A or Av: Aperture priority. An automatic exposure mode where you set the aperture (f-stop) and your camera automatically sets the shutter speed and ISO to optimally expose the image.
AE: Automatic exposure. Built in hardware and software (firmware) that measures the brightness of your subject and automatically sets some or all of the shutter speed, aperture and ISO.
AE-L: Automatic exposure lock. Technology for holding an exposure setting from one scene to another. e.g. when you expose your image for the sky and lock it before moving your camera to include the foreground in your frame.
AF: Auto-focus. When the lens is focused automatically to obtain optimum sharpness of an image. On most modern cameras half pressing the shutter button will cause the camera to auto-focus your scene.
AF-S: Single shot auto-focus. When you half press the shutter button your camera focuses your frame. If an object/ subject comes into your frame after you’ve focused your camera will not refocus unless you half press the shutter button again.
AF-C: Continuous auto-focus. When you half press, and continue to hold, the shutter button your camera will continue to focus. Used for photos of moving objects.
AF-L / AFL: Auto-focus lock. Locks a particular focus setting, preventing refocusing if the scene changes.
APS-C: Advanced photo system type-C. A common image sensor size for dSLR and mirrorless cameras. All APS-C cameras are smaller than the standard 35 mm “full frame” film. Because of this, cameras with APS-C sensors are also known as “cropped” frame. A crop factor (1.5-1.6x) can be used to calculate the field of view in 35 mm “full frame” terms from the actual focal length e.g. A 35mm APS-C camera is equivalent to a 50mm full frame camera.
BBF: Back button focus. A customized option available on some dSLR’s that allows you to separate your auto-focus feature from your shutter button. In most cases, your AF-ON button will be assigned for focus and focus only. So you’re free to use your shutter button as just that, a shutter.
CP / CPL: Circular polarizing filter. See here for more information on camera filters.
DOF / DoF: Depth of field. The distance within which an object remains in acceptable focus. See here for more information on DoF as it relates to aperture.
DSLR / dSLR: Digital single-lens reflex camera.
DR: Dynamic range. The ratio of light to dark in an image that a camera can successfully capture in a singular photo.
EV: Exposure value. An automatic system for indicating correct exposure.
EVF: Electronic Viewfinder. A through-the-lens view that is displayed on a miniature solid-state screen (within the viewfinder or on the LCD). The advantage of EVF’s is that you get to see exactly what the camera’s sensor sees (WYSWYG) and your view of a scene is never obstructed when taking a photo (your view is momentarily blocked when taking photos using an OVF on dSLR cameras).
Exif: Exchangeable image file format. A digital photo tag that stores the data for your image. Information may include but is not limited to the date, time, camera, focal length, aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc.
HDR: High Dynamic Range. A method that aims to add more “dynamic range” to photographs. Instead of taking just one photo, HDR uses multiple photos, taken at different exposures (one photo may expose correctly for the foreground and another may expose correctly for the sky).
F-Stop: Focal stop. A measurement of aperture. See here for more information on aperture.
FF: Full frame. A dSLR camera where the image sensor is approximately the same size as a 35 mm film.
FPS: Frames per second. How many frames your camera can shoot in a second. Often in burst or continuous mode e.g. 3-11 FPS.
GAS: Gear acquisition syndrome. Photographers both new and old have a tendency to always want new gear, whether they need it or not.
GND: Graduated neutral density. A type of neutral density filter where brightness is reduced more on one half of the filter than on the other. This allows you to reduce the contrast between a bright sky and a dark foreground.
IS / IBIS / OIS / OSS: Image stabilization / In-body image stabilization / optical image stabilization / optical steady shot. Image stabilization is the ability of your camera body and / or lens to compensate for very small movements when you’re hand holding your camera. IS allows you to hand hold your camera while using slightly longer shutter speeds or longer focal lengths than you may otherwise be able to use.
ILC: Interchangeable lens camera. A dSLR or mirrorless camera with a body where lenses can be swapped.
IQ: Image quality. An informal abbreviation often found in discussion forums to compare image quality between different cameras.
ISO: International Standards Organization. An organization that determines the sensitivity of the sensor in your camera. See here for more information on ISO.
JPEG: A file format designed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, that allows files of colored images to be compressed to a smaller digital file than if the full range of colors were to be saved (.JPG is the computer file extension).
ND: Neutral density filter. See here for more information on camera filters.
NR: Noise reduction. An in camera setting for JPEG images that reduces noise (result of a higher ISO in low light) at the expense of detail. It is best turned off where possible.
OIS / OSS / IS / IBIS: Optical image stabilization / optical steady shot / image stabilization / in-body image stabilization. Image stabilization is the ability of your camera body and / or lens to compensate for very small movements when you’re hand holding your camera. IS allows you to hand hold your camera while using slightly longer shutter speeds or longer focal lengths than you may otherwise be able to use.
OOC / SOOC: Out of the camera. Images that have no post processing and are therefore straight “out of the camera”.
OVF: Optical viewfinder: The picture is framed on the focusing screen of a through-the-lens optical viewfinder, as found on dSLR cameras. The image in an optical viewfinder relies on the actual light passing through a camera rather than a digital representation. Optical viewfinders provide much better clarity, better dynamic range and an instantaneous view of the action lacking the delay found in some EVF systems.
PP: Post-processing. Usually performed on a computer using a program such as Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, or Capture One etc.
PS: Photoshop. A commercial computer application for editing digital images developed by Adobe.
RGB: A color space that uses the primary colors of red, green and blue to create any color.
Raw: An uncompressed file format that contain more data than JPG files. Raw files are optimal if you are planning to edit your images.
S or Tv: Shutter priority or time value. An automatic exposure mode that allows you to set a shutter speed while your camera automatically sets the appropriate aperture and ISO to obtain a correctly exposed scene.
SOOC / OOC: Straight out of the camera. Images that have no post processing and are therefore “straight out of the camera”.
SS: Shutter speed.
WA / UWA: wide-angle / ultra wide-angle. A wide-angle lens has a field of view significantly wider than that of the human eye allowing more of the scene to be captured. On an APS-C camera wide-angle lenses start at a focal length of ~24mm. Ultra wide-angle lenses start at ~16mm. Wide-angle lenses also have an effect on perspective too, allowing more DoF. Objects close to the camera will appear much larger than objects further away.
WB / AWB: White balance / Automatic white balance. A setting in your camera that allows your camera to estimate the color temperature of a scene.