Digital Photography Jargon


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Digital photography jargon A is for.....

  • Angle of view
  • Aperture
  • Aspect ratio

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Digital photography exposure

Focal length aperture and f stop summarized

Shedding the light on f numbers

Angle of view, magnification and crop factors


Digital photography jargon

A is for......

Angle of view

Determines how much of the scene in front of the lens forms the field of view captured on the image sensor when you take a photo.

A narrower angle of view limits the image to that which is more directly in front of you. This has the effect of magnifying the scene that is captured.

A wider angle of view allows you to take in more of the scene. With a wide angle of view there is greater perspective distortion, particularly on objects close to the lens.

The actual angle of view of a lens is determined by its focal length and the image sensor size.

The angle of view also has an affect upon the depth of field. As the angle becomes narrower, so too does the depth of field - particularly when focusing on distant subjects.

See also the article angle of view, magnification and crop factors.


The size of the hole (or iris) in the lens that allows light to pass through.

As well as affecting how much light can pass through for a given exposure time, the size of the aperture also affects the angle at which light rays are bent between the lens and the image sensor. If the hole is large and the subject relatively close the angle will be more acute. This affects the size of the circles of confusion for subjects any given distance in front of or behind the focal plane.

It is for this reason that larger diameter apertures produce a shallower depth of field than smaller ones.

Apertures are typically described by their ratio to the focal length as this ratio or f number (also sometimes called f stop) will give an equivalent exposure for lenses of different focal lengths.

See also the articles

digital photography exposure

focal lengths aperture and f stops summarized

shedding the light on f numbers

Aspect ratio

The ratio between width and height of the image sensor or the final image display format.

For example, if the ratio is 1:1 - the lengths of width and side will be equal, so the shape will be square.

With a 3:2 ratio, the width will be 11/2 times the height - and so will be a rectangle.

The aspect ratio determines how much of the image circle is captured on the image sensor.

When composing your photos, you should consider the aspect ratio of your image capture - versus the intended or likely aspect ratio in which you want to display your final image.

For example, if you are going to display your final image on a widescreen t.v. with an aspect ratio of 16:9 but capture the image at an aspect ratio of 3:2, then you will need to allow a little extra room around your composition to avoid it being "cropped" in the final display.

see also the article angle of view, focal length and crop factors


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Other useful links from Digital photography jargon A

Digital photography exposure

Focal length aperture and f stop summarized

Shedding the light on f numbers

Angle of view, magnification and crop factors

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