These are designed specifically for holding camera gear, with a padded interior separated into compartments with padded dividers which you can usually rearrange to suit your kit. Camera bags fall into a handful of main types: Backpacks are the largest and designed for carrying a large quantity of kit over some distance. They’re also good […]
Digital cameras come in a multitude of different types and sizes, and some of the jargon can be quite unhelpful. For example, ‘compact’ cameras aren’t necessarily compact and the real difference is that they have non-removable lenses. DSLRs and CSCs are both examples of interchangeable lens cameras, or ILCs, and these are differentiated by their […]
Most cameras have a hotshoe for attaching flashguns and other accessories. These are ‘hot’ because they have the electrical contacts needed to connect with and trigger the accessory that’s been added. A cold shoe is simply the same kind of mounting plate but without the connections. For example, they’re used for attaching video lights (which […]
Carbon fibre is very light and very strong, so it’s popular in the tripod market, where balancing weight and rigidity is especially important. Carbon fibre is expensive, however, so many tripod makers offer both aluminium (cheaper but heavier) and carbon fibre versions of their tripods. Usually the carbon fibre is used only in the legs. […]
The main part of a tripod is the three legs, but most also have a centre column that extends upwards still further for extra height.
This is photographic lighting which is, as the name suggests, on all the time. This is in contrast to flash, which fires in a very brief, bright burst at the moment the camera shutter opens.
Where an object in a photo is cut out from its surroundings using a selection or a mask so that it can be added to another image or placed against a plain (usually white) background.
Most advanced cameras offer a custom settings menu for changing the behaviour of the camera’s controls to better suit the way you like to work. For example, you might want to change the direction of the control dials, or the order in which bracketed exposures are taken.
Tool used to adust the contrast and brightness of an image without ‘clipping’ highlight or shadow detail. The shape of the curve affects the brightness and contrast of different tonal ranges in the photo. A classic ‘S-shaped’ curve is steeper in the middle, increasing midtone contrast, and flatter in the shadow and highlight regions.
Another name for ‘mirrorless’ cameras and used to distinguish them from digital SLRs. They are ‘system’ cameras in that they take interchangeable lenses and accessories – just like a digital SLR. However, they don’t have a DSLR’s mirror mechanism, and this ‘mirrorless’ design makes them more compact.
Used to work out the effective focal length of lenses on cameras which don’t have full frame sensors. You multiply the actual focal length by the crop factor to get the effective focal length. The crop factor of an APS-C camera is 1.5, so a 50mm lens has an effective focal length of 75mm.
Trimming images to remove unwanted detail at the edges or make them fit the aspect ratio of screens or specific printing papers or to improve the composition of a photo.
Wireless flash system used by Nikon to control one or more external Speedlights from one place. Speedlights can even be combined in ‘groups’ for more power or more sophisticated lighting effects.
A suite of plug-ins sold by software publisher MacPhun and including Intensify, Tonality, Snapheal, FX Photo Studio, Focus and Noiseless. It’s a Mac-only suite and still on sale, though MacPhun appears to have transferred its attention to its new image-editing software Luminar.
Adobe’s online image sharing, storage, synchronisation and collaboration service. Many of Adobe’s workflow tools now rely on its Creative Cloud services.
You own the copyright in any photo you take, though if you photograph a model or an important building, you may not have the right to use your photos commercially without their permission (or ‘release’). Some cameras can embed a copyright message automatically in each photo’s metadata.
A type of perspective distortion caused by tilting the camera upwards to photograph tall buildings. It’s worse with wideangle lenses because they let you stand closer, so you tilt the camera even more. The only solution is to compose the shot with the camera completely level.
A special selection and adjustment tool used by the Google Nik Collection plug-ins, Control points operate over an adjustable circular radius and select only tones similar to the area under the central target. You can use them to adjust Brightness, Contrast, Structure, Saturation and more.
A wheel on the camera body which you turn with a finger or your thumb to change one of the camera settings. The control wheel’s function will depend on the mode or function you’ve selected. More advanced cameras have two control wheels for quicker adjustments.
A colour filter used in black and white photography to change the shade of grey that colours are reproduced as. They’re called ‘contrast’ filters because they can change the contrast (in shades of grey) between different colours.