NSL Photography's™ Glossary of Photographic Terms - P

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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. The eventual effect creates a strong sense of movement.

A broad view, usually scenic.

Parallax (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 SLR and DSLR cameras because when you look through the viewfinder, you are viewing the subject through the camera's lens.

Parallax (Panorama)
Parallax is an optical illusion in which things near to us appear to move faster than things farther away. When you're shooting a panorama, parallax is exhibited when you rotate your camera and objects nearer the lens will appear to shift left or right in relation to objects further from the lens and in the background. Parallax problems can be eliminated or certainly mitigated by setting the rotational axis of the camera directly over the center of the lens Entrance Pupil of the lens attached to the camera.

Personal Computer.

PC Cords
PC cords or sync cords allow the camera to control the flash, so the flash fires at the correct time.

Regularly and accurately spaced holes punched throughout the length of film for still cameras. Basically the perforation function as a guide for precision registration of film and also provide mechanical movement from frame to frame.

The rendition of apparent space in a flat photograph, i.e., how far the foreground and background appear to be separated from each other. The rendition of perspective is determined by the camera-to-subject distance. If objects appear in their normal size relations, the perspective is considered "normal." If the foreground objects are much larger than the ones in the background, the perspective is considered "exaggerated," and when there is little difference in size between foreground and background, we say the perspective looks "compressed."

Perspective Control
Perspective control lenses are also known as tilt or shift lenses. These lenses permit the correction of linear distortion resulting from high or low camera angle. Most use a gear or sliding mechanism and require manual metering.

The process of taking photographs of minute objects using a camera and a microscope, not to be confused with "microphotography," the process of making minute photographs of large objects.

Photoshopping is slang terminology describing the digital editing of photos. The term has its origin from Adobe Systems Incorported "Photoshop" product, the most commonly used photographic image editor by most professionals for this purpose. While Adobe Systems Incorporated discourages use of the term "photoshopping" as a verb, due to their concern that it may undermine the company's trademark of the word "Photoshop," is remains widely used, and sometimes a negative one, to the chagrin of Adobe.

Picture Angle
The angle of coverage of a lens usually measured across the diagonal of the picture frame. It varies with focal length. The longer the focal length, the narrower the picture angle, the shorter the focal length, the wider the picture angle.

Pincushion Distortion
The opposite of barrel distortion, it is when straight lines are bowed in toward the middle to resemble the sides of a pincushion. It is present in small amounts in some telephoto and telephoto-zoom lenses.

In digital imaging, a pixel is the smallest item of information in an image. Pixels are usually arranged in a 2-dimensional grid, and are generally represented by dots or squares. Each pixel is a piece of an original image, where together they provide an accurate representation of the original image. The intensity of each pixel is variable. In color imaging, each pixel has typically three or four components such as red, green, and blue, or cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, to produce the correct color of that point in the image.

Level surface. It's used in photography chiefly in respect to focal plane, an imaginary level surface perpendicular to the lens axis in which the lens is intended to form an image. When the camera is loaded, the focal plane is occupied by the film or sensor surface.

Point & Shoot Camera (P&S)
A point and shoot camera, also called a compact camera, is a still camera designed primarily for simple operation. Most of them use autofocus or focus free lenses for focusing, and have automatic systems for setting the exposure options, plus have built-in flash units.

Point and shoots are by far the best selling type of camera. They are popular with people who don’t consider themselves photographers, yet want an easy to use camera for vacations, parties, and other events.

Point and shoot cameras are distinguished from single lens reflex cameras (SLRs and DSLRs) in many respects. The image that the photographer sees through the viewfinder of a point and shoot camera is not the same image that passes through the primary lens of the camera. Rather, the image in the viewfinder passes through a separate lens. Digital point and shoot cameras eliminated the need for the SLR design to some degree, by previewing the photo on the camera's LCD electronically via the lens. Point and shoot cameras don't have interchangeable lenses.

Polarizing 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.

Polarized Light
Light waves vibrating in one plane only as opposed to the multi-directional vibrations of normal rays. Natural effect produced by some reflecting surfaces, such as glass, water, polished wood, etc., but it can also be simulated by placing a special screen in front of the light source. The transmission of polarized light is restrained by using a screen at an angle to the plane of polarization.

Preset Iris
Diaphragm with two setting rings or one ring that can be moved to two positions. One is click-stopped, but does not affect the iris, the other moves freely and alters the aperture. The required aperture is preset on the first ring, and the iris closed down with the second just before exposure.

Prime Lens
A lens with a fixed focal length.
Program Exposure
An exposure mode on an automatic or autofocus camera which automatically sets both the aperture and the shutter speed for proper exposure. On some digital cameras it can set the ISO as well.

Programmed Auto
Camera sets both shutter speed and aperture for correct exposure and on some digital cameras it can set the ISO as well.

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