Common SONY Photography Acronyms
In order to reduce confusion, everyone is invited to breeze through this list of common acronyms used in the SONY DSLR forum. It is by no means complete ... but, it should cut down on the possible confusion you may experience reading through the postings. (You just might want to print this one ;))
α: Trademark of the SONY Corporation signifying the "Alpha" line of DSLR camera models.
Symbols and numbers
+30s: The 2009-line of “intro” DSLRs (α230, α330 & α380) created with advanced help features built in to assist new DSLR users to understand their cameras, derived and functionally downgraded from the earlier α200, α300 & α350 (2008) cameras.
+90s: The 2010-line of 14.2 MP “intro” DSLRs (typically the α290 & α390) created with advanced help features built in to assist new DSLR users to understand their cameras, derived and functionally downgraded from the earlier α200 & α350 (2008) cameras.
A: Aperture Priority exposure mode - the user selects the desired aperture and the camera chooses the shutter speed to give you the appropriate exposure
A: (A-mount) Minolta's original AF focus bayonet lens type
AD: Tamron's anomalous dispersion technology
ADI: Automatic Distance Information – provide distance information to the camera for the calculation of TTL-based flash intensity
AdobeRGB: A popular color space with a wider color gamut than sRGB, originally designed to encompass most of the colors achievable with CMYK printers, yet displayable on RGB monitors. AdobeRGB images tend to look lackluster in the "standard" RGB (sRGB) colorspace, due to truncation of Green-Cyan-Blue color levels.
AE: Automatic exposure
AEB: Automatic exposure bracketing
AEL: Auto-exposure lock – allows a user to lock exposure settings and reorient the camera without changing exposure settings
AF-A: Focusing Mode - Automatic AF -> If subject stay stationary, focus remains locked with shutter button pressed down. if subject moves, focus is recalculated to follow subject. Also allows for DMF (Direct Manual Focus adjustment) control, once focus lock is achieved.
AF-C: Focusing Mode - Continuous AF -> Follows subject through continual adjustment of focus while shutter button is held down or half-pressed.
AF-S: Focusing Mode - Single-spot AF -> Focus stays locked even if subject changes location with shutter button held down
AF Micro-adjust: An "advanced feature" of some DSLR cameras to allow for minor focal adjustment of the sensor to compensate for a manufacturer's QA/QC issue with lenses not being properly corrected before sale. (Comment: If a lens is properly corrected and aligned, this feature should not be necessary on any camera. They should all line up on precisely the same spot.)
AIS: Sony's proprietary hot shoe that can accept a variety of accessories such as a microphone and light
AL: Aspherical lens
APO: Apochromatic – Technology which minimizes color aberration
APS-C: SONY's 1.5x crop sensor like in the SONY α100, α200, α230, α300, α330, α350, α380, α500, α550, α700
ASA: American Standards Association - now ISO
ASL: Aspherical – allows for high quality, yet compact and lightweight lenses
AT-X: Advanced Technology-Extra by Tokina
AUTO: A mode selection where complete control of the image taking process is given to the camera, to be determined by an algorithm inside the camera.
Autofocus: A focus mode that allows the camera to automatically attempt a contrast focus on a particular focal point, selected by the user or automatically selected by the camera. Autofocus usually occurs when the shutter release button is half depressed, or a pre-focus occurs on many SONY DSLRs, when the user's face is detected near (within 2 inches) of the viewfinder.
AWB: Automatic white balance
BF: Back-focus – A focusing flaw in a lens, where the focal center is improperly offset during autofocus.
BG: Background - what's behind the foreground subject in a photo
BMP: Bitmap – a type of image format
Bright: A lens reference for lenses having a base aperture wider than f/2.8
BULB: Bulb mode – allows for the shutter to be open as long as the shutter button is pressed
CA: Chromatic Aberration - Color fringing seen at high contrast areas
CCD: Charged coupled device, the digital sensor typically used in “intro”
CF: Compact Flash - A common type of memory card physically larger than SD
CMOS: Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor – pronounced “see-moss” - the type of digital sensor typically used in higher-end SONY cameras
CMYK: Cyan-magenta-yellow-black – The four colors in subtractive color systems commonly used when printing images
CoC: Circle of Confusion - An estimated calculation of the depth of field necessary to produce a clean image
CP or CPL: Circular polarizer
CRC: Close range correction - Lens designed for superior focusing at close distances
CRAW: Compressed Raw format
CS: A version of Adobe Photoshop’s Creative Suite
CZ: Carl Zeiss certified lens
D: Minolta’s lenses which send distance information from the lens to the camera
D: Designation for digitally enhanced Tokina Full Frame sensor capable lenses
Dark: A lens reference for lenses having a base aperture tighter than f/4.5
DC: Defocus control - Allows the photographer to control the degree of out-of-focus area for better looking bokeh
DC: Designation for digital-only SIGMA APS-C sensor lenses
DF: Sigma's dual focus system which separates internal focusing mechanism with focusing ring so the focusing ring doesn't spin while automatically focusing
DG: Designation for digitally enhanced SIGMA Full Frame sensor lenses
Di: Designation for digitally enhanced TAMRON Full Frame sensor lenses
Di-II: Designation for digital-only TAMRON APS-C sensor lenses
DL: Deluxe. Sigma's lower end lenses
DMF: Direct Manual Focus - after achieving autofocus with the half-press and maintaining pressure on the shutter release, the camera surrenders the mechanical focus lock and allows direct manual control of the focus through manipulation of the lens' focus ring for movement of the center of focus and thereby the depth of field.
DNG: Digital Negative, an open Raw format
DOF: Depth of Field - The range (or plane) of sharp focus in a picture based on focal center
DPI: Dots per square inch - A measure of printing resolution
DRO: D-Range Optimizer - optimizes the contrast and the color reproduction of the recorded image by area
DSLR: Digital Single Lens Reflex camera
DT: Designation for digital-only SONY APS-C sensor lenses
DX: Designation for digital-only Tokina APS-C sensor lenses
ECF: Eye Controlled Focus
ED: Extra-low Dispersion glass elements which help correct chromatic aberrations
EV: Exposure value – A method of quantifying brightness values.
EV: Electronic Viewfinder
EX: Excellence. Sigma's higher end lenses
EXIF: Extended Information built into digital images that contains information such as the Aperture and Shutter speed used to create the photo
FE: Fisheye lens
FF: Front-focus – An focusing flaw in a lens, where the focal center is improperly offset towards the camera during autofocus.
FF: Full frame - A digital sensor that is 24mm x 36mm, the size of 35mm film, such as in the SONY α900 or α850
FL: Focal length
Focus Lock: A condition that exists once autofocus has obtained contrast focus on a selected focal point (usually in the center, but not necessarily, depending on mode or selected focal point(s)). Usually, the camera control releases the shutter if the shutter release button is fully pressed.
FPS: Frames per second - how many pictures per second the camera can capture
G: SONY's high-end lenses (Adopted from Minolta)
GB: Gigabyte – 1,000 Megabytes
GIF: Graphics interchange format, a proprietary image format with animation and transparency capabilities, but only 256 colors
GN: Guide number - a measure of the maximum distance range of a flash
GND: Graduated neutral density filter - A type of filter where the top is dark and the bottom is clear, with a transition in the middle. These are useful for shooting landscapes with bright skies.
GPS: Global positioning system - a series of satellites in the sky which allow you to precisely locate where you are and where photos were taken
HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface - video capability of the high-end camera bodies
HDR: High dynamic range - A technology to compress a scene with a very large dynamic range (dark darks and bright lights) to fit into a single photo
HLS: Another name for HSL (see below)
HS: "High Speed", upgraded gearing for faster autofocus, revised like a new model. Some lenses were upgradeable in authorized service centers as well
HSB: Another name for HSV (see below)
HSI: Another name for HSL (see below)
HSL: A color space where Hue is the color, Saturation is the intensity, and Luminance is the brightness
HSM: SIGMA's version of ultrasonic motor drive, similar to SONY's SSM (see "SSM")
HSS: High speed sync - Another name for FP sync which allows for high speed flash photography
HSV: A color space where Hue is the color, Saturation is the intensity, and Value is the brightness
Hz: Hertz - A measure of frequency in units of cycles per second
ICC: International Color Consortium - ICC Profiles are numeric representations of the color reproduction abilities of devices, often used to calibrate monitors and printers
IF: Internal focusing lenses which do not change length over the focusing range
IMO or IMHO: In My Opinion or In My Humble Opinion
IP: Intellectual Property - Any work which is the creation of the human mind, such as a photograph
IQ: Image Quality - a judgmental evaluation based on focal clarity
IR: Infrared - Light below the visible spectrum when photographed, produces some very unique looks
IS: Image Stabilization
ISO: International Standards Organization - speed or digital camera's (or film's) light-sensitivity
JPEG or JPG: Joint Photographic Experts Group - A very commonly used image format
K: Kelvin - A scale used to measure color temperature
KB: Kilobyte - 1,024 bytes
"Keeper" Slang for a well-framed, well-focused, contrasty image you have taken from a series of similar images.
LAB: A powerful color space which allows for manipulation that would be otherwise impossible in other color spaces
LCD: Liquid crystal display
LED: Light emitting diode
Li-ion: Lithium ion - A type of rechargable battery with very high energy density, compact size, finite number of recharge cycles, finite lifespan, no memory effect, slow loss of charge when not in use, and an expensive cost
LF: Large format
LV: LiveView - a feature found on SONY's α300, α330, α350, α380, α500, & α550 DSLRs that allows focusing and framing with the rear LCD Panel.
M: Manual exposure - the user manually selects both the aperture, shutter speed & ISO
MF: Medium format
MF: Manual focus
MLU: Mirror lock-up - A technique to flip up the SLR mirror before exposure and minimize vibrations due to mirror slap
MRC: Multi resistant coating - Special coating used on lens filters to help reduce flare
MS: Memory Stick - A proprietary type (SONY) of memory card physically smaller than compact flash
MTF: Modulation transfer function - A way for people to quantitatively measure lens sharpness
ND: Neutral density filter - Dark filter which blocks light and allows for slower shutter speeds
NEX: DSLR performance combined with portability that rivals compact digital cameras, with a APS-C sensor in a compact frame w/ HD Movie capability.
NiCD: Nickel-cadmium - A common type of rechargable battery used where long life, high discharge rate, and extended temperature range is important
NiMH: Nickel-Metal Hydride - a common type advanced rechargeable battery used where long life, high discharge rate, and extended temperature range is important - typical values are 2500, 2700 mAh
NR: Noise Reduction
OMO: One Man's Opinion
OS: Optical Image Stabilization built into Sigma lenses
P: Program mode - An automatic exposure mode where the camera selects both the aperture and shutter speed
P&S: Point & Shoot camera - Small pocket-sized cameras commonly carried by many people
PC: Perspective control - Lenses which have the ability to tilt, shift, rise, and fall to remedy issues such as keystoning
PJ: Photojournalist - A photographer who reports on news stories visually, typically working for newspapers, magazines, or wire agencies
Planar: a photographic lens designed by Paul Rudolph at Carl Zeiss in 1896. Rudolph's original was a six-element symmetrical design.
PNG: Portable network graphics - A non-proprietary lossless image format that improves upon GIF
PPI: Pixels per inch
ProPhoto RGB: A large color space featuring a color gamut larger than that of sRGB and AdobeRGB
PS: Adobe Photoshop
PSD: Photoshop Document - Adobe Photoshop's native file format with support for layers, color spaces, and more
PW: PocketWizard - A device that allows for remote camera and flash firings
QR: Quick release - A system featuring both a clamp and a plate that allows for quick attachment and removal of cameras and lenses to tripods and other accessories
QT: Quicktime - Apple's movie system with support for both video and sound
QTVR: Quicktime Virtual Reality - Software which allows for the display of interactive and immersive panoramas
RAW: An image format captured straight from the sensor featuring raw, unprocessed data, allowing for large amounts of control and high quality images
RC: "Remote Commander" - an optical remote control that operates the shutter and playback of the α700, α850 & α900 DSLRs
RC2: Manfrotto's Quick Release system for tripods (see also "QR" definition)
RF: Rear focus- Sigma lens equipped with a system that moves the rear lens group for high speed, silent focusing
RGB: Red-green-blue - The three primary colors in additive color theory and the most commonly used color space
RIP: Raster image processor - A piece of equipment or software which converts a computer file into a bitmap image that a printer can output
RS: Restyled (aka "New"), aesthetic changes, and possible faster focus or addition of D feature
S: Shutter priority exposure mode - the user selects the shutter speed and the camera selects the appropriate aperture
SD: Secure Digital - A common type of memory card physically smaller than compact flash
SDHC: Secure Digital High Capacity - A new standard allowing SD cards > 2 GB
SDM: Pentax version of ultrasonic motor drive, similar to SONY's SSM (see "SSM")
SLOW SYNC: An exposure Mode used to assist in flash use to enhance the capture of the background, also.
SLR: Single lens reflex - A popular type of camera with one lens that allows through-the-lens (TTL) viewing
SLT: Translucent Mirror Technology® DSLR - typically found in SONY's α33 & α55 EVF DSLRs
SO: "Significant Other", usually a spouse who takes a dim view of your spending habits on your hobby. Arguably, the most detrimental aspect of modern photography.
Sonnar: a photographic lens design, invented by Dr. Ludwig Bertele in 1924 and originally patented by Carl Zeiss, notable for its relatively light weight, simple design and fast aperture.
SONY: Lens designs under the Sony label, some aesthetic changes including the focus and/or zoom grip. Most of these lenses are re-badged RS lenses, with the exception of the Carl Zeiss lenses which are of a new design. Some have a different coating formula which is optimized for digital sensors.
SP: TAMRON's "Super Preformance" designantion
sRGB: Standard RGB - A common color space used with monitors and the internet, despite the limited color gamut
SS: Shutter speed
SSM: (Supersonic-wave Motor) Lense [sic] uses the nature of piezo-electric element, which changes shape when voltage is applied. Compared to conventional DC motors, the supersonic-wave motor has characteristics that fit the lens drive, such as producing high torque from slow rotation and providing quick start and stop responses. By employing this motor, the SSM lenses provide ultra- quiet, ultra-smooth and superior AF operation. Other manufacturer's equivalents are Canon - USM; Nikon - SWM; Olympus - SWD; Panasonic - XSM; Pentax - SDM; Sigma - HSM
SSS: "Super SteadyShot - The "in-the-camera-body" image stabilization system used in all Alpha DSLR cameras.
STF: "Smooth Transition Focus", lens contains a special element which makes transitions between in and out of focus areas very smooth. This gives a Bokeh of the highest quality.
SWD: Olympus' version of ultrasonic motor drive, similar to SONY's SSM (see "SSM")
SWM: Nikon's version of ultrasonic motor drive, similar to SONY's SSM (see "SSM")
T*: Transparency - A famous lens coating process developed by Zeiss and renowned for its high quality. This process is used on Zeiss and Contax/Yashica lenses. The 'T' came from a German word 'Tarnung', which means 'camouflaging', as in making invisible, used here in reference to making flare invisible.
TC: Teleconverter - A lens accessory that fits between the lens and camera body and extends the focal length of the lens, often by 1.4x or 2x, at the cost of reduced light, decreased image quality, and slower autofocus
Tessar: a famous photographic lens design conceived by physicist Paul Rudolph in 1902 while he worked at the Zeiss optical company and patented by Zeiss. Tessar lenses are also known as "Pancake lenses", due to their flat, thin design.
THK: Tokina-Hoya-Kenko manufacturing consortium
TIFF or TIF: Tagged image file format - A popular uncompressed image file format
T-mount: A threaded lens mount system often used to mount cameras to telescopes for astrophotography
TS-E: Tilt-Shift lenses
TTL: Through the lens - A metering system, either ambient or flash, which works through the lens
UD: Ultra-low dispersion glass - Canon lens elements made from UD glass have a lower index of refraction than regular glass so they're used to correct chromatic abberation
USM: Canon's version of ultrasonic motor drive, similar to SONY's SSM (see "SSM")
UV Filter: Ultraviolet filter - Despite the name, they're typically used simply for physical protection against the elements and impacts
UWA: Ultra-wide angle - Usually a lens with an angle of view greater than 90°. For 35mm system, this applies to lenses with focal lengths shorter than about 16mm on APS-C sensor bodies (or 24mm on Full Frame)
Vario-Sonnar: a Carl Zeiss photographic lens design. This lens type has an infinitely variable focal length which can replace a whole series of lenses for a certain picture format.
VC: Vibration Compensation built into TAMRON lenses
VG: Vertical Grip
Video: A feature not currently found on any Alpha (α) DSLR camera.
Vignette: an unintentional limitation of the image result caused by optical limitations in the camera lens. Often appears in the corners or around the entire image as a fuzzy fade-to-black.
WA: Wide-angle lens - A lens with a shorter focal length and wider field of view than a 30mm on AAPS-C sensor bodies (or 44mm on Full Frame)
WB: White balance
WiFi: Wireless technology which allows you to remotely control cameras and transmit images using devices
xD: Extreme Digital - A type of memory card
[B]xi/B]: Motorized zoom
XR: Tamron's extra refractive index glass
XSM: Panasonic's version of ultrasonic motor drive, similar to SONY's SSM (see "SSM")
X-sync: The flash sync speed indicating the fastest shutter speed that can be used with a flash
ZA: Carl Zeiss Alpha lens designation
Cannot find it here? Then look here for a more defined approach and "bookmark" it.