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Beginners Article 1: Nomenclature
Posted By: NecroticSoldier, 09-26-2010, 04:52 PM

Hello Beginners. I was once a beginner half a year ago! There wasn't really any Beginner articles, so I had to ask many beginner's questions. I didn't really know anything!

The first thing I learned in class and on here was... The Nomenclature.

It is important to know, or you won't know what anyone is talking about.

Parts of the camera

(needs a diagram)

Shutter Release Button : The button you will press thousands of times! Which is usually located on the top part of the camera on the right.
On manual cameras there are no half way functions, either it's down or up. An optional shutter release cable can be attached directly on it. On automatic cameras you can auto-focus with the shutter release button half way down, and fully down to release the shutter.

Shutter Speed Dial
: These are on manual cameras, on automatic cameras you can control the shutter speed via electronics. The shutter speed is how long the shutter is opened for or how fast the shutter is. It can range from 1 second to 1/2000th of a second on manual cameras and 30 seconds (maybe even more) to 1/8000.

A fast shutter speed is needed to avoid blur, while slower shutter speed is needed when blur effects are wanted.

There is also a special setting on shutter speed called bulb, where you can open the shutter for as long as you want.

A general rule of thumb is that you should use 1/60th of a second for standard photos, anything less would result in blurring if not used with a tripod. You would need less than 1/60th (a faster shutter speed I.E. 1/125th) to capture a moving object.
Viewfinder : The view finder is located on the back side of your camera. If using an SLR camera, it allows you to see through your lens before you take the photo, so you have an idea of what the picture will look like.

Aperture Ring
: Commonly found on older manual lenses (such as K, M, and A lenses from Pentax). On newer cameras/lenses, the aperture can be adjusted by electronics, thus eliminating the need for an aperture ring (lenses where the aperture size can be controlled in the camera are A*, DA, DA L, D FA*, FA*, FA J, and F* [*set on A] ) . You can adjust the size of the aperture.
The different sizes of aperture are called F-Stops. These range from 0.5 to 128. A typical 50mm lens would have 1.4/1.7/2 to 22.

One confusing thing when beginning to learn about the aperture is that the larger the number is the smaller the aperture (therefore less light is let in) and the smaller the number the larger the aperture (let's in more light)

The aperture is made out of aperture blades different number of blades are used for different lenses.
Focus Ring : A part found on the lens. It allows you to focus manually. You do not have to use the focus ring if you are using auto-focus.

Other

Chromatic Aberration
: Chromatic Aberration is a type of lens distortion where the lens cannot focus all the colours to the same convergence point. It causes some colours to fringe along parts of the image.

Purple Fringing : Purple fringing is a common problem caused by Chromatic Aberration (see above)

Barrel Distortion
: Barrel distortion is usually found in wide angle lenses, it looks like the image is concaving towards you. (Like the bottom part of a spoon).

Pincushion Distortion : Pincushion Distortion is another type of distortion. Opposite of Barrel Distortion, it seems to convex. (Like the top part of the spoon).

Fast/Faster
: What does it mean by "This lens is fast!" or "X lens is faster than X lens" I never really knew, but I'm here to tell you. A lens is fast or faster because it's rated maximum f-stop is large or larger than another lens.

For example, my Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 would be faster than my Pentax-M 50mm F2.

Why? because the maximum rated f-stop is F1.4! Therefore it would require half as much light. From 1.4 to 2 would be a full stop.

1 f-stop up would require twice as much light, while 1 f-stop down would require half as much light.

In addition, the depth of field is shallower.

Depth of Field (DOF)
: The depth of field is the distance between the furthest and closest point or object in a photograph. (needs to insert picture example)

The larger the aperture the more shallow the depth of field. The smaller the aperture, the more depth of field. So if you wanted to take a picture of landscape, making the aperture smaller should make most if not all of the picture in focus. If you wanted to isolate something with out-of-focus area, you would want to use a smaller depth of field.

Bokeh :
Bokeh is the blurry out-of-focus area in an image. It is the part of the image where the depth of field does not cover. Bokeh can be part of the aesthetics in an image because different lenses produce different Bokeh. Some people prefer rounder Bokeh, while some prefer hexagon shaped Bokeh. It depends on the shape of the aperture or aperture blades. (needs to insert picture example)

Bokeh sounds funny, that's why I searched to find why! this what Wikipedia tells us. "The term comes from the Japanese word boke (暈け or ボケ), which means "blur" or "haze", or boke-aji (ボケ味), the "blur quality". The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense of a mental haze or senility.
Types of Lenses

Macro : A macro lens is a lens that can produce an image that is life sized or larger. In other words, you can take pictures of objects very close up. A macro lens usually has a close minimum focus range.

Since you can take pictures of objects close up, it allows for another perspective you would normally not find. For example : you could take a picture of an insect and see all of it's details close up.
Wide Angle : A wide angle lens is a lens that is between 35mm and 24mm (Full Frame) 24 being the wide end, anything wider would be considered an ultra-wide angle.

Wide angle lenses allows you to capture a lot more in your frame. You could always move back to get more, but a wide angle lens just makes it that much more easier.

The advantage that wide angle lenses have over telephoto lenses and normal lenses is that they do not need to be as accurately focused and are usually faster than telephoto lenses. Also, the DOF is not as shallow as a telephoto lens.

They are however, not suited for some portrait photography, because of the barrel distortion that may cause faces to look funny.
Fisheye : A fish eye lens is an ultra wide angle lens that has about 180 field of view. This lens has heavy barrel distortion, but it adds to it's unique effect.

Normal : A normal lens would be one around the 50mm range. It is a lens that produces a perspective that looks almost like what our eyes would see.

Telephoto
: A telephoto lens would roughly be around 70mm or higher. There's also super telephotos which are very heavy and long that may be 500mm or even 1000mm.

A telephoto lens would be used in bird photography or sports photography because you don't need to move in close.

The longer the focal length, the higher chance that you'll need a tripod, because the slightest movement of the hand would become magnified into trembles. To compensate, you'd either need a tripod, or a lot of lighting with a very fast shutter speed.

The disadvantage with a telephoto lens is that generally it focuses slow (Auto-focus) or requires accurate focusing (Manual). Also, it ends up taking pictures that are flat, meaning it squishes everything so it's harder to tell how far one object is from another.

Telephotos are great for portrait photography! It also has a shallow depth of field.
Zoom : A zoom lens is a lens that has a range of focal lengths all in one lens. For example, a 18-55mm lens would cover all the focal lengths from 18-55mm.

While it is more convenient, there are usually drawbacks. They are usually not as fast as prime lenses. They are more likely to have IQ problems or distortion like Chromatic Aberration and Barrel distortion because the lens is more complex than a prime. (Not to say though, that all zooms have these problems)

They are usually bigger than prime lenses and heavier.
Prime : A prime lens is a lens that covers one and only one focal length. They are usually very good lenses in all aspect (except for flexibility of a zoom). They are light, small and simple.

Will be adding more! (sorry this is delayed, I'm sorry everyone!) I really should have wrote this up before I posted, so it would be complete instead of on on going project.

Correct me if I'm wrong... (sorry if I am).


Last edited by NecroticSoldier; 06-01-2011 at 11:15 AM. Reason: Adding more.
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09-26-2010, 06:14 PM   #2
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Excellent! Thanks for putting this together. I'm sure it will help a lot of new photographers
09-26-2010, 06:27 PM   #3
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by opiet70 Quote
Excellent! Thanks for putting this together. I'm sure it will help a lot of new photographers
I'm still trying to find the time to add more... there's MORE than that ;P like for example... I didn't know what bokeh was.
12-15-2010, 05:50 AM   #4
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CA instead of PF!

Hi, thanks for pointing out that Purple Fringing (PF) is Chromatic Aberation.
I wish more commentators on lens reviews would state the obvious......

12-15-2010, 07:30 PM   #5
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Postumus Quote
Hi, thanks for pointing out that Purple Fringing (PF) is Chromatic Aberation.
I wish more commentators on lens reviews would state the obvious......
Hehe, No problem ;P I only state what I learn.
05-25-2011, 06:53 AM   #6
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This is the first post I have read since joining. I have only just bought my camera (not allowed to play until my b'day in a few weeks) so doing some reading. This article has just cleared up loads of questions - great work, many thanks.
05-29-2011, 02:45 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by joshfishkins Quote
This is the first post I have read since joining. I have only just bought my camera (not allowed to play until my b'day in a few weeks) so doing some reading. This article has just cleared up loads of questions - great work, many thanks.
Thank you for the feedback. I was meaning to add a whole lot more, but I haven't had time to add more to it. I'm glad that you got something out of it. I remember when I first started and didn't know what people were talking about on the forums. Hopefully this will lead you to the understanding of technique as well. The efficient operation of your camera!
05-31-2011, 02:33 AM   #8
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As a beginner I am interested in stuff like this and appreciate your effort. However, I would like to point you some small errors (so small they're probably difficult to notice).

QuoteQuote:
You would need more than 1/60th to capture a moving object
I would say you need less than1/60th of a second.

@Barrel/pincushion chapters: maybe you should drop the convex/concave terms (I would say barrel is convex and pincushion is concave) and attach some images. These 2 from wikipedia (barrel, pincushion) would clarify the issue.

When time will allow you, I would like to read in more detail about ISO and f-stops (relation between aperture, shutter speed and ISO).

I hope I don't seem to be condescending, I assure you I am not (being a beginner), just trying to point out some fuzzy stuff.
Thanks again for you effort.

06-01-2011, 11:13 AM   #9
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Sunday Quote
As a beginner I am interested in stuff like this and appreciate your effort. However, I would like to point you some small errors (so small they're probably difficult to notice).

I would say you need less than1/60th of a second.

@Barrel/pincushion chapters: maybe you should drop the convex/concave terms (I would say barrel is convex and pincushion is concave) and attach some images. These 2 from wikipedia (barrel, pincushion) would clarify the issue.

When time will allow you, I would like to read in more detail about ISO and f-stops (relation between aperture, shutter speed and ISO).

I hope I don't seem to be condescending, I assure you I am not (being a beginner), just trying to point out some fuzzy stuff.
Thanks again for you effort.
What you say is true. Actually I should be more clear when explaining the shutter speed. I remember when other people were learning. They were having a hard time understanding the "you need more than/you need less than". Same goes for the aperture too.

Thanks for the suggestions, I will take them into consideration. Beginner or not, people still make mistakes, so it's understandable. I believe you are correct though.

Oh, I did miss the ISO/ASA entirely didn't I? I was aiming more towards a DSLR article at the time, and I guess I would have associated ISO/ASA with film grain and film speed and such.

I'll be sure to include the diagram on the reciprocal relationship between ISO,F-stops, and Shutter speed.

Hopefully I'll do it by next week! Thanks again for reading.
09-28-2011, 08:17 AM   #10
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thanks for this great post - easy to understand for a noob like me!
11-01-2014, 02:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by NecroticSoldier Quote
Hello Beginners. I was once a beginner half a year ago! There wasn't really any Beginner articles, so I had to ask many beginner's questions. I didn't really know anything!

The first thing I learned in class and on here was... The Nomenclature.

It is important to know, or you won't know what anyone is talking about.

Parts of the camera

(needs a diagram)

Shutter Release Button : The button you will press thousands of times! Which is usually located on the top part of the camera on the right.
On manual cameras there are no half way functions, either it's down or up. An optional shutter release cable can be attached directly on it. On automatic cameras you can auto-focus with the shutter release button half way down, and fully down to release the shutter.

Shutter Speed Dial
: These are on manual cameras, on automatic cameras you can control the shutter speed via electronics. The shutter speed is how long the shutter is opened for or how fast the shutter is. It can range from 1 second to 1/2000th of a second on manual cameras and 30 seconds (maybe even more) to 1/8000.

A fast shutter speed is needed to avoid blur, while slower shutter speed is needed when blur effects are wanted.

There is also a special setting on shutter speed called bulb, where you can open the shutter for as long as you want.

A general rule of thumb is that you should use 1/60th of a second for standard photos, anything less would result in blurring if not used with a tripod. You would need less than 1/60th (a faster shutter speed I.E. 1/125th) to capture a moving object.
Viewfinder : The view finder is located on the back side of your camera. If using an SLR camera, it allows you to see through your lens before you take the photo, so you have an idea of what the picture will look like.

Aperture Ring
: Commonly found on older manual lenses (such as K, M, and A lenses from Pentax). On newer cameras/lenses, the aperture can be adjusted by electronics, thus eliminating the need for an aperture ring (lenses where the aperture size can be controlled in the camera are A*, DA, DA L, D FA*, FA*, FA J, and F* [*set on A] ) . You can adjust the size of the aperture.
The different sizes of aperture are called F-Stops. These range from 0.5 to 128. A typical 50mm lens would have 1.4/1.7/2 to 22.

One confusing thing when beginning to learn about the aperture is that the larger the number is the smaller the aperture (therefore less light is let in) and the smaller the number the larger the aperture (let's in more light)

The aperture is made out of aperture blades different number of blades are used for different lenses.
Focus Ring : A part found on the lens. It allows you to focus manually. You do not have to use the focus ring if you are using auto-focus.

Other

Chromatic Aberration
: Chromatic Aberration is a type of lens distortion where the lens cannot focus all the colours to the same convergence point. It causes some colours to fringe along parts of the image.

Purple Fringing : Purple fringing is a common problem caused by Chromatic Aberration (see above)

Barrel Distortion
: Barrel distortion is usually found in wide angle lenses, it looks like the image is concaving towards you. (Like the bottom part of a spoon).

Pincushion Distortion : Pincushion Distortion is another type of distortion. Opposite of Barrel Distortion, it seems to convex. (Like the top part of the spoon).

Fast/Faster
: What does it mean by "This lens is fast!" or "X lens is faster than X lens" I never really knew, but I'm here to tell you. A lens is fast or faster because it's rated maximum f-stop is large or larger than another lens.

For example, my Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 would be faster than my Pentax-M 50mm F2.

Why? because the maximum rated f-stop is F1.4! Therefore it would require half as much light. From 1.4 to 2 would be a full stop.

1 f-stop up would require twice as much light, while 1 f-stop down would require half as much light.

In addition, the depth of field is shallower.

Depth of Field (DOF)
: The depth of field is the distance between the furthest and closest point or object in a photograph. (needs to insert picture example)

The larger the aperture the more shallow the depth of field. The smaller the aperture, the more depth of field. So if you wanted to take a picture of landscape, making the aperture smaller should make most if not all of the picture in focus. If you wanted to isolate something with out-of-focus area, you would want to use a smaller depth of field.

Bokeh :
Bokeh is the blurry out-of-focus area in an image. It is the part of the image where the depth of field does not cover. Bokeh can be part of the aesthetics in an image because different lenses produce different Bokeh. Some people prefer rounder Bokeh, while some prefer hexagon shaped Bokeh. It depends on the shape of the aperture or aperture blades. (needs to insert picture example)

Bokeh sounds funny, that's why I searched to find why! this what Wikipedia tells us. "The term comes from the Japanese word boke (暈け or ボケ), which means "blur" or "haze", or boke-aji (ボケ味), the "blur quality". The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense of a mental haze or senility.
Types of Lenses

Macro : A macro lens is a lens that can produce an image that is life sized or larger. In other words, you can take pictures of objects very close up. A macro lens usually has a close minimum focus range.

Since you can take pictures of objects close up, it allows for another perspective you would normally not find. For example : you could take a picture of an insect and see all of it's details close up.
Wide Angle : A wide angle lens is a lens that is between 35mm and 24mm (Full Frame) 24 being the wide end, anything wider would be considered an ultra-wide angle.

Wide angle lenses allows you to capture a lot more in your frame. You could always move back to get more, but a wide angle lens just makes it that much more easier.

The advantage that wide angle lenses have over telephoto lenses and normal lenses is that they do not need to be as accurately focused and are usually faster than telephoto lenses. Also, the DOF is not as shallow as a telephoto lens.

They are however, not suited for some portrait photography, because of the barrel distortion that may cause faces to look funny.
Fisheye : A fish eye lens is an ultra wide angle lens that has about 180 field of view. This lens has heavy barrel distortion, but it adds to it's unique effect.

Normal : A normal lens would be one around the 50mm range. It is a lens that produces a perspective that looks almost like what our eyes would see.

Telephoto
: A telephoto lens would roughly be around 70mm or higher. There's also super telephotos which are very heavy and long that may be 500mm or even 1000mm.

A telephoto lens would be used in bird photography or sports photography because you don't need to move in close.

The longer the focal length, the higher chance that you'll need a tripod, because the slightest movement of the hand would become magnified into trembles. To compensate, you'd either need a tripod, or a lot of lighting with a very fast shutter speed.

The disadvantage with a telephoto lens is that generally it focuses slow (Auto-focus) or requires accurate focusing (Manual). Also, it ends up taking pictures that are flat, meaning it squishes everything so it's harder to tell how far one object is from another.

Telephotos are great for portrait photography! It also has a shallow depth of field.
Zoom : A zoom lens is a lens that has a range of focal lengths all in one lens. For example, a 18-55mm lens would cover all the focal lengths from 18-55mm.

While it is more convenient, there are usually drawbacks. They are usually not as fast as prime lenses. They are more likely to have IQ problems or distortion like Chromatic Aberration and Barrel distortion because the lens is more complex than a prime. (Not to say though, that all zooms have these problems)

They are usually bigger than prime lenses and heavier.
Prime : A prime lens is a lens that covers one and only one focal length. They are usually very good lenses in all aspect (except for flexibility of a zoom). They are light, small and simple.

Will be adding more! (sorry this is delayed, I'm sorry everyone!) I really should have wrote this up before I posted, so it would be complete instead of on on going project.

Correct me if I'm wrong... (sorry if I am).
Thanks for the article. As a relative beginner it has confirmed what I have discovered.... Brilliant and generous of you to give your time to this.
11-02-2014, 04:59 PM   #12
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Nice concise article!
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