Camera and Camcorder Terms and Definitions  

by Matt Hawkins, 08/02/2012
Categories : Tutorials & Guides

Here is a list of common camera and camcorder terms which you should be familiar with. Many of them are applicable to both analog and digital photography. Understanding what they mean will allow you to make the best use of your camera's features.

An optical defect in a camera lens causing it to form images that are distorted, blurred or lacking in sharpness.

AF (Autofocus) Lock
A camera feature used to fix the focus and prevent the autofocus mechanism adjusting it. This allows you to set the focus on an object and maintain that setting even if the object, camera or lighting conditions change.

The camera aperture is the hole through which light enters before hitting the film or image sensor. The size of the aperture is measured using F numbers (also known as F-Stop) and the larger the number the smaller the opening. The size of the aperture and the shutter speed determines the amount of light eentering the camera (exposure).

CCD Charge-Coupled Device
CCDs are a type of image sensor popular in digital imaging. They are used in digital cameras and camcorders. The size of the sensor in a camera is often measured in fractions of an inch. Larger sensors can yield higher quality images as they can collect and record more light from a scene but a larger sensor generally means a more expensive camera.

EXIF stands for "Exchangeable Image File". This is metadata that is stored within digital image files such as JPEG and TIFF. It records metadata such as shutter speed, date and time, focal length, exposure compensation and metering pattern. EXIF data is useful when organising your photos as it can provide lots of information about the camera settings used when it was taken.

Exposure referes to the total amount of light collected by a cameras sensor to create an image. In a film based camera this is the amount of light falling onto the photographic film. In a digital camera this is the amount of light falling onto the cameras image sensor. The amount of light collected is critical to the quality of the image you obtain. Too much light and the image will be over-exposed (too bright). Too little and it will be under exposed (too dark). Exposure is measured in "lux seconds".

A shoe is the small, metal horse shoe shaped connector usually found on the top of some cameras and camcorders. It allows you to attach accessories such as lights, microphones, meters and flashes. A "hot" shoe is one that provides electrical power from the camera to the attached accessory.

Shutter Lag
Shutter lag is the time between pressing the shutter release button and the photo being taken. On some cameras it can amount to seconds. This lag is highly undesireable because it means your subject can move or change before the image is captured as intended. You would expect a smaller lag on a more expensive camera.

Shutter Speed
Shutter speed determines how long the cameras shutter stays open. Slow shutter speeds allow more light into the camera. Shutter speeds are measured in seconds and fractions of seconds. It is important that the camera does not move while the shutter is open and this is harder to achieve for slow shutter speeds where the shutter open for a longer period of time.

Author : Matt Hawkins  Last Edit By : Matt Hawkins
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