‘Alpha’ is the generic brand name used by Sony for its interchangeable lens cameras. This can be confusing because Sony makes cameras in two types – SLT (single lens translucent) and mirrorless models. Both are Alphas, but the Alpha A9 (mirrorless) and Alpha A99 II (SLT) are entirely different cameras with different lens mounts and […]
The lens mount used by Sony’s Alpha SLT cameras.
Aspherical lenses offer better correction for many common lens aberrations than regular spherical lenses. Lenses with a spherical profile are easier to grind into the correct shape, but aspherical lenses have a more complex profile that’s more difficult and more expensive to make. Many modern lenses use moulded aspherical elements instead to get round this. […]
An apochromatic (APO) lens is designed to offer improved correction of chromatic aberration and spherical aberration using specialised materials and combinations of lens elements. It’s a selling point for lenses, though only indicates the lens design used and isn’t really a guarantee of good performance on its own.
Many tripod heads come with quick release camera plates, and while some are specific to that tripod maker and tripod, which can be annoying, Arca Swiss plates use a standard design that means they should be interchangeable across tripod brands. It’s a good selling point in a tripod head.
Cheaper tripods use aluminium legs which keeps costs down but does add to the weight. This isn’t usually a problem if you’re travelling short distances or working from the back of your car, but if you’re taking a travel tripod on a vacation or hiking any great distance, a more expensive carbon fibre tripod will […]
This is a new autofocus technology being introduced by Nikon in its consumer-level lenses. It used different autofocus actuators to its existing AF-S (Supersonic Wave) lenses. The AF-P system uses stepper motors for a fast, quiet and smooth autofocus action that’s especially well suited to video, where you don’t want fast, sharp focus movements or […]
This is a very simple type of exposure reading where the camera’s light meter just measures the total amount of light in the whole scene. It often leads to underexposure because bright areas in the scene have a disproportionate effect. Today’s digital cameras offer a range of more sophisticated exposure metering patterns and only a […]
On simpler cameras the Auto ISO option simply increases the ISO setting in poor light to keep shutter speeds high enough to avoid camera shake. On more advanced cameras you can program in both the maximum ISO you want to use and the minimum shutter speed, which makes Auto ISO much more useful.
Practically all cameras have automatic focusing systems where they can check the focus at different points around the frame and then adjust the lens’s focus so that that point in the scene is precisely in focus. You can let the camera choose the autofocus (AF) point automatically or select it yourself (manual AF point selection). […]
This is where the camera measures the light levels in the scene using its in-built light meter, works out the exposure value and then sets a shutter speed and lens aperture to give the correct exposure. Practically all cameras have auto exposure systems and its only the more advanced models which offer manual exposure.
Mac-only HDR software developed in conjunction with HDR specialist Trey Ratcliff. It can work with single images or merge a series of bracketed exposures. You can apply one of many different preset effects or create your own with the manual controls.
A video file format commonly used by Sony and Panasonic cameras. It’s an efficient file format for high-definition video, keeping file sizes relatively small while keeping the quality high. It uses a complicated directory structure, though, so that you don’t get simple self-contained video files in the way you do with other video formats.
The professional term for image cataloguing, and often used in photographic or design studios managing large numbers of images on a commercial basis. They may include not just photos but illustrations, logos and other graphics, hence ‘assets’ rather than photos.
This the picture’s proportions as width versus height. DSLR sensors have a 3:2 ratio, so that photographs are 3 units wide to 2 units high. Most compact camera sensors have a slightly squarer 4:3 aspect ratio. It doesn’t matter what the units are – the ratio stays the same, so a photo could measure 3 […]
A rear LCD screen that can be flipped out and swivelled to face in any direction. This can be especially useful for filming video clips and for composing still images in confined spaces or at awkward angles. Some cameras offer tilting LCDs instead. These have a more restricted range of movements (up and down) but […]
Any unwanted digital flaw in a photo, such as exaggerated sharpening and edge ‘halos’ around objects, banding or ‘posterisation’ due to excessive image manipulation or sensor spots exaggerated by localised contrast or HDR processes.
Another name for the ‘low pass’ filter fitted in front of most camera sensors. It’s designed to prevent digital artefacts such as moiré patterns and colour fringing caused by interaction between fine linear or rectangular patterns in real-world subjects and the camera’s rectangular grid of photosites.
Analog Efex Pro is part of the Google Nik Collection. It’s a plug in which offers a selection of ‘analog’ film styles which mimic a variety of film types, darkroom processes and ageing effects. It’s also possible to choose these effects manually and build your own preset styles.
A term now used to design old-fashioned chemical processes to capture images rather than digital – so you can get ‘analog’ cameras, ‘analog’ films and ‘analog’ image effects which replicate the look of these old processes.