Are Common Photography Terms Dated and Stupid?

Two popular photographers and YouTube personalities are suggesting that the many of the most common terms in photography are, well, stupid. You decide whether or not the current photography vocabulary needs revamping.

While doing my routine browsing across the Internet, I stumbled upon a video hosted by YouTubers Tony and Chelsea Northrup. The video suggests that many of the terms we commonly use in the photography industry are stupid. Terms such as “stops,” “fast,” “shutter speed,” “ISO,” “focal length,” “f-stop,” “exposure triangle,” and “depth of field” are used in the video as examples. The couple even suggests a few replacements you might want to add to your vocabulary.

Original: Fast — “I prefer to use a fast lens, like the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art in low-light conditions.”
Replacement: Bright — “Can you grab the brightest 35mm in my bag?”
Original: Depth of Field — “I prefer a shallow depth of field for portraits.”
Replacement: Depth of Sharpness — “Isolate your subject using a shallow depth of sharpness.”

Next time you’re around a group of photography professionals, drop a term like “depth of sharpness” and let me know how it goes. In the meantime, do you think many of the terms used in the industry today are dated? Give an example and an idea for a new or replacement word or term in the comments below.

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Karim Hosein's picture

…but these industry based nomenclature have been corrupted over time. When people start saying things like, “exposure is measured in stops,” we need to take a stand and say that that is not proper use of the term.

The current stop positions were eventually standardized to be at a halving of the exposure, but a stop was never DEFINED as being a halving of the exposure. A stop is defined as being a ball-spring detente on an aperture control ring and/or a exposure time control ring, to allow for easy adjustments without having to recalculate exposures. That sounds like splitting hairs, but it is this constant dumbing down of terms which lead people to say things like, “stops are stupid!”

Deleted Account's picture

If I understand what a word means, it's fine. Even when I agree with the logic behind changing a term, such changes only serve to confuse people. But then, I'm old and set in my ways. :-)

Karim Hosein's picture

If you understand what a speaker means by a word. The problem comes when the meaning of the word is being misapplied, to now mean something it was never meant to mean when the word was first used.

This leads to confusion when some old guy says something then some young guy says something else, then someone goes to a library and reads an old book, then he looks on the web and finds a new article. We cannot go changing the meaning of words/phrases all willy nilly. If we want to create a new term, that is fine, but we cannot be re-defining some old term. F-stop is an old term and it is NOT the measurement of exposure. That would be the Exposure Value, not to be confused with the Light Value.

Deleted Account's picture

I agree with you in principle but the vast majority of photographers TODAY, understand "F-stop". Are you, or anyone you know, confused when someone uses any of the terms being debated?

Karim Hosein's picture

«… vast majority of photographers TODAY, understand "F-stop".»

You mean, MIS-understand.

«…anyone you know, confused when someone uses any of the terms being debated?»

Well, they are debated, so, yeah. Read comments on all the Fb pages by photographers. Watch some of the Q&A YouTube videos by photographers. YES! People are confused!

Deleted Account's picture

I would submit, they are confused by the principles involved and different terminology wouldn't help. In either case, the subject has lost the little interest I originally had for it.
BTW, I visited your site. Nice photos! :-)

Douglas Turney's picture

Exactly. The word isn't confusing them, it is the principle they don't understand. If you use the words depth of sharpness is that going to make it easier to understand the opening size of the aperture for someone who doesn't understand the principle? No. Should we change the term "turn the channel" now that no one actually turns a knob? Should we now say "input a new channel number on the keypad"? No because people understand what turn the channel means and that's the purpose of words... to communicate not to have the most exact words.

Matt Cheale's picture

Well, personally I use change the channel...

Logan Conner's picture

Some of the older industries I know of have far more ridiculous nomenclature. Carpentry and Sailing come to mind. I know that confusing terminology in photography could definitely be simplified and modernized, but why do people cling to these antiquated terms? Is it just to sound cool, like you know more than the average person? There is certainly utility in gauging someone else's level of knowledge. If someone refers to "the left side of the boat" You probably don't want them doing anything important.

Karim Hosein's picture

“Port,” has four letters, and “left” has four letters. Port and left is right.

There are only two sides, and we just spoke about the port side. The Starboard side is left.

Wonder Woman's picture

Thank you for confusing me more.

Ken Hunt's picture

If you are facing the back of the boat which side is the left side? Port and starboard refer to the left and right on a boat relative to the front. Very important on a large boat or ship.

Karim Hosein's picture

True, but unless you are in a row boat, facing the stern, you generally face the bow as you advance the vessel, so left port but right if you row.

Then again, on a sail boat, one may sit back to port, legs to starboard, with left to bow, and right to stern. Moving your right to port steers the bow to starboard, as your right is on the rudder, which is stern of the boat….

Ken Hunt's picture

Nope, you are confused, Port and Starboard are relative to the boat not the people on it. The port side of a boat, ship, row boat, sail boat etc. is ALWAYS referenced from the bow of the vessel.

Karim Hosein's picture

Re-read what I wrote. Clearly we agree, and clearly I am correct.

Let me clarify.

A boat does NOT have a left nor right side; it has a port and a starboard side. A human does NOT have a port nor starboard side; a human has a left and a right side.

No matter which direction I face in a boat, the PORT side is ALWAYS the port side, and the STARBOARD side is ALWAYS the starboard side.

Likewise, no matter which direction I face in a boat, the LEFT side is ALWAYS the left side, and the RIGHT side is ALWAYS the right side.

Hence, thus, and therefore, If one were to face the bow, the stern, or the starboard, where the port side is will be referenced differently. When one faces the stern, the port side of the boat is to one's right side.

Douglas Turney's picture

But left side of the boat is relative to the direction you are looking. Port is always the same side as it is relative to a fixed point - that being the bow.

Jonathan Brady's picture

I was listening to a doctor speak the other day on a topic and he mentioned that the medical industry has changed the name of numerous conditions, most being a net benefit for patients. An example he gave was incontinence. His contention was that many patients didn't understand what it meant but when the term incontinence was changed to overactive bladder, patients understood that. It also psychologically changed the condition from something you were presumably in control of to something that you were not. The same goes for impotence being changed into erectile dysfunction. Changing the name of something isn't a death sentence. It may be accompanied by short-term confusion but if what you're changing the term into is more easily understood and relatable, it's for the best.

Lael Williams's picture

I think they are running out of topics to do. This is the stupidest video they have put out( not really). If they felt so strongly about this, why have they made tutorials on the very same topics. In there tutorials they could have choose a different title to call them, like some they suggest. I come from film and rangefinder(slr) times. I find these terms useful. You have to use something when we entered the digital age, these terms work.

Benton Lam's picture

I disagree.

The photography jargon is no different than the computer jargon that is so ready to make lots of eyes glaze over and tune out.

I remember having a chat with the wife of one of my friends and coworker - she wanted to surprise him with a laptop for Christmas, but don't know the difference between RAM and SSD size. She's a lawyer, largely unfamiliar with computers, and I could hear her eyes glaze over on the phone.

I gave her an analogy - RAM is like the legal knowledge in her head, SSD is like the legal books in her office. If she knows the answer already in her head, she can work faster. If she doesn't know, then she might look in her own library. If it's not there, then she may have to go and consult others. The size of each can affect the performance, but it depends on what kind of tasks she does day to day.

And right after that, she was better informed to make a better decision, even though the analogy is most likely flawed.

It is unrealistic to expect the whole industry to switch away the jargon. But it is quite useful to know some way to relate that jargon to those who aren't into photography yet.

Ken Hunt's picture

Probably the most annoying photography "experts" around.

Jeff McCollough's picture

I agree.

Karim Hosein's picture

Not dated, just highly inaccurate terms passed around by “photography experts” in books they write, where they dumb things down for their readers. If they are dated, they are dated to relatively modern times, not the antiquity of photography, where they used the correct terminology.

Originally referred to the spring-ball detentes on the aperture value (Av) and Time Value (Tv) rings, (once the detentes were invented), and were not standardised for several years after. Originally, these rings had continuously adjustable positions with indicators, but no stops. Pentax in Green, Program, and Sensitivity Value (Sv) priority mode, still have continuously adjustable values for Av & Tv.

No comment. The Northup's are right.

«Shutter Speed»
Tony gets upset that Pentax uses the great term, “Time value,” or Tv. It makes sense, is logical, and when we reduce the Tv, the exposure is shorter, as Tv has the units of seconds. Exposure time also makes sense, except that my exposure time may be 2018-02-02 22:17:35.06 UTC.

Good point, but don't forget, film/sensors do not have an ISO setting, but a Sensitivity setting. ISO can refer to an Optical Media file system, Standard Temperature and pressure, or the XML schema of an OASIS document.

Just as temperature is a property of matter which can be measured on several scales, film/sensor sensitivity can also be measured on several scales, the ISO film sensitivity scale being one of them. In fact, one typically does NOT adjust the sensitivity of the sensor on a modern DSLR; they adjust the Exposure Index (EI), typically resulting in an underexposure of the sensor and an over-development of the signal, (either the analog signal before the ADC, or the digital signal after the ADC, or a little of both).

…Oh, and it is not, [ ISO 100 ]; it's [ ISO 100/21° ], etc.

«Focal length»
I have been telling people like Tony, et al, for a long time, that the proper question to ask is either, “What Field of View,” (measured horizontally, of course, and NEVER diagonally), or “What distance to subject,” (or both), depending on what one is trying to achieve, but NEVER, “What focal length”! What focal length is meaningless without the format size, the distance to subject, and lots of mathematics.

“FoV” answers the question of subject framing, and “distance to subject,” answers the question of perspective.

To begin with, it is “f-stop”, not, “F/stop”, (as in, “focal ratio stop”), but your ticker almost had the aperture right, as the diameter of the aperture, D, is represented correctly as “D=𝑓/N”, (italic lowercase ‘𝑓’, over uppercase ‘N’), where 𝑓 is the focal length of the lens, and N is the focal ratio, where the focal ratio is given as N=𝑓÷D, the focal length divided by the diameter of the aperture. So one makes the aperture bigger by reducing the denominator, the focal ratio.

Aperture diameter is useful for figuring out the DoF, (as, at the perspective correct viewing distance, it is ONLY dependent on two things; aperture diameter, and distance to subject), while focal ratio is useful for figuring out exposure, (as it is not dependent on the focal length, after taking a light meter reading).

So we can speak of “raise the f-number,” when we want a greater DoF, (bigger f-number, bigger DoF), but “decrease the aperture” when we want less light, (lower aperture, less light). Common sense.

«Exposure Triangle»
I believe Peterson (or is it Patterson), came up with that dumb, stupid thing. Worse off, he did it in the days of roll film, when photographers were NOT in control of their sensitivity value (Sv) on a frame by frame basis. This means, that for any given shot, the Sv was out of their control anyway, and pointless to even mention it in an exposure calculation. You are correct, Tony, in that the photographer needs to be more concerned with the Light Value (Lv) than the Sv, even in this DSLR world.

Paterson (or was it Peterson) was considered an expert in the field, so no one questioned his stupid assertions when he made them. At least Ansel Adams was willing to admit his mistakes, but other authors still quote the mistakes in Adams' books, instead of going to the corrections.

With a vertical film plane, think of the field of acceptable sharpness, as a horizontal, two dimensional trapezoid surface, (assuming no shift/tilt/lift/swing). It has a width, often represented as the Field of View (FoV), —often represented as distance in [units] from 100 [units] away— horizontally across the frame, or more accurately as an Angle of View (AoV), the angle between the extrapolated non-parallel sides of the trapezoid. As it is a 2-D plane, and it is horizontal, it must also have a depth. The distance between the parallel sides represents this depth of the field of acceptable sharpness/focus.

So depth of field is an accurate term, as, “the depth of the field of acceptable sharpness,” or, “the depth of the field of acceptable focus,” although more precise, are both a mouthful to say. If we had to change the term, I would change it to, “Field of Focus,” (FoF), as it does shift with tilt/shift/swing/lift lenses.

UKDave Wright's picture

When listening to a photographer explaining something patronisingly to a novice, I used to enjoy asking "What is the difference between Depth of Field and Depth of Focus?" It's a good test of their knowledge, but more often than not the reply was that they were the same thing. Which, of course, they are not!

Karim Hosein's picture

You almost got me there.

But as you can see, ① I correctly explained, DoF, ② I used an expanded term, being more precise, and called it the “depth of field of acceptable sharpness,” or “depth of field of acceptable focus,” neither term being misappropriated to the “Depth of focus”, and ③ then said that the term, “depth of field of acceptable focus” (which, by my clear elucidation of the trapezoid, is clearly referring to in-front the camera), is a term I am willing to see shortened to “Field of Focus.”

At no time did I ever suggest that Depth of field and Depth of focus were interchangeable terms, but I insist that “depth of field of acceptable sharpness”, similar to what Chelsea referred to as, “depth of sharpness”, is more aptly called the, “depth of field of acceptable focus,” as sharpness is a property of a final image, and can be affected by what screen the image is viewed on, what paper/medium the image is printed on, or what pigment base is used in the printing.

“Depth of field of acceptable focus” is dependent on the angle of the arc of separation of points, and is independent of paper, screen, pigment base, etc. The expansion of the term, DoF, to a more precise, “Depth of field of acceptable focus,” (Since really only one plane is actually in focus), in no way suggests the same thing as “depth of focus,” or more precisely, the “depth of precision of the focus plane placement.”

That being said, you make a valid point, which strengthens mine we need to be specific with our terms, and not misappropriate them.

Simon Patterson's picture

I had to look up "depth of focus" as I had not heard that term before. Now I know. I learn something new every day!

Kirk Darling's picture

BTW, if you want to know the whats and wherefores of all this, such as what the "circle of confusion" has to do with "depth of focus" and "depth of field" and why they are all the basis of printing at 300 dpi, a very good source is the Glossary of Canon's "Lens Work III." It's out of hardcover print, but the Canon Europe website has it in pdf:

LuxMind Photography's picture

Hey Karim, this post and all your replies and comments are totally useful and on point. You should run with this and create an article, book, video, or something. I would pay for it.

Karim Hosein's picture

Thanks alot. That is very encouraging.

Actually planning that now. I am trying to get together a free 28-part (give or take) tutorial for beginners, plus an accompanying advanced tutorial with a subscription model on Patreon.

I want to give back for free, but unfortunately, time is money. I have not launched yet, as I am currently testing material with non-photographers, just to see how clear the content is to the un-initiated.

In the past, I did this in clubs for over ten years, but then, I had instant feedback from a live audience. It is a totally different thing when presenting in a video, no one else present.

Robert Farrell's picture

@Karim knows what's going on....

stir photos's picture

haha! I initially learned shutter speed as "exposure time", that's what my earliest mentor called it regularly.

Motti Bembaron's picture

And that's the correct term.

Simon Patterson's picture

I think I'll use that from now on.

Motti Bembaron's picture

I will add the term "directional light". You point the flash to somewhere in the room away from your subject, click the shutter and the light bounces of some walls and hit the subject.; How the heck is this "directional light"? :-)

According to my logic it is "unidirectional light". Point the light source to the subject and you have "directional light".

Karim Hosein's picture

Even that makes no sense. All light has direction. Light travels at a given speed in a given direction.

A light source can sometimes be referred to as either unidirectional, (coming from one direction relative to the subject, like a direct flash, or a gridmodifier), or omnidirectional, (coming from several directions relative to the subject, like the sky, or a large diffusion panel/bounce surface). Even so, the term is confusing, as we use these terms in reference to microphones, and we are not speaking of where the sound is coming, but of where the sound that is recorded is coming.

That is to say, because you use a unidirectional mic, you only record the sound coming from one direction, you are speaking of the parameter of the recording instrument, not the sound source.

But when it comes to lighting, too many photographers are using non-universal terms and insist that they must become universal. I think of “Rembrandt” (or, “normal” or “front high right”), “butterfly” (or “front high”), “clam shell” (or, “Front high & low”), etc., all named for inconsistent things. Rembrandt → because Rembrandt used this “normal” viewing light which anyone in his day , butterfly → because of some shadow it casts, and clam shell → because, if you imagine a clam with dis-articulated shells set in a certain position, and you think of your light sources as having the shape of clam shells, then there possibly exists a vague resemblance.

Universal lighting ought to be designated according to the position (relative to subject), size, [large or small, (relative to the subject), or point], type [bare bulb, reflector enclosed, focused, (area, flood, spot), modified, (diffusion, grid, snoot)], nature, (white balance, continuous or discrete spectrum, etc.), of the light source, and not some random description which some expert came up to help themselves, then published in some book.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Yes, you're right, light always has a direction and most times it bounces off many surfaces hence has multiple direction. However, I like to use phrases that are more logical to the human brain without getting too technical. A directional light is a light travels from light source to subject and unidirectional light is a bounced light.

Many of the term used by photographers are there to make it sound more interesting or sophisticated. Is it a good reason? I don't believe so. For example, what is a "key light" what is a "Kicker". Or what about "loop light"? What the heck is a GOBO? Main light, hair light, back light, background light etc.sound simpler and self explanatory.

However, when teaching and learning light patterns, it's easier to refer to the result of the light patter -like loop, split, butterfly etc.- rather than using term like high-front, right-high etc. These are vague terms . For example, light can be placed in various spots and height and still be called high-right.

Instead of learning exact light position (practically impossible), we learn the results that they create. This way, the photographer can play around with the lights until she/he have the desired results. Assigning names to different pattern sticks in our memory better.

Even then, I was always confused between "loop" and Rembrandt :-) . To be honest, and some might find it wrong, I place light according to how the results look and not if they subscribe to a specific light pattern. Saying that, learning photography it was useful to learn those light pattern and expand from there.

Explaining sound recording, you obviously have better command and knowledge of tech :-)


Karim Hosein's picture

Understood, but….

① “Uni-” means one, as in one direction. I think you mean, “non-directional,” or, to be more precise, “direct,” and “indirect” light. Unidirectional may make sense to your brain, but not necessarily everyone's. If we retain the terms, uni-, multi-, and omni-, to mean one-, many-, and all-, respectively, as they have always meant, then all can understand.

② «For example, …"key light" …"Kicker" …"loop light"…GOBO.»
Agreed, 100%, (with a caveat on, “Key”).

③ «Main light, hair light, back light, background light etc.sound simpler and self explanatory.»
Agreed, 100%, no caveat.

④ «…it's easier to refer to the result of the light patter -like loop, split, butterfly etc… …we learn the results that they create.»
Except that “clam shell” does not produce a clam shell pattern, neither does “Rembrandt” produce a Rembrandt pattern. Also, a “butterfly” pattern is not produced where a “Loop” pattern is produced. There is no consistency. It is like Microsoft Windows naming conventions; Major.minor version number → year → two letter acronyms → Words → Integer → Major.Minor version number → [skip a number] → Integer → [allegedly, Words].

⑤ «…rather than using term like high-front, right-high etc. These are vague terms.»
Actually, far more specific than the former. The way I had learned was terms like, “35in shoot-through, 2m, 45, 3m, -45, and long soft box, 1m, 270, 3m,” which told me precisely what to do; place the 35 inch shoot-through umbrella two meter away from subject, 45° bearing from subject, raise the stand three meters, point the umbrella down 45°, and place the long soft-box one meter from subject, 270° bearing, raise the stand three meters high.

That is universally clear, without having to do a Rorschach test.

⑥ «Instead of learning exact light position,… we learn the results …. This way, the photographer can play around….»
Agreed, 90%, (not the, “practically impossible,” part).

⑦ «Assigning names to different pattern sticks….»
True…. When WE assign the name; not when someone else assigns the name for us.

…And shame on PPA for testing on these random names. A Master photographer does not care what a certain lighting set up had been arbitrarily named by some blow-hard, just that he can use lighting setups to achieve a certain look.

⑧ «I place light according to how the results look and not if they subscribe to a specific light pattern. …expand from there.»

Kudos! You have achieved lighting nirvana! That is the goal of it all.

The thing about “Rembrandt” lighting, is that it was a step away from painters who depicted the subject as our brains perceived it, vs the way the shadow fell when they stood under (what was then), “normal” lighting. There was nothing magical about it.

Right-handed people who sat at a desk would have a light high over their left shoulder so that, as the wrote, the shadow of their hand and quill would fall behind the hand, and not on the work. With this normal lighting, if a person was presented in-front of them, they would be lit by…. “normal” light. This is the term I had learned back in 1981.

The first time I heard the term, Rembrandt light, I had no idea what they were talking about. I was mocked, “You are a photographer and don't know what Rembrandt light is?” No idea, because it was an arbitrary name which would mean nothing to people who were not familiar with the fact that Rembrandt was famous for using, “normal” light, instead of, “perceived” light.

Well, in today's world of overhead lighting, and fewer standing lamps, we usually see people in a different shadow pattern than Rembrandt usually saw people. This pattern is mostly what is now called, “butterfly” light. It is pleasing to us because it is normal to us, just like Rembrandt lighting was normal to him. Photographers who suggest ‘Rembrandt’ lighting because, “it is so pleasing,” are missing the point.

Motti Bembaron's picture

My mistake, I meant indirect not unidirectional. There is no word like 'indirectional' so I used un-directional which now I know means "A pattern that looks the same from any direction. Same as undirectional pattern"

May bad :-)
Other than that, yes, I like, you are right.

You mention the year 1981 so you study photography way before all the hype, video tutorials by anyone who can hold a camera and looks good and before all those "award winning photographers" hoopla.

You were influenced by one or two people around you and you had the opportunity to try things your way until you perfected the results. Of course we can do the same but it is a different reality today with hundreds of opinions and equipment manufacturers that churn out gadgets in one month that took 10 years those days :-) (or maybe a little less)

My colleague is from that era and he just kept doing what he was doing all these years No amount of tutorials and "expert" advice would phase him.


Anonymous's picture

If clearer phrases will result in higher quality images, I'm all for it. I know all of the old terms and these don't bother me any more than it bothers me not to speak Old English.

Karim Hosein's picture

…But these terms being old is not the point. It is these terms being misunderstood because Modern photographers are misrepresenting them.

Karim Hosein's picture

I always hated that one. I was taught that a “full frame” was 10×8 inches, as that was the first size to be standardized. When the first mass produced 5×4 inch came out, the “Portable camera,” it was the “quarter frame”. The 10×8 became known as the “studio camera”. The first 70mm roll cameras —what became known as 120/220— were “compact cameras” and came in different sizes from 9×6 cm to 6×4.5 cm.

What we now call “full frame,” was called, “half height,” as the film was half the “height” of a 70mm wide roll, at 35mm wide. At this stage, the “quarter frame” 5×4 became medium format, the 10×8 became “large format,” and the 70mm was “full height.”

The other terms I hate are, “crop camera/sensor,” and “crop factor.” I have a K-3, and I have carefully examined my sensor. It has not been cropped any smaller than it was at manufacture. I have the full 24×16mm size (approximations applied) at which it was made.

If someone has only one camera, or if all their cameras are the same form factor size, then none of their cameras have a “crop factor,” as the term is only relevant when comparing two cameras of different format sizes, such as a 5×4 to a 10×8, with a crop factor of ×.5. Back then, they spoke of “enlargement factors,” meaning, “what factor of enlargement must be applied to the negative in order to fill a 10 inch width of paper?” So the 5x4 had a ×2 enlargement factor.

Here is a statement that is wrong on so many levels; “bear in mind that your 50mm lens is really a 75mm lens, since you have a crop sensor.” It becomes pointless to say to somebody if the only camera they had ever known was an APS-C format size, —or what I call the, “D-type,” in all my ramblings. (Can we start calling it that)?

Douglas Turney's picture

I agree with you that the full frame and crop frame seem senseless today especially if the person never worked with 35mm or only has either a full frame or cropped frame. However when you trace the origin of these terms they make sense because AT THAT time new terms were needed to understand the new technology. That usually requires relating it back to something that is already known and understood. Think of the word automobile. What you think of today is different from what a person in 1910 would think of. In 1910 the word automobile gave the person a way to think of the new technology while relating it to technology they were more familiar with. Or how about the word "smartphone"? As long as the word communicates information from the speaker/writer to the listener/reader than that word is appropriate. This is a point that is stressed on the Podcast "A Way With Words". I'll leave you with one other phrase to think about "kicked the bucket". What does that mean?

Jeff Gillisroy's picture

They didn't exactly suggest great alternatives or give good reasons for changing any term to anything in particular.

Jon Dize's picture


Gabrielle Colton's picture

Eh I think you need to know the basic ones, but I hardly use ANY techy terminology. Listening to me describing what I do is painstaking to some I am sure.. haha

Aaron Patton's picture

Now going to start referring to fast lenses as “big hole lenses” and bokeh as the “blur quotient”. Maybe we should develop a Cockney rhyming slang for photographers.

Joshua Kolsky's picture

"Big Hole Lenses" you can tell by the way it is.

George Popescu's picture

They are fools messing with something beyond their understanding. I wouldn't call them "experts" on anything, including photography, especially the woman.
If you watch any, ANY of their videos you will realize that she doesn't know much about photography and is just the "face" of their brand, on their books, videos...etc.

Simon Patterson's picture

So when is this website changing over to be the fnumbers dot com website?!

Robert Farrell's picture

Is this serious? These two are seriously ruining any credibility they may have had. Fstoppers, don't share this kind of garbage...

Some of these terms are specific to their scientific and mathematical references. For example, when studying optics, the term "Depth of Field" is a specific descriptor of numerical representations of "acceptably sharp". This is in contrast to the term "Depth of Focus" or "Depth of Sharpness" , as she puts it.

F-stop is a factor of your objective lens. Regardless of what you want to call f-stop, it's a measurement of optics that applies to more than just photography, and it would benefit any photographer to understand that relationship regardless of what they want to call it. There is no reason photographers should be so special to differentiate optical terms from the rest of the optical world.

The triangle is a teaching tool that has been used teach the relationship between three variables for a VERY long time and doesn't simply apply to the basic controls of photography. You can claim that it doesn't make sense to you, but the fact that the method has been used for a long time to describe many different systems basically means it is effective.

Shutter speed? That makes perfect sense.... if you want a shorter duration you increase the speed the shutter moves. How does that confuse you? Don't belittle yourself by claiming that you don't understand basic concepts.

Exposure vs brightness? You increase brightness in post. You increase exposure in camera. I'll understand what you mean, but if you tell me you want me to increase the "brightness" in an image I'm going to disregard your opinion as amateur.

Karim Hosein's picture

«F-stop is a factor of your objective lens.»

Actually, that would be the focal ratio number, or f-number, not f-stop. The f-number, N, is given as,
where, 𝑓, is the focal length, and, D, is the diameter.

A ‘stop’ is one of several positions on an ring where the spring-ball would sit inside a detente in the barrel. On the aperture ring, it is an ‘f-stop’, as it is a stop on the f-number scale. On the exposure time scale, it would have been a ‘t-stop’ (lowercase ‘t’), as it is a stop on the time value scale, not to be confused with a ‘T-stop’, (UPPERCASE ‘T’), which means something completely different.

That being said, it is ALWAYS a fallacy to say that the exposure is measured in stops.

«The [exposure] triangle is a teaching tool that has been used [to] teach the relationship between three variables for a VERY long time….»

Not that long. It was a stupid oversimplification made by a good photographer, bad author, in a time when selecting the sensitivity value on a frame by frame basis was not even possible. In the timeline of the history of photography, it is quite recent.

«…the fact that the method has been used for a long time …basically means it is effective.»

…And throwing sand on a grease fire may also be effective, but it is not the best way, the most convenient way, the most effective way, the suggested way, the….

IT SUCKS! Exposure time sets the amount of motion blur. Aperture diameter sets the DoF. You want to fiddle with exposure? Fiddle with the light. That is what photographers did for years. Before that, they fiddled with the sensitivity value when they were able to do so on a frame by frame basis. Contrary to popular belief, we do not have that option today. Although we can mess with the exposure index, (EI), and development times, using the dial labeled, ISO, we cannot actually mess with the Sensitivity value. It is fixed at the time that the sensor is manufactured, and cannot be altered, not even by firmware. It is a quantum physics thing.

«…increase the speed the shutter moves.»

Not possible. The shutter speed is fixed once the camera is manufactured, and cannot be altered, even by firmware. It is a mechanical thing, (or electronic thing, when using an “electronic shutter”. Either way, it is physics, and cannot be altered).

The shutter speed determines your flash sync speed on focal plane shutters, your smallest exposure time on leaf shutters, and how much “rolling shutter” problems you will have on both focal plane shutters & “electronic” shutters on a CMOS sensor. (Rolling shutter is not a problem on a CCD sensor).

«You increase brightness in post. You increase exposure in camera.»

I increase brightness on set all the time. Has nothing to do with my camera.

If you think of your camera and all its settings —outside of focus, aperture and exposure time— as developing the negative, then think of your raw software (Lr, DarkTable, RawTherapee, Affinity, etc), as exposing & developing your print. One can change the exposure. These software titles take the place of an enlarger, paper, chemicals, and all the other darkroom tools, and that includes setting an exposure after doing a test strip.

…And I increase exposure with SEO. ;-) :-D

«Is this serious?»

No. It is entertainment. You should watch their channel. It is a mix of mainly great teaching, and mild entertainment. This particular video is mostly the mild entertainment part, (with a small amount of actual teaching).

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