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Digital Photography Glossary

Photography Glossary - N

Understand the terminology of digital photography, digital printing and digital imaging so that you will become a better photographer. Photographic terms such as Neutral Density, Noise, Narmal Lens, and more.


Neutral Density

Neutral Density Filter

Attaching a neutral density (ND) filter to your lens uniformly reduces the amount of light entering the lens. The ND filter is helpful when the contrast between the highlights and shadows is too great to get a quality exposure. The ND Filter also can enable greater motion blurring and image detail by allowing a large aperture and/or a slow shutter speed to be used. A variant on the ND filter is the graduated ND, in which there is a gradient that effects the reduction of light in a graduated, neutral level from 100% to 0% across the length of the filter. The Graduated ND is recommended for shooting landscapes and seascapes, because you can reduce the brightness of the sky (for better contrast) but still maintain an affecting exposure of the land or water.

Click here to learn more: Camera Lens Filters Explained


Neutral Density Graduated

Neutral Density Graduated (NDG) or a "grad" is an optical filter that allows for variable or graduated light transmission. In most cases an ND Grad is set up so half the filter is at full ND, and then the ND gradually (or abruptly) transitions to clear. ND Grads are best used to control excessively bright sections of a scene, so as to be effectively captured by the image sensor or film at the exposure value the photographer wants.

Click here to learn more: Camera Lens Filters Explained



ISO Sensitivity Comparison

Noise is the visible effects of an electronic error (or interference) in the final image. Noise is a function of how efficient the image sensor (CCD/CMOS) and the camera’s digital signal processor can handle or remove these errors (or interference), and the resultant product is a digital image that is unarticulated, and appears as random color dots the pixels can't determine which color to reproduce.

Click here to learn more: Learn How ISO Sensitivity Works


Normal Lens

Standard Lens

The standard lens has a fixed focal length (50mm, 85mm, 100mm), and reproduces fairly accurately what the human eye sees – in terms of perspective and angle of view. For a 35mm film camera or a full-frame DSLR, the 50mm lens is considered standard. At higher focal lengths (85mm or 100mm) you have an ideal lens for portraiture, because when coupled with a wide aperture they thoroughly soften any background detail, thus making it less likely to distract from the main subject.

Click here to learn more: Understanding Camera Lenses

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