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Photography Acronyms You Wanted To Know About

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Photography Acronyms You Wanted To Know About

Perhaps you have been looking for a camera, but been overwhelmed by the array of acronyms that you simply didn’t recognise?

Sure, all of them sound great, but it’s helpful to know very well what they mean so that you can choose the best camera. 

acronyms in photography


A Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera combines a single-lens reflex camera (SLR) having a digital camera back. But what does this imply for you as well as your photography?

You’ll be capable of capture shots exactly as you see them, instead of having colours skewed in planning for print. And also you capture them as digital photos, rather than images recorded to film. This ‘what you see is what you get’ principle is achieved through the camera’s mirror-and-prism format which works the following: light passes through the lens and bounces upwards off an image right into a prism, which reflects the sunshine through the viewfinder to the human eye.

DSLR cameras boast many benefits, including the fact that they enable users to capture images of a high quality. This is certainly due to the large electronic imaging sensor utilized by the digital camera.

And the ability to change lenses gives you great versatility just because a lens can affect many aspects of a photo, including the colour, contrast, clarity and saturation.

Another benefit of DSLR cameras is their near-zero lag time, that is the time between the user pressing the shutter and the camera capturing the shot. This is particularly helpful in action photography in places you might have only a split second to get the perfect picture.


High Dynamic Range, an idea conceived since 1850, is a photographic technique. It enables the person to capture a larger variety of light-to-dark areas in a photo than would be possible in a standard camera shot. The end result means improved accuracy in the photo’s intensity levels.

The technique is achieved by capturing several shots simultaneously (known as bracketing), although shutter has only been pressed once. These captured images are shot at different exposure levels and, when merged, give you a more accurate representation of the light-to-dark range.

HDR is measured in EV (Exposure Value) differences, which determine contrast. A DSLR camera includes a contrast of 2048:1; twice that from a standard digital camera that is 1024:1.

HDR images in many cases are referred to as ‘scene-referred’ because they more closely reflect exactly what the human eye sees than standard photos.


Derived through the International Organisation for Standardisation, ISO originally referred to the speed of photographic negative materials. It denotes the sensitivity towards the quantity of light in the shot.

Simply put, the higher the ISO, the more sensitive the film is to light as well as the better your shots will be in a low-light scene. In daylight, a setting of no more than 100 is ideal. In low light, the camera needs a little bit of help, which you can provide by increasing the ISO.

This may also be useful when you’re taking action shots because it reduces the likelihood of a blurred image. However, be skeptical of going excessive with your ISO setting; this may cause noise to appear.

Most cameras have an automatic ISO setting that adjusts according to the amount of light in a scene. If you do need to a high ISO value, to produce artistic effects for example, you’re better doing it with a DSLR camera. They provide a bigger electronic imaging sensor, which provides a broader ISO range than the usual point-and-shoot digital camera.


RAW isn’t an acronym, but it’s important nevertheless. It’s a method of capturing ‘raw’ data, as opposed to standard JPEGs. Used by professional photographers, it can result in high quality images. But taking the photo is simply the first step.

Once you’ve pressed the shutter, the picture is captured as a RAW file and left alone. No automatic processing (saturation, brightness, white balance etc.) or compression is applied, mainly because it automatically will be if shooting a JPEG.

The outcome can be a considerably bigger file that you can process yourself on a computer. So, what’s the point? The level of potential detail in the RAW image becomes clearer and much more impressive when compared with a JPEG.

RAW files provide you with 16-bit images to work with, whereas JPEG images are restricted to 8-bit. That’s the main difference between 65,536 levels and 256 levels of brightness, from black to white.

This is useful, not merely for producing higher quality images, but also for bringing out the very best in scenes where there is cloud, shade, or mixed sources of lighting, or where underexposure might occur. The captured RAW file contains all of the detail and it’s just a case of revealing it when you edit the image.

Compare this to shooting JPEGs; the amount are determined by the camera as soon as the shot is captured plus the JPEG will be compressed. This makes the chances of recovering or rectifying features for example white balance difficult, if not impossible.


Complementary Metal Oxide Semi-Conductors (CMOS) and Charge Coupled Devices (CCD) are 2 kinds of image sensor that convert light into electrons; then they read the electrons’ values and turn them into a digital image. In a nutshell, they transform what you see through your lens into a JPEG or RAW file.

CCDs were widely considered superior, providing high-quality images with low noise levels. CMOS sensors, although they use considerably less power, were always susceptible to noise.

However, CMOS has recently become much more widespread because such sensors are now able to take care of image-processing tasks for instance analog-to-digital conversion and noise reduction.

That’s not to say that CCDs don’t have any advantages, particularly if it comes to panning while shooting and capturing fast-moving objects. They use a global shutter that captures an entire frame in one go, whereas a CMOS records what it really sees line by line, inducing the possibility of distorted moving objects.

You’ll probably see a CMOS sensor in the camera you choose. Why? It’s because of improvements in performance, low power consumption and size.


Exchangeable Image File Format contains metadata about your photo that is recorded as you shoot using a digital camera. The format is common with JPEGs and TIFFs, but not with RAW files, although there are equivalents.

The data includes the time and date your photo was taken (time zone is not noted); camera settings such as model, aperture, shutter speed, and focal length; and descriptions and copyright information.

This information is available in handy when reviewing your photography. If you’re examining a shot and aren’t satisfied with something, look into the EXIF data to see precisely what your camera’s settings were and tweak them for future shots.

Other settings include a thumbnail from the shot itself, plus GPS information. The former permits you to preview on the camera’s LCD screen and the latter to tag the location of your photo. It’s possible on some cameras and a lot smartphones.

The newest photo editing software and most image gallery programs also recognise EXIF data. The fact is, even if you edit your photo and save it under a different name, the data will normally remain intact.

When it comes to buying a camera, the sheer degree of choice makes all the process difficult enough. But when acronyms and terms start being thrown at you left, right and centre, choosing the right camera becomes all the more challenging.

Armed with an knowledge of six of the very most common and important acronyms you’re more likely to hear about, you’ll much better prepared than most to make certain you are making the right purchase.


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