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Digital Photography Glossary

Photography Glossary - D

Understand the terminology of digital photography, digital printing and digital imaging so that you will become a better photographer. Photographic terms such as Density Range, Ddepth of Field, Diffuser, Digital Sensor, Digital Zoom, DPI, and more.


Daylight Fill-in Flash

Fill-in Flash

This is a flash photography technique in which the photographer uses the camera's flash (dedicated or built-in) to even out the contrast of a subject while shooting in the bright sunlight.


Density Range

Density Range measures the difference between an image's minimum density (highlights) and maximum density (shadows) on a film negative, film positive (slide/transparency) or a photographic print.


DOF - Depth of Field

Aperture and Depth of Field

Depth of Field (DOF) is the front-to-back zone of a photograph in which the image is razor sharp. As soon as an object (person, thing) falls out of this range, it begins to lose focus at an accelerating degree the farther out of the zone it falls; e.g. closer to the lens or deeper into the background. With any DOF zone, there is a Point of Optimum focus in which the object is most sharp. There are two ways to describe the qualities of depth of field - shallow DOF or deep DOF. Shallow is when the included focus range is very narrow, a few inches to several feet. Deep is when the included range is a couple of yards to infinity. In both cases DOF is measured in front of the focus point and behind the focus point. DOF is determined by three factors – aperture size, distance from the lens, and the focal length of the lens.



Diaphragm is the part of a camera lens in which the aperture is housed and controlled. The diaphragm works to allow light to only enter the camera through the lens.



Flash Diffusers

Diffuser is a device that fits on a light source (photo flood, flash unit, etc.) that diffuses the light source, thus providing a softer, reduced light.


Digital Camera

Camera Controls Front View

The Digital Camera is a photographic device that records images via a CCD or CMOS image sensor, instead of a piece of light-sensitive film. Digital cameras convert an image into digital information that can then be further manipulated using purely digital techniques.

Click here to learn more: Camera Controls


Digital Noise

ISO Sensitivity and Image Quality

Digital noise, akin to film grain in analog photography, is the electronic signal that appears in the film image when the image sensor can't discern the difference between the signal ("the subject") and the baseline.

Click here to learn more: Learn How ISO Sensitivity Works


Digital Sensor

A Digital Sensor is the actual piece of digital technology that records your photograph; the digital equivalent of a frame of film.


Digital Zoom

Digital Zoom is a faux telephoto zoom extension in which a digital camera extends the lens's telephoto zoom through increased image size approximation. A digital zoom crops an image at what the approximate optical zoom would magnify to, and then discards the outlying information. Digital zooms then use interpolation to magnify the image, but increased digital noise and expansion artifacts degrade the resultant image quality. Contrarily an optical zoom uses a telephoto lens to acquire a larger photographic image rather than just cropping and enlarging the image as in the digital zoom.



Dithering is the technical terms for describing the outside elements (noise, subject movement, etc.) that affect the way a computer (or digital camera) processes an image.



Dodging is the darkroom technique that is used to lighten up a specific piece of a photograph during the print exposure step when the negative is projected onto photo paper; achieved effortlessly in Photoshop these days.

Click here to learn more: Dodging and Burning Technique



Printer Resolution

DPI stands for dots per inch (resolution); a digital photography term that measures the number of dots that are printed per square inch to make up a digital image.



Duotone is the printing process that employs the color halftone of an image and superimposing a contrasting halftone to reproduce the full image. This printing technique is used to bring out the midtones and highlights; the most common colors used are blue, yellow, sepia and red.



Dye is a color chemical compound used for inkjet photographic printmaking. Inkjet dyes are dissolved from a solid to liquid and then sprayed on to the output medium (paper, plastic, fabric, etc.). Dye inks are usually bright, have a wide dynamic color range, but have a limited life span.


Dye-Sublimation Printer

A type of inkjet printer technology in which the ink pigment is heated to a liquid-state before being applied to the printing surface (usually photo paper, but could be standard photocopier paper).


Dynamic Range

Dynamic Range describes the ratio between the maximum (true black) and minimum (true white) tonal range of an image capturing or reproduction device (i.e. a camera, a scanner, a printer).

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