PHOTOGRAPHY GLOSSARY (M-O)
Photo Glossary - M
Mackie line is an effect sometime found on a negative
or print, in which a light line forms along the boundaries of
the darkest image areas. It may also be caused during processing
by the diffusion of exhausted developer, lack of agitation, or
Macro attachment are supplementary elements attached
to the front of a normal lens to give an extreme close-up facility.
Macro lens is a lens specially
designed to give accurate resolution of a very near subject without
the need for supplementary attachments. Sometimes, incorrectly,
referred to as a micro lens.
Macrophotography is photography which produces an
image larger than the original subject size without the use of
Magazine is a light-tight container holding roll
Magenta is the complimentary color to green. It
is composed of blue and red light.
Magnification is the size of
the image relative to the size of the subject used to produce
it. It is an expression of the ratio of the subject-lens distance
to the image-lens distance. When object distance = image distance,
magnification = 1.
Magnification ratio see Magnification.
Main light see Key
Mask is an opaque material used to cover the edges
of the printing paper, and thus produce borders when the paper
is exposed to light.
Masking is a system of controlling negative density
ranges or color saturation through the use of unsharp masks.
Masking frame is an adjustable frame used to hold
printing paper in position under the enlarger, also referred to
as an enlarging easel.
Mastic varnish is varnish used
Mat is an alternative term used for matte.
Also describes the cardboard surround in a picture frame.
Matte field is a granular textured surface that
disperses light in order to form a clear image. Used in the viewfinder
Matrix is a relief image, usually
made from gelatin and used for processes such as dye
Matte is a term used to describe
a non reflective, non-textured surface.
Matte box is a mask used to make images suitable
for wide-screen projection.
Meniscus lens is a simple lens consisting of a single
piece off glass, thicker at the center than at the edges. It has
one concave and one convex face.
Mercuric chloride is a chemical used in certain
types of intensifiers.
Mercury vapor lamp is an artificial light source
produced by passing current through mercury vapor in a tube.
Metal print is a photographic print made on a sensitized
Methyl alcohol is a volatile, poisonous spirit commonly
known as wood alcohol. Used as a substitute for pure alcohol in
some photographic processes.
Metol is a reducing agent which
is soft working, especially in the presence of a weak alkali.
Metolquinone is a combination of metol
used as a developing agent (MQ developer).
Microfiche is a sheet of microfilm usually forming
part of a filing system.
Microfilm is a film used to
produce a microscopic record of a document and intended for projection.
Microflash is an electronic flash of very short
duration used to illuminate subjects traveling at a very high
rate of speed.
Micro lens is a lens for microscopic photography.
Not to be confused with a Macro
Micron (µ) is one millionth
of a meter.
Microphotograph is a photograph produced to a very
small size which can be viewed with a microfilm
Microprism collar is a grid type ring found in the
center of a camera focusing screen, usually surrounding a split
Midtone is an area in a print or scene that contains
Millimicron (mµ) is one thousandth part of a micron.
Miniature camera is a term commonly applied to cameras
with a format size of less than 35mm.
Mired is an abbreviation for the term micro reciprocal
degrees, a scale of measurement of color temperature. The mired
value of a light source is calculated by dividing 1,000,000 by
its color temperature in Kelvins.
Mirror box is a box containing one or more mirrors,
usually angled to the light beam, as in the main body of an SLR
Mirror lens is a lens system
which uses mirrors within its internal construction. Most lenses
of this type have a mixture of reflecting and refracting optics
and are known as catadioptric lenses.
Microfiche is a sheet of microfilm usually forming
part of a filing system.
Mode is the prime operating function
of SLR cameras, e.g. manual mode, aperture priority mode, shutter
priority mode, etc.
Modeling light is a light used to create a three
dimensional effect achieved through the perception of form and
Modelscope is a device employing a short rigid endoscope
fitted with a right angle mirror at its tip, used to photograph
scale models from a seemingly eye-level viewpoint
Modular enlarger is an enlarger with interchangeable
filtration heads and illuminations systems.
Monobath is a single solution which combines developer
and fixer for processing b&w negatives. It is a quick simple
system but does not allow for development control.
Monochromatic are light rays of a single wavelength.
Monochrome is single colored. It is most frequently
applied to black and white photographs, but can also describe
sepia and other toned images.
Monopack is an outdated term describing a film carrying
Monorail camera is a sheet film camera, of modular
construction, mounted on a rail system to give maximum camera
Montage is a composite picture made from a number
Mordant is a colorless dye absorbing substance used
in some forms of toning. The silver image is converted into a
mordant then soaked in dye.
Mosaic is a composite made up from a patchwork of
partly overlapping photographs.
Motor drive is an automatic film wind-on mechanism
which can be attached to some cameras. While the shutter remains
depressed the film will keep winding on after exposure.
Mottle is a processing fault characterized by random
print density differences.
Mount is a frame and/or backing used to support
and protect prints and transparencies.
MQ/PQ developers are developing solutions containing
the reducing agents metol and
M-synch is a flash setting or socket which synchronizes
the firing of the shutter with the peak light output of a flash
MTF (Modulation transfer function) A comparison
of contrast between a test chart and the reproduced image. One
of the measurements of lens performance used in the manufacturing
Multi-band photography is a method of aerial photography
using cameras and scanners which are sensitive to different wavelengths
in the spectrum to record different subject characteristics.
Multimode camera is a 35mm camera that will operate
in several modes.
Multiple exposure is the technique
of making more than one exposure on the same film frame, normally
so that the images are superimposed.
Multiple flash is the use of more than one flash
unit, usually operating simultaneously to light a subject.
Munsell system is a method of precise color description,
based on comparison with comprehensive hue and saturation charts.
Has closest application to pigments, whereas the CIE
system relates directly to light.
Photo Glossary - N
Nadar is the name adopted by the first aerial photographer,
G. F. Tournachon, who took photographs from an air balloon.
Nanometer is a unit of measurement
of light wavelength. A nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter.
Naphtha is a volatile petroleum based solvent such
as benzine or gasoline (but not kerosene).
ND is an abbreviation for neutral density.
Near ultraviolet are wavelengths from about 400nm
down to 250nm. Most photographic emulsions are sensitive to this
range of bands.
Negative is the image produced on a photographic
emulsion by the product of exposure and development, in which
tones are reversed so that highlights appear dark and shadows
Negative carrier supports the negative between the
light source and the enlarging lens of an enlarger.
Negative lens is a simple concave lens that causes
rays of light to diverge away from the optical
Negative/positive paper is paper used to print a
positive color image from a negative.
Neo-coccine is a red dye used in retouching to stain
Neutral density is a technique which makes possible
shorter printing times in color printing.
Neutral density filter describes a gray camera filter
which has an equal opacity to
all the colors of the spectrum and so does not affect the colors
in the final image. It is used to reduce the amount of light entering
the camera when aperture or shutter settings must remain constant.
Neutral filtration in color printing is the filtration
at which color balance is achieved, rendering a neutral gray ion
the film image as a neutral gray on the photographic paper.
Neutralizer is a chemical designed to counteract
and make inactive another chemical solution.
New Objectivity is an approach
to the subject matter of photography originating in Germany in
the 1920s. The photographer remains an impartial observer, intensifying
the appreciation of forms and structures in ordinary things but
de-personalizing his/her approach.
New Realism is an alternative name for New
Newton's rings are rings of colored light produced
when two glass or transparent surfaces are in partial contact.
Nitraphot is a tungsten filament lamp similar to
the photoflood but with a longer working life.
Nitrate base was an early flexible film support
which was highly inflammable.
Nitric acid is used in emulsion manufacture, in
toners, and in bleaches, it is highly corrosive.
Nodal plane is an imaginary
line passing through the nodal point,
perpendicular to the optical axis.
Nodal points are located in
two areas in a compound lens system. The front nodal point is
where rays of light entering the lens appear to aim. The rear
nodal point is where the rays of light appear to have come from,
after passing through the lens. Nodal points are used to calculate
Non-silver processes are image making processes
that do not require the use of metallic silver, such as Gum
Non-substantive is a name given to color film in
which the color couplers are not contained within the emulsion,
but are introduced during processing.
Normal lens describes a lens with a focal length
approximately equal to the diagonal of the film format for which
it is being used.
Notch is a V or U shaped cut into one edge of sheet
film. It denotes the location of the sensitive side of the film
as well as identifying the type of film.
Photo Glossary - O
Objective is the lens used closest to the specimen
in microscopes or telescopes.
Off the film metering is a meter which determines
exposure by reading light reflected from the film during exposure.
Pioneered by Olympus on its OM2n. Most flash modes have OTF.
Oil reinforcement is a method of altering the tonal
range of prints on matte or textured fiber papers. The dried print
is rubbed with a medium consisting of two parts of turpentine
to one of mastic varnish and
one of linseed oil. Artists oil color is then applied locally
to the print.
One shot color camera is an obsolete plate camera
making three color separation negatives from a single exposure.
One shot developer is a developer that is used on
a single occasion and then discarded.
Opacity is the light stopping
power of a a material. The greater the opacity of a substance,
the more light its stops. In photography, opacity is expressed
as a ration of the amount of light falling on the surface of the
material to the amount of light transmitted by it.
Opalescent is like opal, a material with a cloudy-white
Opal lamp is a filament lamp with an opal glass
bulb for optimum diffusion.
Opalotype is an obsolete printing process in which
a carbon-process image is transferred on to translucent opal glass.
Opaque liquid is a dense red
or black pigment, dissolved in water to form a liquid paint used
to fill in film areas that are required to pint as pure white.
Open flash is a method of flash operation using
the following sequence: shutter opened, flash fired, shutter closed.
Usually shutter duration is unimportant since the available light
is much dimmer than the flash.
Opening up is increasing the size of the lens aperture
or decreasing the shutter speed to admit more light to the film.
Optical axis is an imaginary
line passing horizontally through the center of a compound
Optical bench is a device for measuring the optical
performance of lenses.
Optical glass is used for manufacturing lenses and
prisms. It is specially manufactured to be free of defects and
distortion, and to withstand heat and humidity. Each type f optical
glass is classified according to its refractive index and light
dispersive quality. Two or more types of optical glass are typically
used in the component elements of photographic lenses.
Optical sensitizing is a method of increasing a
films sensitivity by the use of dyes.
Optical wedge is a strip of material, clear at one
end and gradually increasing in opacity, which is used to determine
the effect of light intensities on sensitized materials.
Optics is the science dealing with the behavior
Ordinary emulsion is a term applied to a photographic
emulsion which is only sensitive to ultra-violet and blue light.
Orthochromatic is used to describe
an emulsion which is sensitive to blue and green light, but insensitive
Orth-phenylene diamene is a fine-grain developing
Over-development is a term indicating that the amount
of development recommended by the manufacturer has been exceeded.
It can be caused by prolonged development time or an increase
in development temperature, and usually results in an increase
in density and contrast.
Over-exposure is an expression used to indicate
that the light sensitive material has been excessively exposed.
Over-run lamp is a tungsten light source specifically
used at a higher voltage than normal to increase light output
and achieve constant color temperature.
Oxalic acid are soluble white crystals used in some
Oxidation product is the chemical produced by a
color developer during the conversion of exposed silver halides
to black metallic silver.