Camera and Photography has a relatively long history spanning back into the 17th century. It was in the 1800s that the term ‘photography’ was first coined. ‘Photos’ denotes light and ‘graphein’ denotes draw according to the Greek language. The originator of this word ‘Photography’ is Sir John F.W. Herschel who was a scientist at that time.
The earliest camera was a pinhole camera made during the Renaissance age. It was called Camera Obscura. Unfortunately cameras made at that time were only able to project images onto paper or glass, but where not able to record those images in film and print.
In the 1800s, the Calotype process was invented. This process used light-sensitive paper to record images from the cameras.
The technological pace moves on unrelentlessly and the first 35mm still camera was produced in 1913.
One of the major player in the field of digital camera and photography is Kodak. In the early 199os, a professional digital camera system by Kodak was launched. This product had a 1.3 mega pixel sensor that was a hit at that time.
The technology of Photography has come a long way.
There are some Basic Photography jargons or terminologies that a photographer need to know:
1. SLR – Stands for Single Lens Reflex. This is the types of camera that a serious hobbyist or professional photographer uses. It is characterised by an interchange lens unit. SLR comes in 2 basic flavours – traditional Film-based and Digital. The Digital SLR or DSLR is still significantly more expensive than the traditional version.
2. Aperture – the opening in the camera body where light from the scene enters. The aperture partly determine the amount of light that falls on a camera film or sensor. Aperture sizes are classified as f-stops or f-numbers.
3. Shutter speed – the speed of shutting and re-opening of the camera shutter.
When the camera is set to slow shutter speed, it is very susceptible to unwanted blurring. You only want certain parts of the scene to show blurry effects, not the entire photo. Because of this, it is very important to keep the camera stationary. Therefore using a tripod to mount the camera is essential for this kind of situations.
Using the right shutter speed can produce very desirable effects. The following are some example of slow shutter speed applications:
a. Fireworks. Slow speed in seconds can capture more than one burst of fireworks.
b. Running water. Slow speed capture of water always produce very beautiful, soft and diffused effects.
c.Night scene of moving cars on roads. This often produces dazzling streams of light where the headlights of the cars traverse. The photo below is a very good example of night road scene with long exposure.
4. Focal length -The distance between the centerpoint of the lens and the film when the lens is focused on infinity. On modern camera, it is measured in millimetre.
5. F-number or F-stop – the size of the aperture. A smaller F-number denotes a larger aperture.
6. Depth of Field – the distance in front and behind a subject that remains sharp and in focus. A larger f-stop will result in a longer Depth of field. This simply means that a big f-stop numbers will result in a larger portion of the photo remaining sharp and in focus.
7. Panning- the action of moving the camera to follow the action.
8. RAW is the file format preferred by professional photographers. This is because it offers better control and advantages over JPEG. RAW file format is the digital equivalent of traditional negatives.
JPEG is actually a post converted image format On the other hand, RAW format is in the form of pure unadulterated data. JPEG is a file format widely used in 3D computer programs such as 3D Studio Max and Lightwave as well. However, raw is not available for 3D software.
RAW needs more manual editing but offers the flexiblity of post processing the images. Sensors in digital cameras can have limited dynamical range. Because of that, a photographer might need to manually manipulate contrast and whitebalance after the photo shoot.
However, JPEG is not entirely bad. It’s been demonstrated that properly exposed and edited jpeg shots can look just as good as prints from raw captures.
9. Dynamic range- Indicates the film or digital camera sensor’s ability to deal with contrast.
10. SBR or Subject Brightness range- It is the difference in terms of stops between the darkest and brightest part of a scene. Another way to put it is that is the contrast range of a scene.
Determining the SBR is crucial under certain situations. This is because if the SBR is too great, details within the scene will either be too bright or too dark. Typically, the SBR should be 5 stops or less, in order for the details to be retained.
11. Dots per inch (DPI) – The measurement of the pixels within one linear inch of an photo image. 300 DPI is considered as relatively high resolution.