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Photography Abbreviations and Meanings: A Comprehensive List

photography abbreviation meanings

If you’re only just starting out in photography, there can be quite a minefield of information to get through. There are loads of abbreviations that you may come across, both in articles and on your equipment. We’ve put together this handy list that looks at some of the most common photography abbreviations to help you decode this field.

Are there any you think we should add? Post them in the comments below!

Common photography abbreviations and their meanings

A

  • AE – Automatic Exposure
  • AE-L – Automatic Exposure Lock
  • AF – Autofocus
  • AF-A – Area Autofocus (Nikon)
  • AF-C – Continuous Autofocus (Nikon)
  • AF-S – Single Autofocus (Nikon)
  • AFS – Silent Autofocus
  • AV – Aperture Priority (Canon)
  • – Aperture Priority (Nikon)

B

  • B – Bulb
  • BIF – Bird in Flight
  • B&W – Black and White

C

  • CF – Compact Flash (a memory card format)
  • CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow Black
  • CSC – Compact System Camera
  • CWB – Custom White Balance

D

  • DOF – Depth of Field
  • DNG – Digital Negative Graphic
  • DPI – Dots per Inch
  • DSLR – Digital Single Lens Reflex
  • DX – Crop Sensor Format

E

  • EC – Exposure Compensation
  • ED – Extra Low Dispersion Glass
  • EF – Electronic Focus
  • EF – Canon Full Frame Sensor Format Lenses
  • EF-S – Canon Crop Sensor Format Lenses
  • ETTR – Expose to the Right
  • ETTL – Expose to the Left
  • EV – Exposure Value
  • EVF – Electronic Viewfinder
  • EXIF – Exchangeable Image File Format

F

  • FF – Full Frame
  • FOV – Field of View
  • FPS – Frames per Second
  • FX – Full Frame Format

G

  • GB – Gigabyte
  • GIF – Graphics Interchange Format

H

  • HDR – High Dynamic Range
  • HFD – Hyperfocal Distance
  • HSM – Hyper Sonic Motor (the same as USM, but for Sigma)
  • HSS – High Speed Sync

I

  • IF – Internal Focusing
  • IPTC – International Press Telecommunications Council
  • IR – Infrared
  • IS – Image Stabilisation
  • ISO – International Standards Organisation
  • IQ – Image Quality

J

  • JPG or JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group

K

  • KB – Kilobyte

L

  • LCD – Liquid Crystal Display
  • LED – Light Emitting Diode
  • LR – Adobe Lightroom
  • LTE – Long Time Exposure

M

  • M – Manual
  • MB – Megabyte
  • MF – Manual Focus
  • MLU – Mirror Lock-up
  • MUP – Mirror Lock-up (Nikon)
  • MP – Megapixels
  • MS – Memory Stick

N

  • ND Filters – Neutral Density Filters
  • NR – Noise Reduction

O

  • OCF – Off Camera Flash
  • OCR – Optical Character Recognition
  • OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer
  • OOC – Out of Camera
  • OOF – Out of Focus
  • OS – Optical Stabilisation or Operating System
  • OVF – Optical Viewfinder
  • OZ – Optical Zoom

P

  • – Programmed Autoexposure
  • PNG – Portable Network Graphics
  • PP – Post Processing
  • PPI – Pixels per Inch
  • PQ – Picture Quality
  • PS – Adobe Photoshop
  • PSE – Adobe Photoshop Elements

Q

R

  • RGB – Red, Green, Blue

S

  • SD – Secure Digital (a memory card format)
  • SDHC – Secure Digital High Capacity (a memory card format)
  • SLR – Single Lens Reflex (same as DSLR, but referring only to film cameras)
  • SP or S – Shutter Priority
  • sRGB – Standard RGB Colour Space
  • SS – Shutter Speed
  • SWM – Silent Wave Motor

T

  • TB – Terabyte
  • TC – Teleconverter
  • TIFF or TIF – Tagged Image File Format
  • TOG – Photographer
  • TTL – Through the Lens
  • TV – Time Value (Shutter priority mode for Canon and other brands)

U

  • USB – Universal Serial Bus
  • USM – Ultra Sonic Motor
  • UWA – Ultra Wide-angle

V

  • VR – Vibration Reduction

W

  • WA – Wide-angle
  • WB – White Balance

X

  • XQD – XQD (a memory card format)

Y

Z

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