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Photo Glossary - V

Vacuum back is a camera back with a perforated plate through which air is drawn by a pump. A sheet of film is therefore sucked flat against the plate and held firmly during exposure. Used for special large format cameras such as copying devices where dimensional accuracy is critical.

Vacuum easel is a compact printing frame which ensures firm contact between the film and paper by excluding air between the surfaces. Some types are used to hold the paper flat on the enlarger baseboard when enlarging.

Vanishing point is the point at which parallel lines, viewed obliquely, appear to converge in the distance.

Vapor discharge lamp is a lamp in which electrical current passes through a vapor or gas rather than through a wire filament, thus producing illumination.

Variable contrast paper is a printing paper in which the contrast can be varied depending on the color of the printing light. This can be altered by using different color filters.

Variable focus lens is a lens whose focal length can be continually varied within a given range. Also known as a zoom lens.

Veil is a uniformly distributed silver deposit in a photographic image, not forming part of the image itself. Also known as fog.

Video still camera is a camera using an electronic charge coupled device instead of film.

View camera is a large format camera which has a ground glass screen at the image plane for viewing and focusing.

Viewfinder is a system used for composing and sometimes focusing the subject. There are several types: direct vision, optical, ground glass or reflex.

Viewpoint is the position of the camera in relation to the subject.

Vignetting is a printing technique where the edges of the picture are gradually faded out to black or white. It also refers to a fall off in illumination at the edge of an image, such as may be caused by a lens hood or similar attachment partially blocking the field of view of the lens.

Vinyl film is an emulsion coating on a polyvinyl chloride acetate base, with less shrinkage than conventional film bases.

Viscose sponge is a synthetic sponge used to wipe surplus water off films before they are hung up to dry.

Viscous processing is a process using chemicals carried in sticky semifluid substances instead of normal liquids. Used for instant picture processing.

Volt is a unit of electrical potential difference and electromotive force.

Voltage stabilizer is a transformer used to produce a steady output voltage despite fluctuations of input voltage.

Vortograph is an abstract photograph made with a simple kaleidoscopic apparatus, first used by Alvin Langdon Coburn in 1917.

Photo Glossary - W

Warm colors are any colors which, by association, suggest warmth, such as red, orange and yellow.

Warm tone developer is a developer producing image colors in chlorobromide papers ranging from warm black to reddish brown, according to type.

Washing is the final part of the processing cycle, which removes residual chemicals and soluble silver complexes from the emulsion.

Water bath are large water filled containers used to maintain processing trays, tanks or chemicals at the correct temperature.

Waterproof paper is another term for Resin-coated paper.

Water softeners are used to eliminate most of the minerals and slats found in hard water.

Watkins factor is an old system of development control, based on observation of the processing image under safe lights.

Watt is a unit of power in electricity.

Watt-second is an alternative unit of energy, equal to the joule.

Wavelength describes the distance from wave-crest to wave-crest between two corresponding waves of light in the electro-magnetic spectrum. Wavelengths are measured in nanometers (nm) and Angstrom units (A).

Waxed paper process is an early form of photography. A variation on the calotype process.

Weak is a negative or print which is low in contrast or density.

Wedge spectrogram is an indication of the spectral sensitivity of a sensitized material by exposing it to a spectrum of light through a graduated gray wedge.

Wet collodion is a much improved calotype developed by Frederick Scott Archer. A sensitized glass plate was dipped into a bath of silver nitrate and exposed while still wet. The improved speed made much shorter exposures possible.

Wet processing is processing by the application of chemicals in fluid form. The traditional method of photographic processing.

Wetting agents are chemicals which, when used in minute quantities, reduce the surface tension of water. They are usually added to the final wash of films and plates to improve draining.

White Light see White Light Spectrum.

White light control is the level or switch on a color enlarger which removes all color filtration and returns it when required.

White light spectrum is the electromagnetic wavelengths between 400-700 nanometers. Also referred to as the visible spectrum.

Whole plate is a negative or print format measuring 6 x 8 inches.

Wide-angle lens is a lens with wide covering power. It has a focal length which is less than the diagonal of the film format with which it is being used.

Wide-angle rack is an additional focusing rack used on large format cameras.

Wide area AF means the autofocus detection area is wider than normal. Making it easier to photograph moving subjects.

Wood print is a print made on a wood surface which has been photochemically prepared.

Working aperture is the widest aperture at which an acceptable image can be achieved.

Working solution is a liquid chemical that has been mixed and diluted for use.

Photo Glossary - X

Xenon is a rare gas sometimes used with electronic flash tubes and enclosed arc light sources.

Xerography is a photographic process which uses an electrically charged metal plate. On exposure to light the electrical charge is destroyed, leaving a latent image in which shadows are represented by charged areas. A powdered pigment dusted over the plate is attracted to the charged areas, producing a visible image.

Xography is a system of photography which produces prints and transparencies with a three-dimensional effect. A cylindrically embossed lenticular screen is placed in contact with the film and a shutter behind the lens is arranged to scan the subject during exposure.

X ray are electromagnetic radiations beyond ultraviolet which, when passed through a solid object and allowed to act upon a sensitive emulsion, form a shadow image of the internal structure of the object.

X ray film is spectral sheet film for radiography, having a thick emulsion coated on both sides of the support to increase the absorption of X rays.

X setting (X sync) is the setting that causes the flash to burst in synchronization with the shutter. For some manual cameras, the X synch speed refers to the maximum speed that the camera can synchronize with the flash.

Photo Glossary - Y

Yellow is the color formed by mixing red and green light. Yellow is complimentary to blue, and is one of the three colors used in subtractive color synthesis.

Photo Glossary - Z

Zirconium lamp is an arc lamp used in powerful enlarges and projectors.

Zoetrope is an early device for creating illusion of continuous motion. A sequence of still pictures was viewed so quickly through slits in a rotating drum, that the images appeared to merge.

Zone focusing is a method of focusing the lens so that the depth of field extends over a preselected range of distances.

Zone system is the method of determining exposure and development required for individual scenes, invented by Ansel Adams. It is based on analysis of subject luminosities in terms of ten gray tones, labeled zones 0 through X and previsualizing them as print densities. By measuring each subject luminance with a hand meter it is possible to determine how much the range of values must be contracted or expanded by negative development control to give the required values in the print.

Zoom lens is a lens which is constructed to allow continuously variable focal length within a specific range. The effective aperture and focus settings remain unchanged throughout such adjustments.

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