crop – Enlarging a photography to purposely cut-off certain edges of an image when printing negatives.

Cross Processing (or Xpro) – The deliberate processing of photographic film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film. The effect was discovered independently by many different photographers often by mistake. Color cross processed photographs are often characterized by unnatural colors and high contrast.

Photo by arigatogozaimasu

Darkroom – A room without lights that is used to develop and process film and prints.

Depth of Field (DoF) – The area between the nearest and furthest objects that appear to be in focus. This technique is controlled by the aperture of a camera lens.

Developer – The chemical that removes the first layer of emulsion from film or photographic paper and allows the image to be seen.

Developing Tank – A light-tight container used for developing film. A developing tank allows photographic film to be developed in a daylight environment. This is useful because most film is panchromatic and therefore can not be exposed to any light during processing. Depending upon the size and type, a developing tank can hold one to many roll or sheet films.

Dodging – Blocking light from an area of the photographic print to lessen the amount of exposure and lighten that particular spot.

Double Exposure – Exposing film twice allowing for two similar or different images to overlap on a single negative.

Photo by Sandy Phimester

E-6 – A chromogenic photographic process for developing Ektachrome, Fujichrome and other color reversal (slide) photographic film.

Emulsion – A light sensitive layer on film that contains one or more silver halides and captures an image when exposed to light.

Enlarger – A system used in the darkroom that exposes the negative to photographic paper to create a positive image. Enlargers can be moved up and down to make images larger and smaller and focused to provide maximum detail.

Exposure – The amount of light that is allowed to hit photo film or photo paper, creating an image on the respective source.

Exposure Meter – A light reading that gives you specific information regarding which shutter speed and aperture setting to use for a consistent, well-toned image.

Exposure Setting – The combination of aperture and shutter speed used to expose film.

F-number – Numbers on the aperture of a film camera lens.

F-stop – Another term for the numbers on the aperture of a camera lens. May also be referred to as “stops.”

Fast Film – Film with a high sensitivity to light. The term is usually used when referring to films ISO 800 and higher.

Film – An emulsion covered strip or sheet that captures light when exposed and leaves a negative or positive image.

Film Holder – A device that holds one or more pieces of photographic film, for insertion into a camera or optical scanning device such as a dedicated film scanner or a flatbed scanner with film scanning capabilities. The widest use of the term refers to a device that holds sheet film for use in large format cameras, but it can also refer to various interchangeable devices in medium format or even 135 film camera systems.

Film Scanner – A device made for scanning photographic film directly into a computer without the use of any intermediate printmaking.

Film Speed – The number given to various films to describe how fast the film can capture an image when exposed to light. This number is most commonly referred to as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) film speed.

Film Swap – Double/triple exposures made by swapping film between two (or three) persons.

Photo by Wei Jie

Filter – Tinted glass, gelatin, or plastic discs that fit onto a camera lens or under the lens of an enlarger to emphasize, eliminate, or change color, contrast, or density.

Fisheye Lens – An extreme wide-angle lens that rounds edges instead of maintaining sharp rectangular edges.

Fixer – A chemical used during film processing and print development that makes the film or print no longer sensitive to light.

Flash – A brief and sudden burst of light used to create more lighting for a particular scene or subject.

Focal Length – The distance between the point of focus and the film plane when the lens is focused at infinity. Lenses generally have the focal length engraved on the front of the lens and is expressed in millimeters.

Frame – May refer to the areas of a single exposure on film, an element in the scene, like a doorway, that frames the subject, the boundaries of the camera’s viewfinder, or a decorate border around a final print.

Grain – Fine silver crystals in the light-sensitive emulsion of film that react when exposed to light and turn black. The slower the film speed the finer the grain and the faster the film speed the more present the grain. Larger film formats can be enlarged without much grain is noticed whereas 35mm formats may see noticeable grain beyond an 8 x 10 inch print.

Photo by raquel fialho

Gray Card- A neutral card that is helpful for measuring light and leads to consistent exposures.

Half Frame – A type of 35mm camera in which the film plane is half its normal width. This allows you to expose twice as many frames as usual on one roll of 35mm film by taking two portrait-rectangular shots where there would normally only be one landscape-rectangular image.

Highlight – The brightest area of a photograph.

Incident Light – Light that falls on a surface and is not reflected by it. An incident light meter would be used to measure this for proper exposure settings.

Instant Film – Film which develops into a photographic print without the aid of outside chemistry, usually in 90 seconds or less.

Interchangeable Lens – Some camera systems offer the ability to swap lenses at any time and offer a magnitude of lenses for any given situation. Most commonly found on single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras.

ISO – Stands for “International Organization for Standardization,” a universal system to measure film speed. You will see this used as ISO 100 for 100 speed film.

K14 - The chemical process for developing Kodachrome slides.

Large Format – The largest film available to capture the most detail possible with negatives that start at 4 x 5 inches in size.

Leader (film) – The small tab at the front of a 35mm film canister to help load film into the camera.

Lens – The lens is a combination of pieces of glass with curved surfaces that receive light rays from an object and are able to form an image on the focal plane. A lens may have variable vocal lengths for zooming, macro, or wide angle shots.

Lensbaby – A line of camera lenses for SLR cameras that combine a simple lens with a bellows or ball and socket mechanism for use in special-effect photography. A lensbaby can give effects normally associated with view cameras. The lenses are for use in selective focus photography and bokeh effects.

Lens Hood – An accessory that attaches to the front of a lens to prevent light flares and help protect the glass from scratches.

Lens Speed – The widest aperture setting possible for a camera lens. A fast speed also allows for faster shutter speed settings.

Light Leak – A hole or gap in the body of a camera where light is able to "leak" into the normally light-tight chamber, exposing the film or sensor with extra light. This light is diffuse, although parts within the camera may cast shadows or reflect it in a particular way. For most purposes this is considered a problem. Within the lomography movement it is seen as a positive effect, giving photos character.

Photo by Green Isaac

Light Meter – An instrument used to measure light for proper exposure settings.

Lomography – A community of Lomographic photographers who advocate creative and experimental film photography.

Long Exposure – Involves using a long-duration shutter speed to sharply capture the stationary elements of images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring the moving elements. The paths of moving light sources become clearly visible. For best results, practice in low-light conditions or with a very slow film speed.

Macro Lens – A lens with extreme close-up abilities to focus on small objects and make them larger-than-life sized.

Medium Format – Camera system that uses larger film that 35mm, commonly sized at 6 x 4.5 cm, 6 x 6cm, and 6 x 7cm.

Midtone – The area of the photograph that is average in tone. Also referred to as “mid gray.”

Multiple Exposure – Exposing a single frame more than once to create layers of images.

Negative – Film that is developed and shows the opposite of a printed image. In black and white photography, white on the negative will print black and black will print white.

Overexposure – An image that receives too much light for an exposure. Overexposed images are bright, often with a complete loss of detail and contrast in the highlights.

Panning – Using a slow shutter speed and tracking the movement of the subject with the camera lens. If done successfully, the background will have motion blur while the subject appears to be in clear focus.

Parallax Error – An instance where the camera lens and viewfinder do not see the exact same frame, causing the photographer to compensate for the offset. Close-up photography suffers heavily from the parallax error as it makes it difficult to compensate and focus correctly. Problematic for viewfinder cameras or twin-lens reflex cameras.

Pinhole Camera – A simple camera without a lens and with a single small aperture, a pinhole – effectively a light-proof box with a small hole in one side. Light from a scene passes through this single point and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box.

Point and Shoot (PnS) – A camera with fully automatic settings, allowing the user to create photographs without setting a shutter speed or aperture.

Polaroid – A brand of instant film and cameras which has sadly ceased production as of February 2008.

Print – A piece of photographic paper with a finished image on it.

Processing – Producing the image on exposed film or photographic paper with proper chemicals to develop it.

Rangefinder – An instrument that measures the distance from the photographer to a particular object and assists in proper focus.

Redscale – A technique of shooting photographic film where the film is exposed from the wrong side, i.e. the emulsion is exposed through the base of the film. Normally, this is done by winding the film upside-down into an empty film canister. Depending on the type of film used, the resulting colors seem to range from maroon, to red, to orange, to yellow.

Photo by Red Kiwi Photography

Reflex Camera – A camera with a mirror directly behind the lens that captures the image and reflects the image to a viewing screen.

Roll Film – Film with a light proof backing that is rolled on a spool and contains a strip of film to allow more than one exposure.

Safelight – Lights found in a darkroom that will not expose light sensitive materials. Film cannot be exposed to any light before development, not even safelights.

Self-Timer – A feature on many cameras that allows the user around 10-seconds before the shot is taken. This is typically used in shots that involve the photographer.

Shutter – Blocks light from traveling through the lens and exposing film until it is opened during exposure. Shutters can be made of blades, a curtain, plate, or other movable covers and control the amount of time light is allowed through the lens.

Shutter Priority – An automatic setting that will automatically change the aperture depending on the chosen shutter speed.

Shutter Speed – How fast or slow the shutter opens and closes to expose the film behind the lens. Plays a pivotal role in motion photography.

Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) – A camera with a single lens that is used for viewing and capturing the image. The image is reflected with a moveable mirror in the camera body that allows the photographer to see directly through the lens. The mirror flips up when the shutter is opened to allow light to expose the film.

Slide Film – Film that when processed shows a positive image. Also known as “reversal film” or “transparency film.”

Snapshot – An image captured informally, usually with a disposal or quick shot camera.

SOOC – An acronym for Straight Out Of the Camera. Meaning the images that come directly from the camera or film without photoshop.

Spot Meter – A type of light meter used to read reflected light in a concentrated area of a scene.

Stop – Short name for the numbers on an aperture, called f-stops. Going “up a stop” or “a stop down” refers to increasing or decreasing the aperture size.

Subject – The main object in the photograph, such as a person or thing. May also refer to the theme or topic discussed in the photograph.

Sunny 16 – A method for achieving exposure without a light meter on a sunny day by setting the aperture to f/16 and the appropriate shutter speed.

Through The Lens (TTL) – Refers to a light meter built into the camera that measures light through the lens and single-lens reflex cameras that allow the photographer to see exactly what the lens is pointed at.

Tonal Range – Various shades of gray between white and black.

Toy Camera – A simple, inexpensive film camera.

Tripod – A three-legged post used for support heavy cameras during operation and minimizing blur during long exposures. May also be used for panning and tilting techniques.

TTL Meter – A light meter built-in cameras to provide accurate light metering directly through the lens.

Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) - A camera having two separate lenses of the same focal length – one for viewing and focusing; the other for exposing the film. The lenses are mechanically-coupled so that both are focused at the same time.

Underexposure – An image that does not receive enough light for a proper exposure. Underexposed images are dark, often with a complete loss of detail and contrast.

View Camera – A type of large format camera that typically uses negatives sized 5” x 7” or 8” x 10”. These cameras offer the most control of any camera type.

Viewfinder – The viewing device on the camera that allows the photographer to see the approximate or exact view of the camera’s lens. Only single-lens reflex cameras give the user the ability to see exactly what the camera sees.

Viewpoint – The camera’s location relative to the subject.

Wide Angle Lens – A camera lens with a wider view than that of a standard lens. Wide-angle lenses have a focal length smaller than the diagonal size of the film format.

Zone System – An exposure method developed by photographer Ansel Adams for determining optimal exposure and development for each negative.

Zoom Lens – Variable focal length lens that allows the photographer enlarge or reduce the image.

(Information from Guide to Film Photography and Wikipedia)

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