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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 by solarization.

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 a microscope.

Magazine is a light-tight container holding roll film.

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 light.

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 for negatives.

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 optical system.

Matrix is a relief image, usually made from gelatin and used for processes such as dye transfer printing.

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 metal surface

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 and hydroquinone, 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 lens.

Micron () is one millionth of a meter.

Microphotograph is a photograph produced to a very small size which can be viewed with a microfilm reader.

Microprism collar is a grid type ring found in the center of a camera focusing screen, usually surrounding a split image screen.

Midtone is an area in a print or scene that contains average values.

Millimicron (m) 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 camera.

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 depth.

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 system.

Monorail camera is a sheet film camera, of modular construction, mounted on a rail system to give maximum camera movements.

Montage is a composite picture made from a number of photographs.

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 hydroquinone or phenidone and hydroquinone.

M-synch is a flash setting or socket which synchronizes the firing of the shutter with the peak light output of a flash bulb.

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 process.

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 appear light.

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 axis.

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 the gelatin.

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 Objectivity.

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 optical measurements.

Non-silver processes are image making processes that do not require the use of metallic silver, such as Gum bichromate.

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 translucent appearance.

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 lens system.

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 of light.

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 to red.

Orth-phenylene diamene is a fine-grain developing agent.

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 toners.

Oxidation product is the chemical produced by a color developer during the conversion of exposed silver halides to black metallic silver.


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