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Digital Photography Glossary

Photography Glossary - M

Understand the terminology of digital photography, digital printing and digital imaging so that you will become a better photographer. Photographic terms such as Macro Lens, Manual Mode, Megapixel, Metafile, Metamerism, Montage, and more.


Macro Lens

Macro Lens

Macro lenses are used for close-up or “macro” photography. They range in focal lengths of between 50-200mm. These lenses obtain razor-sharp focus for subjects within the macro focus distance, but lose their ability for sharp focus at other distances. These lenses enable the photographer to obtain life-size or larger images of subjects like wasps, butterflies, and flowers.

Click here to learn more: Understanding Camera Lenses


Manual Mode

Manual Mode is the camera setting mode in which all the functions are controlled by the photographer (i.e. focus, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, flash exposure value, etc.). Manual Mode enables the photographer to specifically change a single photographic setting without effecting the other settings, thereby giving the photographer complete creative control of his camera and therefore the photographic images.

Click here to learn more: Understanding DSLR Camera Shooting Modes



Megabyte (MB) is a data storage value. A megabyte consists of 1000 kilobytes, and each kilobyte consists of 1000 bytes. A byte is a digital (0 or 1) value that constitutes a specific form of information.



Megapixel is a measurement value of how many millions of pixels are available to create an image. Megapixels aren't to be used to determine absolute resolution.


Memory Card

A Memory Card is a memory storage format that fits into digital cameras and allows for the images to be saved directly to the card. Later, the images can be offloaded from the Memory Card. The card can then be erased and used again to capture more images.



Metafile is an additional data file that contains ancillary information about the photograph, i.e. the ISO, f-stop, GPS data, shutter speed, photographer's identity, etc. Metafile information is stored in TIFF, RAW, JFIF and EXIF image file formats. Metafile data allows for any individual who did not take the photograph to know every piece of technical information about the photograph.



Metamerism is an inkjet printing phenomenon when the printer uses a color mixing combination that appears accurate, but when light falls directly on the print, a strange wave of color is perceived. Metamerism is especially pronounced with black inks. This problem occurs because the printer creates the final tones using different coloring sources, and the various gray midtones that are created by the blending of colors will react and therefore appear visibly different when viewed under various light sources (i.e. fluorescent, incandescent, daylight). Metamerism is most pronounced with glossy photo paper, and the only true way to avoid metamerism in your prints is to use special printer drivers that do not mix the colors in the fashion that would produce this light-source-specific color cast. You can also use dedicated B&W inksets or special paper. However, one problem with the special inksets is that it hard to go back to using color ink afterwards (it‘s very hard to clean the inkwells). So a dedicated Black & White printer is probably the best answer.



Partial Metering Mode

The term "Metering" is used to describe the process of measuring the light in a given scene and reading an exposure value so that you can set an effective exposure. Metering can be done with a light meter or a TTL (Through-The-Lens) metering system built into the camera.

Click here to learn more: Learn all about Exposure Metering Modes


Middle tone/Midtone

Middle tone/Midtone is the middle gray in the pure white to pure black tone scale. Midtone also refers to the range of colors that aren't mixed with black (the shadows) or white (the highlights).



Moiré is a pattern visible in digital images, usually waves that appear when the repetitive nature of a detail exceeds the resolution of the camera's ability to differentiate the distinctive details in the actual subject.



Montage is the editorial (and therefore creative) ordering of a series of related or unrelated images in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

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