List of shutter models from Collection-Appareils

This is going to be a short post. Here is a link to a page on the Collection Appareils site with a visual list of very many shutter models that have been produced over the years. These are all leaf shutters.  Shutter list


Kiev 30 or Киев 30.

This is a very small camera from the former Soviet Union. It might be small but it is not light – it is made entirely from metal. The camera measures 28 by 47 by 86 mm and weighs 190g. When new, the camera was supplied with a 13 by 17 mm adapter to allow the film to the used in a standard 35 mm enlarger and a ‘disc’ to allow the film to be developed in a standard 35mm developing tank – info from the Kiev 30 manual. Unfortunately, I do not have these two items, just the camera and case.

Kiev 30
Kiev 30, open for use.
Kiev 30, open with cocked shutter showing

The camera opens and closes by sliding. Opening the camera advances the film even if no shot has been taken. It also cocks the shutter, advances the frame counter and reveals both the shutter release button and focus wheel. The cocked shutter has a red dot in the centre. The focus wheel has five distances: 0.5 m, 1 m, 2 m, and infinity and also a red Dot. The red dot represents the hyperlocal distance. The lens has a focal length of 23 mm and the hyperfocal distance is 5 m.

On the other side of the camera to the shutter release button and focus wheel is the frame counter. This counts up. There is a red dot to indicate the end of the shorter length of film that was available which was 18 frames. To the right of the frame counter, beyond the edge of the black case, is a button. Pressing this allows the working part of the camera to slide out of the metal case entirely.

Frame counter

If one does this, there are still a few things to be seen on the case. There are four windows in then casing. 1) frame counter window, 2) viewfinder eyepiece, 3) viewfinder window, 40 lens window. The viewfinder eye-piece is just a hole, the viewfinder window has a plain (and plane) glass cover – this is not a lens – and the lens window is covered with a piece of plain glass.

Exposure calculator

On the side of the case, by the viewfinder eye-piece, is a calculator for exposures. This is simple to use – it is basically the Sunny 16 rule. To use this, you must align the inner disc to your film speed. Film speeds are in GOST (which is very close to ASA and ISO) and speeds 16, 32, 65 and 130 are available . Next you align the outer disc to the weather. Weather options are icons for 1) sunny beach, 2) sunny inland, 30 cloudy and 4) dull. When the red arrow points to the correct weather, you can read off a combination of shutter speed and aperture. Only three shutter speeds are available – 1/30, 1/60 and 1/200 seconds. Adjusting this calculator has no effect on the operation of the camera – actual shutter speed and aperture are adjusted on the end of the camera.

The part of the camera that pulls out of the case contains all the workings and can be actually used on its own but with no viewfinder.

Shutter release and focus wheel

So, starting with the side with the shutter release button. There is a black strip which has the shutter release button and focus wheel. Besides this black strip is a machined stainless steel plate. This plate has a double leaf spring to keep things snug when put together. There is also a red mark indicating the position of the film plane. This stainless steel plate is hinged and lifts tip to reveal the film chamber. The film is held in a small cassette which must be loaded with film by the user – more later. In the film chamber, there are two recesses to take the film cassette linked by a groove to take the film to be exposed. One of the recesses has a linkage to the film advance mechanism and this recess must contain the take-up spool.

The other large side is more complex. Initially, there is a sliding plate with one straight and two shaped grooves. The straight  groove merely limits the movement of the sliding plate. The middle shaped groove advances the film counter, actually advances the film and appears to cock the shutter. I cannot determine what the third shaped groove does although it must have a function. Also on this sliding plate is the frame counter. There frame counter must be set to -1 when loading a new film, by aligning the long line on the counter’s disc with the red dot.

Sliding plate, closed
Sliding plate, open

When the sliding plate is slid away, the camera’s serial number is revealed – 7681448 – I assume that the first two digits are the year of manufacture which means that this camera was made in 1976, the second year that this camera model was in production.

On one of the edge sides there is a cut-out window. Behind this is a black plate which slides together with the sliding plate already mentioned. When the sliding plate is slid out, a further cut-out window  moves behind the outer cut-out window to reveal the shutter. When the shutter is cocked, the shutter has a red dot on it. When the shutter has been fired, the shutter is plain black. If you look at the red dot while pressing the shutter release button, you can briefly see the lens. This is an Industar-M lens with a focal length of 23 mm.

Cocked shutter

At one end of the inner meal box is a trapezoidal black end. This sports the aperture and shutter speed controls. Apertures are ƒ/3.5 to ƒ/11. This might seem  like a short range but at ƒ/11 and a focal length of 23 mm, the physical diameter of the aperture is only 2 mm. At ƒ/16 this would reduce to 1 mm. There are two issues here. The first is mechanical – making a usable and adjustable aperture of 1 mm. The second is diffraction. At a physical aperture of 1 m, diffraction softening of the image will be a serious issue. Shutter speeds are 1/30, 1/60 and 1/200. The old adage is that you can safely hand-hold a camera at a shutter speed of the reciprocal  of the lens’ focal length – so 1/23 seconds – which means that this camera will be usable hand-held at 1/30 seconds. On the side of the trapezoidal end is a PC socket for a flash gun.

Shutter speed plus Aperture

While this camera clearly works, I have no ready source of 16mm film nor am I able to develop 16mm film so I shall not be using this camera. Shall I keep it? That remains to be seen – it is very small so will not be in the way of storing large cameras but if I cannot use it, why keep it?


Glossary of Photographic Terms (F to I)

f/ number This is a ratio of the lens’ focal length divided by the aperture diameter. It gives a measure of light transmittance independent of the lens focal length. f/5.6 (for example) on one lens will transmit the same amount of light as f/5.6 on any other lens.
fascia A decorative covering over the front of the camera.
film advance The means of winding the film on – usually a knob until the mid-1950s and then a lever until the late 1970s when it became an electric motor.
film advance lever A lever used to advance the film one frame.
film gate the rectangular opening inside the camera against which the film sits. It provides the sharp edges to the image.
film speed A measure of the sensitivity of film to light. Measured in DIN, ASA or ISO. There are older system that a camera collector might come across – GOST, Scheiner, H.andD., Inertia and others.
film winder An automatic device to wind the film on once an exposure has been made,
focal plane shutter a shutter consisting of either two cloth blinds or metal slats that sit just in front of the film and move to allow light to reach the film.
focusing screen This is usually ground glass. In a plate camera, the glass is placed where the sensitive plate will later be and is used to display they image – upside down and reversed left to right. In a SLR camera, the focussing screen is immediately below the pentaprism and is viewed through the pentaprism with the image the correct way around. Focussing screens frequently include focus aids such as micro-prisms and split-image discs.
Fog A layer of silver in addition to that of the image. Caused by poor storage and incorrect development.
frame counter Either counts how many pictures have been taken or counts how many are left on the roll. On many SLR cameras this is reset to zero when the back of the camera is opened.
Fresnel screen This is a type of lens designed by the Frenchman Augustin-Jean Fresnel (pronounced Fray-nl). It is basically a normal lens cut into small sections to allow it to be made much thinner. It is used in focussing screens as a Fresnel screen will be as bright at the edges as it is in the centre.
front-cell focussing Ideally, a lens should be focussed by moving the whole lens towards or away from the negative. When there is a shutter in-between the glass elements of the lens, this is mechanically difficult and expensive to make. Cheaper cameras just move the front element of the lens which has much the same focussing effect but reduces the quality of the image formed for close-up shots.
FSU Former Soviet Union – refers to those republics that used to be a part of the (now defunct) Soviet Union.
F synch This is a method of synchronising the firing of the flash bulb with the opening of the shutter. F means fast and the delay between firing the bulb and the opening of the shutter is very small allowing the bulb to reach maximum brightness as the shutter is fully open.
Gamma The slope or gradient of the characteristic curve.  Closely related to contrast.
GOST This is a film speed standard used in the Soviet Union. It was originally idiosyncratic but was later redefined to be the same as ASA.
Ground glass The focusing screen of SLR cameras in made from glass where the surface has been ground down to produce a matt surface. This allows the image to be seen.
Guide Number A number that allows the flash user to determine the best aperture to use when using flash. The Guide Number works by dividing the guide number by the camera to subject distance. There will be separate Guide Numbers for Imperial and Metric distances.
Half frame A camera that produces an image that is only half the size of a standard frame. With 120 film, half frame is 60 x 45 mm and with 35 mm film, half frame is 24 x 18 mm.
helical focussing A focusing system where the lens is fitted in a screw thread and is focused by turning the lens.
Hot shoe An accessory shoe fitted with flash contacts.
hyperfocal distance This is the maximum range of focus the lens is capable of. It is found by setting the infinity mark on the focusing scale against the set aperture on the depth of field scale.
Iconometer A type of viewfinder which consists of a large wire frame beside the lens/shutter which is viewed from a small eyepiece on the camera back. These are easy to use and allow the photography of moving objects with great ease. Became obsolete around 1930ish.
image circle The circular image produced by a lens. It is always bigger than the negative or sensor.
Incident light reading This technique uses a light meter to read the amount of light falling on the subject, rather than the more usual method of reading the amount of light reflected by the subject. Mostly used in portraiture.
Infra-red Wave lengths of light that have a shorter wavelength than red light. It is invisible to the human eye but can form images with suitable film, giving different tonal values to normal film. Many older lenses have a red dot on the lens barrel to allow focusing to be adjusted for infra-red light.
Iris diaphragm A series of interlocking blades that can be moved to make differing sizes of holes to adjust the lens aperture.


Glossary of Photographic Terms (O to Z)

orthochromatic sensitive to blue and green light. The name means ‘correct colour’. Orthochromatic film can be handled with a normal darkroom safe-light.
panchromatic sensitive all colours – the usual film that is currently available. Must be handled in complete darkness.
Parallax The differences between the positions of objects when you move your viewpoint. Noticeable when using a viewfinder that is offset from the lens.
PC socket Prontor-Compur. Named after the two most prominent shutter manufacturers from the mid-20th century. It is the standard connector for flash guns found on most cameras until the Hot Shoe became normal.
pentamirror a cheap alternative for a pentaprism. It does the same job for a much lower price but does not produce as bright an image. Found on more modern and cheaper SLR cameras.
pentaprism a glass prism inside a reflex viewfinder that turns the image the right way around for viewing. It is found in most SLR cameras.
plate camera a camera designed to use glass plates rather than film.
Pressure plate This is a sprung plate, usually attached to the back of the camera, that pushed against the back of the film and helped to keep the film flat against the film gate.
Pull developing This is reducing the amount of time the film is in the developer to compensate for the film having been overexposed.
Push developing This is extending the amount of time the film is in the developer to compensate for the film having been underexposed. This allows the user to use the film as if it had a higher DIN/ASA/ISO rating.
rapid cassette An attempt by Agfa to compete with Kodak’s 126 film cartridge. Film was held loosely in the cassette and needed to be wound into an empty Rapid cassette. Used between 1964 and the early 1990s. Almost identical to the Karat cassette.
Red window A small, round window on the back of a medium format camera to allow the user to see the frame numbers printed on the film backing paper. There may be two windows on half-frame cameras (those taking 6 x 4.5 cm negatives).
Reflex viewing This is viewing the image through either the taking lens (SLR) or by a secondary lens (TLR), the image seen being the exactly the same as the image on the negative.
Relative aperture This is also known as the ƒ/number (which see). It is the focal length of the lens divided by the physical aperture
Reverse Galilean viewfinder. This is effectively a small telescope as designed by Galileo used backwards – it makes the view appear smaller so that a large scene can be fitted into a small viewfinder.
rewind knob On 35 mm cameras, the means of winding the film back into the cassette.
rim-set shutter On older manual cameras, the ring around the lens that is used to alter the shutter speed. Dates from around 1930. cf Dial set shutter.
rise and fall mechanism A way of raising the lens so that a different part of the image circle is over the negative. It is used when photographing high objects to avoid tilting the camera.
Selenium meter This is a type of light meter that used selenium as its sensor. Selenium produces a small voltage when exposed to light and the meter reads this voltage to determine the light intensity. The advantage of using selenium is that no battery is required. The main disadvantage is that they do not work in low light.
Self-capping shutter This is a type of focal plane shutter – the type used in all SLR cameras. In early focal plane shutters, the shutter would stay open when rewound meaning the film plate had to be removed first and it could not be used for film. A self-capping shutter will remain closed while being rewound so can be used with a plate in place and can be used for film.
self-erecting A camera that unfolds with the lens in the correct position for picture taking at the touch of a button.
self-timer A device in the shutter that delays the shutter opening for ten seconds or so. Marked as ‘V’ on German cameras.
shutter The means of letting light into the camera in a controlled way. Either inside the lens (leaf shutter) or in front of the film (focal plane shutter).
shutter cocking lever On older shutters (pre-1955-ish) a lever used to set the shutter ready for use.
Shutter curtain In early focal plane shutters (until the 1970s) a pair of cloth blinds that have been rubberised to be light-proof. One opens to expose the film and then the other closes to stop the exposure. Actually, they work by forming a moving slit which allows for very fast shutter speeds. From the 1970s, the cloth blinds were replaced by metal slats (from 1932 with the Zeiss Ikon Contax)
shutter release The button or lever used to fire the shutter.
Signal some camera provide a visual signal that the film has been would on and the camera is ready to take the next picture. Usually takes the form of a dot by the film advance that turns red when the camera is ready.
SLR Single Lens Reflex – a type of camera where the user views the scene through the taking lens to give very accurate composition.
Split image disc This is frequently found in the centre of a SLR focussing screen. It will split a vertical line (occasionally horizontal or diagonal line) while it is out of focus, the line joining itself at the point of focus.
spool A wooden, metal or plastic holder for rolls of film.
spool carriers The part of the camera that holds the spool of film either ready for use or once used.
Spotmeter A light meter that only measures the light coming from a small spot rather than the general area. An option with TTL meters and can also be bought as a hand-held meter.
sprocket hole the row of hole along the edge of film to allow the camera to move it. In 35mm film there is a row on either edge. In 126 cartridges there is only one row of sprocket holes.
Standard lens A lens that approximates the angle of view of the human eye. In 35mm photography, this is taken to be 43 mm (the diagonal of the negative). The ‘kit’ lens usually provided with 35 mm SLR cameras was 50mm. Fixed lens cameras were usually nearer to 40mm.
Stand development This is a technique where the film is developed with no agitation and extending the development time to half an hour or even longer. This is useful where the speed of the film is not known or where the user might suspect exposure problems. It will usually produce a usable negative but not an excellent one.
Stereo attachment These allow the camera to produce two images on one frame of film, each from a slightly different perspective. When the picture is viewed on a stereoscope, the image appears to be three dimensional.
Stop This is taken to be one unit of exposure although it is not officially defined. If you increase the exposure by one ‘stop’ you double the exposure and if you reduce the exposure by one ‘stop’ you halve the exposure.
Sunny 16 A rule of thumb for estimating the exposure where no light meter is available. The basis is to set the aperture to f/16 and the shutter speed to the reciprocal of the film speed (ISO 50 = shutter speed 1/50, ISO 200 = shutter speed 1/200). Works well on a bright sunny day.
T This is a shutter speed setting where the shutter opens when the shutter release button is pressed and then remains open until the shutter release button is pressed a second time. Like B, it is used for timed exposures but for longer than several seconds.
T-number This is similar to a F-Number Or F/-stop but gives the actual amount of light passed by the lens. It is mostly used in cinematography to ensure each frame is exposed exactly the same as others. You can convert from an F-Number to a T-Number by the formula: T=F/√(transmittance)
Telephoto A lens that is shorter than its focal length. The term gets used (incorrectly) for any long-focus lens. A 300 mm lens will have the lens node 300 mm from the film. A 300 mm telephoto lens will have its node in front of the lens – the node will still be 300 mm from the film but the physical lens will be shorter than 300 mm.
TLR Twin Lens Reflex – a type of camera that has two identical lenses, one above the other. Both are focused by the same mechanism at the same time allowing for accurate focusing but at the cost of some parallax error in near shots.
tripod boss A threaded hole to allow the camera to be fitted to a tripod. On older cameras it will be either 3/8 inch or ¼ inch Whitworth thread and on more modern cameras 3/8 inch or ¼ inch UNC thread. For this purpose, Whitworth and UNC are interchangeable.
TTL Through The Lens – a light metering system that measures the light that is coming in the lens. This gives more accurate exposures than using a hand-held light meter will.
UNC This is a formal standard for engineering screw threads. It is the current standard for tripod threads. It is compatible with the older standard of Whitworth threads for hand-adjusted screws.
Uncoupled Used of light meters and rangefinders where adjusting the meter or rangefinder gives a reading which the user must transfer to the camera lens or shutter manually. Cf ‘coupled’
V Vorlaufwerk which is German for self-timer.
vignetting A darkening at the edges of the picture caused by the image circle being too close in size to the negative – Common with cheaper lenses.
Waist-level finder A viewfinder that is used at waist-level rather than eye-level. Frequent on medium format cameras, particularly TLR cameras but also occasionally on 35 mm cameras.
Waterhouse stops a sequence of holes of varying sizes either in a line or around a disc that can be moved in front of the lens to control the amount of light entering the camera.
Whitworth This is an obsolete standard for engineering screw threads. It was the standard for tripod threads from Victorian times up to ISO defining the thread to be used for tripods (UNC). Modern and old tripod threads are compatible with each other.
Wide angle Used for any lens that has an angle of view greater than the human eye – which is between 40 and 60 degrees. It is not possible to give a single angle of view for the eye as it depends on variable factors. With 35mm photography, wide angle starts at about 35mm focal length.
winder a device to automatically wind on the film
X synch This is a method of synchronising the firing of an electronic flash with the opening of the shutter. As an electronic flash does not need time to reach maximum brightness, the flash is fired as the shutter is fully open.
Zeiss bumps Bumps on the outside of Zeiss Ikon cameras caused by the rivets used to hold components together chemically reacting with the body of the camera. This causes visible bumps under the leatherette covering.
zoom a lens that has an adjustable focal length

Continue reading “Glossary of Photographic Terms (O to Z)”

Glossary of Photographic Terms (J to N)

Karat cassette Agfa’s answer to Kodak’s 135 film in the (now ubiquitous) cassette. Introduced in 1936, it was almost identical to the Agfa Rapid cassette.
Leader The first part of the film in a 35 mm cassette. It is trimmed to about half the width of the film.
Leatherette A plasticised cloth used as a covering for camera bodies and for folding camera bellows
leaf shutter A shutter either between the glass elements of the lens, or just behind them that consists of a number of thin metal plates that move to allow light into the camera
lens coating a very thin coating applied to the surface of lenses to increase contrast and reduce flare. On early lenses (from 1930) this was just on the front surface of the front element a but later was applied to all glass surfaces. This became normal from around 1950.
Lens cap A cap that fits over the front of the lens to protect it when the camera is not in use. A rear lens cap is also available to protect the rear of the lens while it is detached from the camera.
Lens door The hinged ‘door’ of a folding camera that holds the lens and shutter in place.
lens hood a shade for the front of a lens to prevent oblique light from entering the lens. This is more important with older, uncoated lenses as they will produce flare if used pointing towards a light source.
lens node the effective centre of a lens. For a 50 mm lens this will be 50 mm in front of the film. Sometimes the node is actually outside the physical lens
lens standard The board or frame that holds the lens in place.
light meter a device to measure the amount of light so a good exposure can be calculated – most include a calculator. See exposure meter
Light seal Cameras are required to be light tight apart from the lens. When the camera has an opening back, this needs to be rendered light tight. German (and other) camera makers used deep interlocking flanges to achieve this. The Japanese used strips of foam around the edges of the door.
LTM Leica Thread Mount. 39 mm diameter and 1 mm pitch. See below.
M39 The standard thread for fitting a lens to a camera introduced by Leitz for their Leica cameras in the 1920s. Also used by many other manufacturers.  Also known as LTM
M42 A standard thread for fitting a lens to a camera introduced by East German Zeiss Ikon in the late 1940s. Used for most 35mm SLR cameras until the 1980s and became known as the Pentax thread.
macro Strictly used to indicate that the image on the negative is life size but is used by lens manufacturers to indicate the lens can be used for close-ups.
manual focussing Where the photographer must adjust the focus of the lens instead of relying on the camera to do so.
Match-needle a system used in light (exposure) meters where the user turns a dial until the meter needle and the dial needle are in the same place. At this point, the required exposure can be read off a scale.
Meniscus lens  
A simple lens consisting of one piece of glass where both glass surfaces curve in the same direction.
mercury cells A form of battery now banned throughout the world. Usually a modern battery can be used it it place, but there will be a voltage difference to take into account.
Micro-prisms a focussing aid that keeps the image out of focus until it is correctly focussed. Usually found in Japanese SLRs of the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Mirror The mirror in reflex cameras redirects the light coming in the lens to a focusing screen, enabling the image to be seen. If there is just a mirror, the image will be reversed left to right. If a pentaprism is included, the image will be the right way around.
Monochrome a picture in one colour – usually black and white but necessarily so.
motor-drive A powered device to wind on the film and take the next picture.
M synch This is a method of synchronising the firing of the flash bulb with the opening of the shutter. M synch flash bulbs are fairly slow so the delay between the firing of the bulb and the opening of the shutter is longer than with F synch.
negative The picture formed in the camera on the piece of film. It is called a negative because the dark parts of the scene will be light and the light parts of the scene will be dark.
Newtonian finder A crude viewfinder either with no lens of with a simple magnifying lens
Normal lens For a given film (or sensor) size, this is a lens that has a focal length equal to the diagonal of the film (sensor). This should have a very similar angle of view to which the human eye has when looking at a hand-held object.

Glossary of Photographic terms (A to E)

Phrase Definition.
110 film A very small film format, held in a light-proof cartridge designed for easy loading. Now obsolete
117 film The film is the same size as 120 film but the spool is much smaller.
120 size film Roll film that measures 60 mm across and is long enough for 8 off 6×9, 12 off 6×6 or 16 off 6×4.5 negatives. Still available.
126 film Film slightly smaller than 35 mm in an easy-load cartridge which can be removed mid-roll. It gives a square negative. Now obsolete.
127 film Roll film that measures 46 mm across and is long enough for 8 off 4×6, 12 off 4×4 or 16 off 4×3 negatives. Now obsolete.
220 film The same size film as 120 film but the backing paper is not continuous for the length of the film – so there are no frame numbers for most of the film.
35 mm film Small film format based on cine film provided in a light proof cassette to allow daylight loading of the camera. Has two rows of perforations used to both locate and to move the film. Image size is usually 24mm by 36mm. Still available.
620 film The same film as 120 film but on a smaller spool
828 film 35 mm film. Originally with one perforation per frame, later versions had no perforations. The film had numbered backing paper.
Absolute aperture This is the physical hole in the lens through which the light passes. The absolute aperture is important when considering diffraction effects as it is this, rather than the relative aperture (or ƒ/number) that is important.
Accessory shoe A shoe fitted to the top of the camera to allow accessories to be fitted. In the early days of photography, this was likely to be either a rangefinder or secondary viewfinder. If it includes electrical flash contacts, it is a hot shoe.
aperture The hole through which light passes to get into the camera. In many cameras, this is adjustable.
aperture priority An automatic exposure system that allows the user to set the aperture and then calculates the required shutter speed.
Aperture scale The sequence of apertures available on a manually adjusted diaphragm. The earliest was the US system but this was replaced by the ƒ/number system.
APS film Advanced Photo System. The film is 24 mm wide. The APS cameras could record photographs in one of three formats – H, C, P – but the cameras actually recorded all photographs in the H format (30.2 × 16.7 mm). The C and P formats only came into force at the printing stage when the H format image would be masked to C or P formats.


ASA An American standard for film speeds. It is arithmetic, so double the ASA number indicates double the film speed. Superseded by ISO.
Automatic diaphragm An iris diaphragm that will close down when the shutter release is pressed. They allow for composing and calculating exposure with the lens at its brightest aperture.
automatic exposure A system whereby the camera decides on what combination of aperture and shutter speed to use.
automatic focusing A system where the camera focusses the lens on the subject behind one of several pre-set focus points.
B A shutter speed setting that allows the shutter to remain open while the shutter release button is being held down. Used for timed exposures of over one second.
baseboard The hinged ‘door’ of a folding camera that holds the lens and shutter in place.
bayonet a system of fitting a removable lens quickly. This only requires about 1/3 of a turn of the lens compared to several turns for a threaded lens.
bellows a leather or fabric tunnel between the lens and the camera body that collapses when the camera is closed.
BII The German name for 120 film.
Body cap A blanking cap that fits to the camera body when the lens is removed to prevent dirt and small items getting into the camera.
Body release a shutter release on the body of the camera rather than on the shutter housing. This became normal from the mid 1930s.
bokeh A Japanese word used to describe the out-of-focus areas of an image. Currently very fashionable but unheard of a few years ago.
Bolta film Unperforated 35 mm film with backing paper.
brilliant finder A small viewfinder viewed from above and gives an image that is reversed left to right.
Bright line These are framing lines in the viewfinder which are brighter than the image. Usually include secondary lines for use with close-ups. The field of view is much larger than the bright lines so it is important to keep the subject within the bright lines. Most portraits taken with the heads missing is down to not heeding the bright lines.
Bulb flash This is a flash system that uses bulbs contains a metal filament which burns to give the light. It is necessary
bulb release similar to a cable release but is a hollow tube with a pneumatic bulb on the end. The shutter is tripped by squeezing the bulb.
Bulk film 35 mm film can be bought in very long lengths – typically 17 m or longer – allowing the user to cut off (in the dark!) the amount required and manually fit the film into a cassette. This is done both the save money and to allow the use of much smaller film lengths, saving wastage when only a few photographs are required.
cable release a flexible cable to allow tripping the shutter without touching the camera – this avoids camera shake with slow exposures. The cable is usually wire in a wound metal sleeve. There is a standard thread for cable releases which has a conical thread.
Characteristic curve Another name for the density/Log. E curve. A graph plotted of image density against the exposure values that produced them.
cartridge a disposable light-proof container for film. The most common are 126 and 110. Both are disposable.
cassette A holder for film. Usually the Kodak designed cassette still in use but Leica, Zeiss Ikon and Agfa all produced their own designs at one time. See also: 126 and 110 film
CdS meter CdS stands for Cadmium Sulphide. This is used in light meters as the electrical conductivity of CdS is proportional to the intensity of light falling on it. The main advantage of CdS is that it is sensitive in low light situations. The disadvantage is that it requires a power source.
chrome a slang word for colour slide/reversal film
Coating Putting a layer of coloured material on a lens to reduce flare
Cocking lever A lever on leaf shutters that must be set before the shutter can be fired. From the early 1950s, these were replaced by internal cocking mechanisms set by advancing the film.
Colour balance Colour film is made from several layers of light sensitive emulsion each of which is sensitive to different colours. By adjusting the sensitivity of each layer, the film can be altered to give the colours we see in sunlight although the exposure was with artificial light.
contact print A print of a photograph on paper the same size as the negative.
Contrast Density range or gradation irrespective of productive conditions. See Gamma.
Coupled Used for both light meters and rangefinders. It means that adjusting the meter alters the exposure setting on the camera or adjusting the rangefinder adjusts the focus on the lens. See ‘uncoupled’
Density In film photography, the measured quantity of silver deposited in a negative per unit area.
depth of field the spread of distances in the subject that are in acceptable focus on the negative. Depends on f/ number used and lens focal length.
dial-set shutter On older manual cameras, a separate dial, usually above the shutter that is used to set the shutter speed. Phased out around 1930. cf rim-set shutter.
diaphragm A series of interlocking blades that can be moved to make differing sizes of holes to adjust the lens aperture. Often referred to as an iris diaphragm.
diffraction An optical effect caused by light passing by a light proof edge. At small f/ numbers, diffraction will cause visible softening of the image.
DIN A German film speed standard. It is logarithmic – an increase in 3 doubles the speed of the film. Superseded by ISO.
disc film A short-lived type of film with small negatives arrayed around a card disc.
double exposure lock Once the shutter has been tripped, the shutter is locked until the film has been wound one.
Double-extension bellows These allow the lens to be moved much further away from the plate/film and so allow the camera to be focussed much closer to the object being photographed. They are an early macro device.
DX This was a crude bar-code printed on film cassettes so that the camera could automatically read the film speed. As well as film speed, the code recorded film length and exposure tolerance but these last two remained unused by most cameras.
Electronic flash A type of flash gun using a discharge tube rather than flash bulbs. The light is usually much brighter and colour balanced for colour film. The light is produced instantaneously the gun is fired
Electronic shutter A computer controlled shutter that is capable of any speed when used by the automatic exposure system, not just the speeds displayed on the speed selector.
Element Each of the separate pieces of glass in a lens is referred to as an element.
emulsion the light sensitive coating on film
EV settings a system common in the 1950s and 60s where the shutter speed and aperture were linked in the shutter housing. The user set a EV value on a ring on the shutter housing and could then adjust either speed or aperture and maintain the set exposure.
Everset A type of shutter mechanism that is always ready for use and does not need cocking. Everset shutters typically only offer two or three shutter speeds and sometimes only one.
Extension tubes Tubes that fit between the camera body and the lens. Moving the lens away from the camera allows the lens to focus much more closely to the subject making extreme close-ups possible.
Exposure Allowing the light to reach the film. Also used to express the amount of light allowed to reach the film – the product of light intensity and time.
exposure compensation A way of over-riding automatic exposure systems where the user can decide to over or under expose the picture by a set amount.
exposure lock Allows the camera the set the exposure while pointing away from the subject – for instance to avoid under-exposure if there is a lot of sky in the picture.
exposure meter a device to measure the amount of light so a good exposure can be calculated – most include a calculator. See light meter
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