Do you know the most commonly used terms and terminology in the photo industry?

We asked the experts from Kodak to share some of these descriptions.

A Glossary of Photographic Terms: A

Active Light Lock Door

A lock on the Advanced Photo System film cassette that allows unexposed or partially exposed film to be advanced only when the cassette is properly loaded into any of the system’s equipment, including cameras and photofinishing devices.

Adjustable Camera

A camera with manually adjustable settings for distance, lens openings, and shutter speeds.

Adjustable-Focus Lens

A lens that has adjustable distance settings.

Advanced Photo System

A new standard in consumer photography developed by Kodak and four other System Developing Companies – Canon, Fuji, Minolta and Nikon – based on a new film format and innovative film, camera and photofinishing technologies.


The new Kodak brand that identifies the company’s Advanced Photo System offerings.


Keeping the developer, stop bath, or fixer in a gentle, uniform motion while processing film or paper. Agitation helps to speed and achieve even development and prevent spotting or staining.

Ambient Light

The available light completely surrounding a subject. Light already existing in an indoor or outdoor setting that is not caused by any illumination supplied by the photographer.

Angle Of View

The area of a scene that a lens covers or sees. Angle of view is determined by the focal length of the lens. A wide-angle lens (short-focal-length) includes more of the scene-a wider angle of view-than a normal (normal-focal-length) or telephoto (long-focal-length) lens.


Annealed polyethylene naphthalate-a polyester material used as the base on Advanced Photo System film; thinner, stronger and flatter than the acetate base traditionally used in consumer photographic roll films.


Lens opening. The opening in a camera lens through which light passes to expose the film. The size of aperture is either fixed or adjustable. Aperture size is usually calibrated in f-numbers-the larger the number, the smaller the lens opening.

Aperture Priority

An exposure mode on an automatic or autofocus camera that lets you set the aperture while the camera sets the shutter speed for proper exposure. If you change the aperture, or the light level changes, the shutter speed changes automatically.


Good quality tape can be relied upon to withstand a wide range of temperature and humidity. If stored properly, the expected lifetime of a video tape should be anywhere from 10 years to beyond 30 years. Tapes should resist shedding and layer-to-layer adhesion; remain flexible; and retain the recorded signals with little loss. Poor performance tape may start shedding over time especially if exposed to extremes of temperature. Also they may develop sticky substances as a result of high humidity exposure and the breakdown of the vinyl binders used to hold the magnetic particles onto the base film.

Aspect Ratio

The ratio of width to height in photographic prints – 2:3 in 35 mm pictures to produce photographs most commonly measuring 3.5 x 5 inches or4 x 6 inches; Advanced Photo System cameras deliver three aspect ratios as selected by the user.

Audio Frquency Response

This is the measure of relative loudness of high frequencies compared to the playback level of the lower frequencies. It is measured at 7 Khz.

Audio Sensitivity

The playback output level of the audio signal at lower frequencies (measured at 1 Khz). This represents how loud the audio signal will be on playback from conventional linear audio (not hi-fi VCRs).

Autofocus (AF)

System by which the camera lens automatically focuses the image of a selected part of the picture subject.

Automatic Camera

A camera with a built-in exposure meter that automatically adjusts the lens opening, shutter speed, or both for proper exposure.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: B

B (Bulb) Setting

A shutter-speed setting on an adjustable camera that allows for time exposures. When set on B, the shutter will stay open as long as the shutter release button remains depressed.


The part of the scene the appears behind the principal subject of the picture.


Light coming from behind the subject, toward the camera lens, so that the subject stands out vividly against the background. Sometimes produces a silhouette effect.


Information printed on the back of a picture by the photofinisher. The system standard requires the printing of frame number, film cassette number and processing date automatically on the back of each Advanced Photo System print; may also include more detailed information, such as customized titles and time and date of picture-taking.


Placement of colors, light and dark masses, or large and small objects in a picture to create harmony and equilibrium.


The folding (accordion) portion in some cameras that connects the lens to the camera body. Also a camera accessory that, when inserted between lens and camera body, extends the lens-to-film distance for close focusing.

Between-The-Lens Shutter

A shutter whose blades operate between two elements of the lens.


An enlargement; a print that is made larger than the negative or slide.

Bounce Lighting

Flash or tungsten light bounced off a reflector (such as the ceiling or walls) to give the effect of natural or available light.


Taking additional pictures of the subject through a range of exposures-both lighter and darker-when unsure of the correct exposure.


Giving additional exposure to part of the image projected on an enlarger easel to make that area of the print darker. This is accomplished after the basic exposure by extending the exposure time to allow additional image-forming light to strike the areas in the print you want to darken while holding back the image-forming light from the rest of the image. Sometimes called printing-in.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: C


“Classic” format – one of the three selectable Advanced Photo System print formats; identical to the 2:3 aspect ratio used in 35 mm photography and suitable for most general-purpose shots.

Camera Angles

Various positions of the camera (high, medium, or low; and left, right, or straight on) with respect to the subject, each giving a different viewpoint or effect.

Candid Pictures

Unposed pictures of people, often taken without the subject’s knowledge. These usually appear more natural and relaxed than posed pictures.


A lighttight, factory-loaded film container that can be placed in and removed from the camera in daylight.


Elliptically shaped film cassette designed especially for the Advanced Photo System that serves as the sealed, leaderless container for all System film whether unexposed, exposed or processed.

Clearing Agent

A chemical that neutralizes hypo in film or paper, reducing wash time and helping to provide a more stable image.


A picture taken with the subject close to the camera-usually less than two or three feet away, but it can be as close as a few inches.

Close-Up Lens

A lens attachment placed in front of a camera lens to permit taking pictures at a closer distance than the camera lens alone will allow.

Coated Lens

A lens covered with a very thin layer of transparent material that reduces the amount of light reflected by the surface of the lens. A coated lens is faster (transmits more light) than an uncoated lens.

“Cobra” Flash

Kodak’s patented flip-up flash mechanism that creates distance between the flash and the lens to reduce red-eye; flash is located on the end of hinged lever that covers the lens when closed, and flips up to switch on the camera and deploy the flash. Also called Flip-up Flash.

Color Balance

How a color film reproduces the colors of a scene. Color films are made to be exposed by light of a certain color quality such as daylight or tungsten. Color balance also refers to the reproduction of colors in color prints, which can be altered during the printing process.

Color Noise

Better known as chrominance signal-to-noise ratio. A measure of how accurately the color signals are reproduced. Poor chroma signal-to-noise ratios are evidenced in color fringing on edges of objects and what appears to be thousands of moving dots in large areas of highly saturated colors (especially red).

Color Output

The playback output level of the color (chrominance) signal after it is separated from the luminence signal. As with RF output, a low performing tape can lose color resolution due to increased percentage of noise.


The pleasing arrangement of the elements within a scene-the main subject, the foreground and background, and supporting subjects.

Condenser Enlarger

An enlarger with a sharp, undiffused light that produces high contrast and high definition in a print. Scratches and blemishes in the negative are emphasized.

Contact Print

A print made by exposing photographic paper while it is held tightly against the negative. Images in the print will be the same size as those in the negative.


The range of difference in the light to dark areas of a negative, print, or slide (also called density); the brightness range of a subject or the scene lighting.

Contact Printer

A device used for contact-printing that consists of a lighttight box with an internal light source and a printing frame to position the negative against the photographic paper in front of the light.

Contrast Grade

Numbers (usually 1-5) and names (soft, medium, hard, extra-hard, and ultrahard) of the contrast grades of photographic papers, to enable you to get good prints from negatives of different contrasts. Use a low-numbered or soft contrast paper with a high contrast negative to get a print that most closely resembles the original scene. Use a high-numbered or an extra-hard paper with a low-contrast negative to get a normal contrast paper.


Higher-than-normal contrast including very bright and dark areas. The range of density in a negative or print is higher than it was in the original scene.


Printing only part of the image that is in the negative or slide, usually for a more pleasing composition. May also refer to the framing of the scene in the viewfinder.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: D


A lighttight area used for processing films and for printing and processing papers; also for loading and unloading film holders and some cameras.

Data Disk

A circular, rotating disk at the end of Advanced Photo System film cassettes that functions as a circular bar code, communicating the film speed, type and exposure length through a sequence of reflective bars to an optical sensor in the camera.

Dedicated Flash

A fully automatic flash that works only with specific cameras. Dedicated flash units automatically set the proper flash sync speed and lens aperture, and electronic sensors within the camera automatically control exposure by regulating the amount of light from the flash.


The clarity of detail in a photograph.


An instrument used for measuring the optical density of an area in a negative or print.


The blackness of an area in a negative or print that determines the amount of light that will pass through it or reflect from it. Sometimes referred to as contrast.

Depth of Field

The amount of distance between the nearest and farthest objects that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph. Depth of field depends on the lens opening, the focal length of the lens, and the distance from the lens to the subject.

Depth of Focus

The distance range over which the film could be shifted at the film plane inside the camera and still have the subject appear in sharp focus; often misused to mean depth of field.


A solution used to turn the latent image into a visible image on exposed films or photographic papers.

Developing Tank

A lighttight container used for processing film.


Lens opening. A perforated plate or adjustable opening mounted behind or between the elements of a lens used to control the amount of light that reaches the film. Openings are usually calibrated in f-numbers.

Diffuse Lighting

Lighting that is low or moderate in contrast, such as on an overcast day.


Softening detail in a print with a diffusion disk or other material that scatters light.

Diffusion-Condenser Enlarger

An enlarger that combines diffuse light with a condenser system, producing more contrast and sharper detail than a diffusion enlarger but less contrast and blemish emphasis than a condenser enlarger.

Diffusion Enlarger

An enlarger that scatters light before it strikes the negative, distributing light evenly on the negative. Detail is not as sharp as with a condenser enlarger; negative blemishes are minimized.

Digital Camera

A camera that encodes an image in a digital file, rather than on film.


Holding back the image-forming light from a part of the image projected on an enlarger easel during part of the basic exposure time to make that area of the print lighter.

Double Exposure>

Two pictures taken on one frame of film, or two images printed on one piece of photographic paper.

Drop-in-Loading (DIL)

Film cassette loading feature in all Advanced Photo System cameras that virtually eliminates film-loading problems by automatically accepting the leaderless cassette and thrusting the film forward to the first unexposed frame without any user intervention.


Those black or white streaks, spots, and comets zipping across the screen. We count as dropouts any loss of playback signal that is 20 decibels or more below the nominal playback level (16 decibels for extra high-grade and 8mm tapes) and lasting for 15 microseconds or longer (about one quarter of one horizontal scan on the TV screen).

DX Data Exchange

Electrical coding system employed in 35 mm format film that communicates film speed, type and exposure length to the camera.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: E


A device to hold photographic paper flat during exposure, usually equipped with an adjustable metal mask for framing.

ECG technology Enhanced Cubic Grain

A technology that provides amplified sharpness in Kodak Advantix 100-speed film.


The electrical performance of the tape samples is measured and compared to the VHS-standard reference tape (the JVC VRT-2). The published numbers represent how much better (+) or worse (-) then the industry standard tape each tape sample performed (the JVC VRT-2 scores 0.0 for every parameter).


Micro-thin layers of gelatin on film in which light-sensitive ingredients are suspended; triggered by light to create a chemical reaction resulting in a photographic image.

Emulsion Side

The side of the film coated with emulsion. In contact printing and enlarging, the emulsion side of the film-dull side-should face the emulsion side of the photo paper-shiny side.

Enhanced Back-Printing

An Advanced Photo System feature available in some system cameras that enables users to encode detailed information at the time of picture-taking, such as the date and time of exposure, camera settings, roll title or other custom information for subsequent printing onto the back of their photographs.


A print that is larger than the negative or slide; blowup.


A device consisting of a light source, a negative holder, and a lens, and means of adjusting these to project an enlarged image from a negative onto a sheet of photographic paper.

Existing Light

Available light. Strictly speaking, existing light covers all natural lighting from moonlight to sunshine. For photographic purposes, existing light is the light that is already on the scene or project and includes room lamps, fluorescent lamps, spotlights, neon signs, candles, daylight through windows, outdoor scenes at twilight or in moonlight, and scenes artificially illuminated after dark.


The quantity of light allowed to act on a photographic material; a product of the intensity (controlled by the lens opening) and the duration (controlled by the shutter speed or enlarging time) of light striking the film or paper.

Exposure Latitude

The range of camera exposures from underexposure to overexposure that will produce acceptable pictures from a specific film.

Exposure Meter

An instrument with a light-sensitive cell that measures the light reflected from or falling on a subject, used as an aid for selecting the exposure setting. The same as a light meter.

Extra High Grade

A truly high grade tape will demonstrate its differences mostly in the quality of the image recorded. Extra high grade tape coatings are generally superior in noise immunity and lower in dropouts. This means that you get a better recording, and you’ll get a better second and third generation copy. Several manufacturers have indicated on their packaging that they have done things to also provide greater longevity, but this is a claim that would be difficult to prove or disprove. For especially valuable recordings, use a high grade tape; but remember that there is no standardization and no requirements that prevent anyone from naming a product “extra high grade.” Buy a tape with a brand you trust.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: F

Fill-In Light

Additional light from a lamp, flash, or reflector; used to soften or fill in the shadows or dark picture areas caused by the brighter main light. Called fill-in flash when electronic flash is used.


A photographic emulsion coated on a flexible, transparent base that records images or scenes.

Film Presence Indicator Flag

Feature on Advanced Photo System cameras that indicates the film cassette has been loaded properly.

Film Safe

Describes the fact that Advanced Photo System film is sealed in the cassette; avoids the danger of exposure to light before shooting and mishandling of negatives after shooting.

Film Status Indicators

The four icons on Advanced Photo System film cassettes that show the film status – unexposed, partially exposed, fully exposed or processed.

Film Speed

The sensitivity of a given film to light, indicated by a number such as ISO 200. The higher the number, the more sensitive or faster the film. Note: ISO stands for International Standards Organization.


A colored piece of glass or other transparent material used over the lens to emphasize, eliminate, or change the color or density of the entire scene or certain areas within a scene.


A viewing device on a camera to show the subject area that will be recorded on the film. Also known as viewfinder and projected frame.


Describes a non-adjustable camera lens, set for a fixed subject distance.

Fixed-Focus Lens

A lens that has been focused in a fixed position by the manufacturer. The user does not have to adjust the focus of this lens.

Fixing Bath

A solution that removes any light-sensitive silver-halide crystals not acted upon by light or developer, leaving a black-and-white negative or print unalterable by further action of light. Also referred to as hypo.


A brief, intense burst of light from a flashbulb or an electronic flash unit, usually used where the lighting on the scene is inadequate for picture-taking.


Too low in contrast. The range in density in a negative or print is too short.

Flat Lighting

Lighting that produces very little contrast or modeling on the subject plus a minimum of shadows.


A number that indicates the size of the lens opening on an adjustable camera. The common f-numbers are f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, and f/22. The larger the f-number, the smaller the lens opening. In this series, f/1.4 is the largest lens opening and f/22 is the smallest. Also called f-stops, they work in conjunction with shutter speeds to indicate exposure settings.

Focal Length

The distance between the film and the optical center of the lens when the lens is focused on infinity. The focal length of the lens on most adjustable cameras is marked in millimetres on the lens mount.

Focal-Plane Shutter

An opaque curtain containing a slit that moves directly across in front of the film in a camera and allows image-forming light to strike the film.


Adjustment of the distance setting on a lens to define the subject sharply.

Focus Range

The range within which a camera is able to focus on the selected picture subject – 4 feet to infinity – for example.


Darkening or discoloring of a negative or print or lightening or discoloring of a slide caused by

  1. exposure to nonimage-forming light to which the photographic material is sensitive,
  2. too much handling in air during development,
  3. over-development,
  4. outdated film or paper, or
  5. storage of film or paper in a hot, humid place.


The area between the camera and the principal subject.


One individual picture on a roll of film. Also, tree branch, arch, etc., that frames a subject.


Light shining on the side of the subject facing the camera.

A Glossary of Photographic Terms: G


The sand-like or granular appearance of a negative, print, or slide. Graininess becomes more pronounced with faster film and the degree of enlargement.

A Glossary of Photographic Terms: H


One of the three selectable Advanced Photo System print formats; identical to the 9:16 aspect ratio used in high-definition television (HDTV); suitable for wider shots than usual, such as groups; produces prints of 3.5 x 6 inches or 4 x 7 inches.

High Contrast

A wide range of density in a print or negative.


The brightest areas of a subject and the corresponding areas in a negative, a print, or a slide.

Hot Shoe

The fitting on a camera that holds a small portable flash. It has an electrical contact that aligns with the contact on the flash unit’s “foot” and fires the flash when you press the shutter release. This direct flash-to-camera contact eliminates the need for a PC cord.

Hyperfocal Distance

Distance of the nearest object in a scene that is acceptably sharp when the lens is focused on infinity.


The name for a fixing bath made from sodium thiosulfate, other chemicals, and water; often used as a synonym for fixing bath.

High dynamic range (HDR) images contain a great deal more lighting information than regular images, such as ones found in books or the internet. These images are generally created by shooting the same photographic subject at a series of exposure settings, then by using computer software, combine the total range of light into one image. HDR has many benefits within compositing and lighting, allowing a much fuller representation of intensity range found in the natural world. Often real life environments are captured as HDR images and put to use in 3D production with image based lighting techniques.

A Glossary of Photographic Terms: I

Interspersed Aspect Ratio

A basic requirement of certified photofinishers and certified photofinishing equipment; specifies the three system print formats – C, H and P – that users select during picture-taking must be available at photofinishing.

ISO Speed

The emulsion speed (sensitivity) of the film as determined by the standards of the International Standards Organization. In these standards, both arithmetic (ASA) and logarithmic (DIN) speed values are expressed in a single ISO term. For example, a film with a speed of ISO 100/21° would have a speed of ASA 100 or 21 DIN.

IX Information Exchange

The ability of Advanced Photo System film to communicate with devices, and devices to communicate with film; can be accomplished optically or magnetically using a thin magnetic layer on the film that records digital data


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: K

A Glossary of Photographic Terms: L

Latent Image

The invisible image left by the action of light on photographic film or paper. The light changes the photosensitive salts to varying degrees depending on the amount of light striking them. When processed, this latent image will become a visible image either in reversed tones (as in a negative) or in positive tones (as in a color slide).

LCD panel

Liquid Crystal Display on cameras that shows such information as remaining exposures, flash status and aspect ratio selected.


One or more pieces of optical glass or similar material designed to collect and focus rays of light to form a sharp image on the film, paper, or projection screen.

Lens Shade

A collar or hood at the front of a lens that keeps unwanted light from striking the lens and causing image flare. May be attached or detachable, and should be sized to the particular lens to avoid vignetting.

Lens-Shutter Camera

A camera with the shutter built into the lens; the viewfinder and picture-taking lens are separate.

Lens Speed

The largest lens opening (smallest f-number) at which a lens can be set. A fast lens transmits more light and has a larger opening than a slow lens.

Light meter

A light meter is a device used to measure the amount of light. In photography, a light meter is often used to determine the proper exposure for a photograph. Typically a light meter will include a computer, either digital or analog, which allows the photographer to determine which shutter speed and f-number should be selected for an optimum exposure, given a certain lighting situation and film speed.

Light meters are also used in the fields of cinematography and scenic design, in order to determine the optimum light level for a scene.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: M

Macro Lens

A lens that provides continuous focusing from infinity to extreme close-ups, often to a reproduction ratio of 1:2 (half life-size) or 1:1 (life-size).


A lighttight metal container (cartridge) that holds 135 film (cylindrical magazine).

Magnetic read/write capability

The ability to record detailed information about picture-taking conditions, such as lighting and subject distance, via the magnetic layer on Advantix film.

Memory Keeper

Compact Kodak Advantix storage case that secures up to 12 film cassettes and accompanying photo file index prints.

Mid-roll change

Feature available on the Kodak Advantix 5800 MRX-Zoom camera that enables users to remove a partially exposed film cassette, insert it again later, and start shooting exactly where they left off.


Photofinishing operation that operates on a retail level, serving consumers directly and processing film on-site.

Motor Drive

A mechanism for advancing the film to the next frame and recocking the shutter, activated by an electric motor usually powered by batteries. Popular for action-sequence photography and for recording images by remote control.

A Glossary of Photographic Terms: N


The developed film that contains a reversed tone image of the original scene.

Negative Holder

A device designed to hold the negative in proper position in an enlarger.

Normal Lens

A lens that makes the image in a photograph appear in perspective similar to that of the original scene. A normal lens has a shorter focal length and a wider field of view than a telephoto lens, and a longer focal length and narrower field of view than a wide-angle lens.


Negative Returned In Cassette – required Advanced Photo System feature that returns processed film in its original, closed cassette; liberates consumers from the hassle of storing and handling film negatives.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: O

Off-The-Film Metering

A meter which determines exposure by reading light reflected from the film during picture-taking.

Ortho (Orthochromatic)

Denotes film sensitive to blue and green light.


A condition in which too much light reaches the film, producing a dense negative or a very light print or slide.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: P


“Pan” format – one of the three selectable Advanced Photo System print formats; a 1:3 aspect ratio that produces prints of 3.5 x 10.5 inches or up to4.5 x 11.5 inches; suitable for panoramic shots and tall or wide subjects.

Pan (Panchromatic)

Designation of films that record all colors in tones of about the same relative brightness as the human eye sees in the original scene, sensitive to all visible wave-lengths.


Moving the camera so that the image of a moving object remains in the same relative position in the viewfinder as you take a picture.


A broad view, usually scenic.


With a lens-shutter camera, parallax is the difference between what the viewfinder sees and what the camera records, especially at close distances. This is caused by the separation between the viewfinder and the picture-taking lens. There is no parallax with single-lens-reflex cameras because when you look through the viewfinder, you are viewing the subject through the picture-taking lens.


Regularly and accurately spaced holes punched throughout the length of 35 mm film for still cameras.

Photo File Index Print

A basic system feature that makes ordering reprints and enlargements easy; the small print shows a positive, “thumbnail”-sized version of every picture on an Advanced Photo System film roll; accompanies all prints and negatives returned in the sealed film cassette by the photofinisher; each thumbnail picture is numbered on the index print to match negative frames inside the cassette.

Photofinisher Service Certification

Program developed by the System Developing Companies to give special recognition to photofinishers and retailers who provide the minimum Advanced Photo System feature set; an identifying logo signals to consumers which photofinishers and retailers provide all of the mandatory benefits of the system.

Polarizing Screen (Filter)

A filter that transmits light traveling in one plane while absorbing light traveling in other planes. When placed on a camera lens or on light sources, it can eliminate undesirable reflections from a subject such as water, glass, or other objects with shiny surfaces. This filter also darkens blue sky.


The opposite of a negative, an image with the same tonal relationships as those in the original scenes-for example, a finished print or a slide.


A positive picture, usually on paper, and usually produced from a negative.

Printing Frame

A device used for contact printing that holds a negative against the photographic paper. The paper is exposed by light from an external light source.


Developing, fixing, and washing exposed photographic film or paper to produce either a negative image or a positive image.

Program Exposure>

An exposure mode on an automatic or autofocus camera that automatically sets both the aperture and the shutter speed for proper exposure.

Push Processing

Increasing the development time of a film to increase its effective speed (raising the ISO number for initial exposure ) for low-light situations; forced development.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: Q

A Glossary of Photographic Terms: R


A device included on many cameras as an aid in focusing.


Any device used to reflect light onto a subject.


Most films are designed to be exposed within a certain range of exposure times-usually between 1/15 second to 1/1000 second. When exposure times fall outside of this range-becoming either significantly longer or shorter-a film’s characteristics may change. Loss of effective film speed, contrast changes, and (with color films) color shifts are the three common results. These changes are called reciprocity effect.


Cracking or distorting of the emulsion during processing, usually caused by wide temperature or chemical-activity differences between the solutions.


Altering a print or negative after development by use of dyes or pencils to alter tones of highlights, shadows, and other details, or to remove blemishes.

RF Output

The playback output level of the recorded FM signal. Lower RF output levels can result in increased noise levels in the playback signal.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: S


An enclosed darkroom lamp fitted with a filter to screen out light rays to which film and paper are sensitive.

Safety Interlock

A feature on all Kodak Advantix cameras that prevents the film door from opening mid-roll and exposing film to light.


An attribute of perceived color, or the percentage of hue in a color. Saturated colors are called vivid, strong, or deep. Desaturated colors are called dull, weak, or washed out.

SDC System Developing Companies

Kodak and four other photo industry leaders who jointly developed the Advanced Photo System standards.

Selective Focus

Choosing a lens opening that produces a shallow depth of field. Usually this is used to isolate a subject by causing most other elements in the scene to be blurred.


Trademark for patented Kodak flash technology, employed in Kodak Advantix cameras, that automatically determines when flash is needed.


Blades, a curtain, plate, or some other movable cover in a camera that controls the time during which light reaches the film.

Shutter Priority

An exposure mode on an automatic or autofocus camera that lets you select the desired shutter speed; the camera sets the aperture for proper exposure. If you change the shutter speed, or the light level changes, the camera adjusts the aperture automatically.


Light striking the subject from the side relative to the position of the camera; produces shadows and highlights to create modeling on the subject.

Simple Camera

A camera that has few or no adjustments to be made by the picture-taker. Usually, simple cameras have only one size of lens opening and one or two shutter speeds and do not require focusing by the picture-taker.

Single-Lens-Reflex (SLR) Camera

A camera in which you view the scene through the same lens that takes the picture.


A photographic transparency (positive) mounted for projection.

Soft Focus

Produced by use of a special lens that creates soft outlines.

Soft Lighting

Lighting that is low or moderate in contrast, such as on an overcast day.


Retouching a processed print with a pencil or brush (with watercolors or dyes) to eliminate spots left by dust or scratches on the negative.


Discolored areas on film or paper, usually caused by contaminated developing solutions or by insufficient fixing, washing, or agitation.

Stop Bath

An acid rinse, usually a weak solution of acetic acid, used as a second step when developing black-and-white film or paper. It stops development and makes the hypo (fixing bath) last longer.

Stopping Down

Changing the lens aperture to a smaller opening; for example, from f/8 to f/11.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: T

Telephoto Lens

A lens that makes a subject appear larger on film than does a normal lens at the same camera-to-subject distance. A telephoto lens has a longer focal length and narrower field of view than a normal lens.

T-Grain technology

Trademark for patented Kodak film emulsion technology used in all Kodak Advanced Photo System films; uniquely shaped grains that align better than conventional silver crystals, absorbing and transmitting light more effectively to produce sharper images. Kodak Advantix 400 film is the company’s first 400-speed film using all T-grain emulsions.

Thin Negative

A negative that is underexposed or underdeveloped (or both). A thin negative appears less dense than a normal negative.

Through-The-Lens Focusing

Viewing a scene to be photographed through the same lens that admits light to the film. Through-the-lens viewing, as in a single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera, while focusing and composing a picture, eliminates parallax.

Through-The-Lens Metering

Meter built into the camera determines exposure for the scene by reading light that passes through the lens during picture-taking.

Time Exposure

A comparatively long exposure made in seconds or minutes.


Shades of white in a finished print, controlled by the color of the paper, varying from white to buff.


The degree of lightness or darkness in any given area of a print; also referred to as value. Cold tones (bluish) and warm tones (reddish) refer to the color of the image in both black-and-white and color photographs.


Intensifying or changing the tone of a photographic print after processing. Solutions called toners are used to produce various shades of colors.


A positive photographic image on film, viewed or projected by transmitted light (light shining through film).

Transparent magnetic layer

Information storage layer built into Advanced Photo System film that enables enhanced information exchange capabilities, improving print quality by capturing lighting and scene information and other picture-taking data; basis for future information exchange features.


A three-legged supporting stand used to hold the camera steady. Especially useful when using slow shutter speeds and/or telephoto lenses.

Tungsten Light

Light from regular room lamps and ceiling fixtures, not fluorescent.

A Glossary of Photographic Terms: U


A condition in which too little light reaches the film, producing a thin negative, a dark slide, or a muddy-looking print.


A one-legged support used to hold the camera steady.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: V

Variable-Contrast Paper

Photographic paper that provides different grades of contrast when exposed through special filters.

Video Noise

More commonly called “luminence signal-to-noise ratio.” This is a measure of how pure the video signal is (the monochrome or black-and-white portion of the picture). Tape with good luminence signal-to-noise ratios has a sharper, clearer image. This property has even greater importance on multiple generation copies.


A fall-off in brightness at the edges of an image, slide, or print. Can be caused by poor lens design, using a lens hood not matched to the lens, or attaching too many filters to the front of the lens.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: W

Wide-Angle Lens

A lens that has a shorter focal length and a wider field of view (includes more subject area) than a normal lens.


A Glossary of Photographic Terms: X

A Glossary of Photographic Terms: Y

A Glossary of Photographic Terms: Z

Zoom Lens

A lens in which you adjust the focal length over a wide range. In effect, this gives you lenses of many focal lengths.