35MM Introdoction / B&H Photo Video
   

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35mm Format

Introduction
Glossary of Terms



Introduction to 35mm Format

The 35mm format is the most popular and versatile in photography today. No other format combines the range of camera, lens, accessory and film options, and no other format offers as many choices among brands.

Among camera bodies you can choose from relatively simple all-manual affairs to advanced camera systems with auto-exposure to sophisticated but affordable auto-focus systems which include auto-exposure options. Lenses range from ultra-wide fish-eyes to extreme close-up to super long telephoto optics which bring the most distant objects within view. Flash options include through-the-lens exposure, automatic fill-flash for shooting in mixed light and speedy recycle times coupled with great power.

35mm film offers more choices than any other format. It is the only format offering black-and-white, color negative and color slide (transparency) choices -- all in a variety of film speeds up to ISO 1600. Special purpose films like infra-red, duping, etc. are widely available in 35mm.

Cameras today include all manual models, those with a selection of automated options and more sophisticated devices with speedy motor drives, fast auto-focus and multiple auto-exposure menus. Lenses are as sophisticated, with aspheric elements to reduce distortion, apochromatic glass for improved image sharpness, macro capability, and wide zoom ranges.

Historically, 35mm was the original "miniature" format, but soldiers and news photographers returning from war-torn Korea with early Nikon and Canon rangefinders quickly popularized this small lightweight camera. As manufacturers added features -- through-the lens viewing, instant-return mirrors -- the versatility increased. The advent of through-the-lens full-aperture metering really brought the camera's popularity to amateur and hobbiest users.

Today, other small formats have been introduced, and larger cameras are touted as having the same ease of operation, but 35mm, with it's range of features, options, and film types is still the premier format.

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Glossary of Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A partial list of photographic definitions. Data courtesy Canon, Kodak, or Nikon, Time-Life Library of Photography, Kodak Encyclopedia of Photography.

See also

http://www.hyperzine.com


A

AE


Automatic Exposure; Three kinds are available: programmed auto exposure, aperture-priority auto exposure and shutter-priority auto exposure.

AE (Automatic Exposure) Lock


Used to hold an automatically controlled shutter speed and/or lens aperture.

AF-I

(Nikon)
Lens with built-in autofocus drive motor. CPU is also built in. AF-I Nikkor lenses send information on distance to the camera body and are classified as D-type AF Nikkor lenses.

AI

(Nikon)
Automatic index; Nikon's system for telling the camera's exposure meter what the lens' maximum aperture is.

AI/S

(Nikon)
Automatic index/Shutter; Nikon's lens mount permitting automatic operation in shutter-priority and program auto-exposure systems.

Aperture


The variable opening produced by the iris-diaphragm through which light passes to the film plane. Measured in f/stops.

Aperture Priority


Autoexposure systems wherein the photographer selects the aperture and the camera selects the appropriate shutter speed.

APO


Apochromatic; a type of lens which focuses different wavelengths of light on the filmplane for improved image sharpness. Especially useful in telephoto lenses. (Chromatic aberration is corrected).

ASA


American Standards Association; (see ISO).

Aspheric


A lens design incorporating elements ground so the curve of the surface does not describe an arc of a circle. Especially useful in reducing distortion in wide angle lenses.

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B

B (Bulb)


At the B setting, the shutter remains open as long as the shutter release button remains fully depressed.

Bracketing


Take a series of pictures at different exposures.

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C

Catadioptric


A lens built with a combination of mirrors and elements. The light path is folded by the mirror surfaces, permitting a reduction in overall length and weight compared with conventional lenses of equivalent focal lengths.

Chromatic Aberration


Light rays passing through a lens focus at different points, depending on the wavelength of the light.

Coating


A layer or multiple layers of thin anti-reflective materials applied to the surface of lens elements to reduce light reflection (flare) and increase the amount of transmitted light.

Close-Up


The general term for pictures taken at relatively close distances, from 1/10 life-size (1:10) to life-size (1:1).

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D

Depth of Field


The range of acceptably sharp focus in front of and behind the distance the lens is focused on.

Diaphragm


A series of metal "blades" that can be manipulated to form a larger or smaller opening through which the light is admitted.

DX-Coding


Code printed on film cartridges providing most new cameras with film speed information.

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E

ED


Extra-low Dispersion; Nikon's APO glass.

EF

(Canon)
Electronic Focus; Canon's current autofocus lens line.

EI


Exposure Index; a number representing any combination of aperture and shutter speed which will provide "correct" exposure for a particular situation. (See EV).

Element


One piece of glass comprising the internal optics of a lens. (See Group).

EOS

(Canon)
Electronic Optical System; Canon's current line of autofocus cameras and accessories.

EV


Exposure Value; A number that represents available combinations of shutter speed and aperture offering the same exposure effect when scene brightness remains the same. Each EV number can be applied to various shutter speed and aperture combinations.

Exposure


Light striking a sensitized material (film or paper emulsion).

Exposure Compensation


Modifying the shutter speed and/or lens aperture recommended by the camera's light meter in order to produce special creative effects or to meet special requirements.

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F

Fill-Flash


Exposure consisting of a combination of flash and "available light" balanced to produce a pleasing mix of the two.

Fisheye


An ultra-wide angle lens which purposely introduces barrel distortion so straight lines near the edges of the frame appear to curve out.

Flare


Image degradation caused by stray light which passes through the lens but is not focused to form the primary image. Often caused by light bouncing off internal air-to-glass surfaces.

Focal Length


The distance from the optical center of a lens to the image plane when the lens is focused to infinity.

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G

Group


Two or more elements cemented together within a lens. Lenses are described as having a certain number of elements in a certain smaller number of groups.

Guide Number


The power of a flash in relation to ISO film speed. Guide numbers are quoted in either meters or feet. (To convert from meters to feet, multiply the metric number by 3.3). Guide numbers are used to calculate the f/stop for correct exposure as follows: f/stop=guide number/distance.

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H

Hot Shoe


A mounting device, usually built onto the top of a camera, that enables a flash unit, or speedlight, to be mounted on and triggered by the camera.

Hyperfocal Distance


The distance setting on a lens which affords the maximum depth of field for a given aperture (f/stop). The closest point of focus where the depth of field includes infinity.

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I

Iris


(See diaphragm)

IF


Internal Focus; a focus system wherein lens elements or groups move within the lens barrel, but the barrel length remains fixed and the front element does not rotate.

ISO


International Standards Organization; the number represents the film's sensitivity to light. A higher ISO number indicates the film is more sensitive and requires less light for a proper exposure.

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L

Latitude


The variance from "proper" exposure which will still provide acceptable results.

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M

Matrix


Autoexposure metering where the camera sets both aperture and shutter speed according to data stored in the camera's built-in memory, comparing the scene to be photographed to reference scenes.

Macro Focusing


Macro focusing, applied to zoom lenses, moves the lens group(s), enabling the lens to focus closer than the normal focusing distance from close-up shooting.

Micro


The picture-taking range from life-size (1:1) to 50X (50:1) magnification.

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O

OTF


Off The Filmplane; a metering system which measures the light bouncing off the film, rather than simply measuring the light entering the lens. Often coupled with TTL for automated flash
exposure.

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P

PC


Positive Connection; connection from camera body (or in some cases lens) to a flash which is not (or cannot be) fired from the hot shoe.

PC

(lenses)
Perspective Control; a lens which allows the photographer to shift several elements (or groups) off axis. Often used in architecture photography.

Pellicle


A fixed semi-transparent mirror which reflects a portion of the light to the finder system and passes a portion to the film plane.

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R

Reproduction Ratio


Specifically the size of the image recorded on film divided by the actual size of the subject. This term is used in close-up or macrophotography to express the magnification of a subject. As a general rule, for subjects located farther away from the camera, the reproduction ratio equals the lens focal length divided by the shooting distance. For example, a 200mm lens divided by two meters would produce a 1:10 reproduction ratio.

Resolution


The ability of a lens or photographic material to reproduce small details; measured in lines per millimeter.

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S

Shutter Priority


Autoexposure systems wherein the photographer selects the shutter speed and the camera selects the appropriate aperture.

SLR


Single Lens Reflex; viewer and film "see" through the same lens via a system of mirror and prism

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T

T

(Time)
At the T setting, the shutter remains open until, for example, it is closed by rotating the shutter speed dial, etc.

TTL


Through The Lens; viewing (or more commonly metering) through the picture-taking lens.

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U

UD

(Canon)
Ultra-low Dispersion; see APO.

USM

(Canon)
UltraSonic Motor; Canon's fastest, quietest autofocus lens mechanism.

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W

Working Distance


The distance from the front of the lens surface to the subject. The more frequently used term "shooting distance" refers to the distance between the subject and the film plane. Working distance is most often used in close-up photography, especially when shooting a shy subject, such as an insect, or when the lens may hamper lighting.

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X

X-sync


The maximum (fastest) shutter speed at which electronic flash pictures may be taken.

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