Please feel free to contribute (and I will add the "gems" to this list here). There can, of course, be multiple definitions of the same term, and please feel free to recommend improvements to already proposed definitions (including my own). I am editing them for consistency, but please let me know if I butcher something.
3D (as in the "3D-quality" of a lens)
- That quality of no-longer-in-production and expensive, rare lenses that justifies their purchase to those who want to believe badly enough (see also Leica). It is also notably one of the few photographic phenomena on which professionals and amateurs can comment with equal veracity, in large part do to it's non-existence.
The typical length of a discussion on a Leica forum before a post is made suggesting that Canon users are all a load of proletariat numpty-numb-skulls who wouldn't know a good camera/lens combo if it was pushed forcibly in said Canon user's rectal passage.
- not a good route while it's raining.
- The Ken Rockwell of large and medium format photography.
- The stage in life when the first thing asked at any unfamiliar event, hotel or conference is "Err, where's the toilet....?"
- The field of photography that explores the hatred of birds for cameras.
- A genre of photography largely dedicated to taking pictures of slightly out-of-focus bird butts. Considering what bird butts are famous for, one can only conjecture what statement the birds are trying to make to their perceivers.
- Realizing too late that you should have asked your girlfriend to be your wife.
- Not knowing exactly what went wrong. If you do know what went wrong, and can repeat it, the effect is called "artistic blur."
- When combined with the discovery of six or more largely randomly selected brush tools in Photoshop, blur becomes "high art."
- A Japanese poem of 17 syllables in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 syllable segments. Or is that a haiku? I can never remember which is which.
- Shooting 3 or more shots that are either: (i) all underexposed or (ii) all overexposed, with an equal stop difference between each, usually used for HDR. See HDR.
A measure of the physical integrity of a lens / camera body that is inversely proportional to it's likelihood falling from a tall building.
- A deus ex machina invoked to defend a photograph with lifeless colors by appeal to the technology of the photographer. May also be used to impart an air of superiority when critiquing another's photograph (as in "try calibrating your monitor" or "on my calibrated monitor"). See Color Management.
- A Nikon modified to produce sufficient resolution for prints.
- The act of looking like you know what your doing but when viewed from behind you are actually playing with yourself. See pixel peeping and blur.
Circle of Confusion
- A group of Canon fanboys at a Ken Rockwell seminar.
- The careful act of getting your prints to look nothing like the image on your computer monitor.
- An antiquated method of compensating for a lack of technological innovation by unnecessarily thoughtful positioning of the camera. See Exposure.
Corner (as in corner sharpness)
- The outermost extremities of an image, measured by the width of a grain of rice. The sole measure of a lens's sharpness.
- A forum dedicated exclusively to the sale of stolen and worn-out merchandise. The forum was created to permit stolen-camera dealers from New Jersey (esp. Newark) and NYC (esp. Brooklyn) to demonstrate that they are smarter than everyone else.
- The mechanism by which fools and their money are separated.
- The view through your glazed-over eyes as the first check shows up in your mailbox for your work.
- A room in which there is not enough light to count your fingers.
- Dirt on the sensor of a digital camera resulting in spots on all photographs taken with the camera, which spots are easily visible to any viewer except the owner of the camera.
- Canon lenses purchased and used exclusively by working professional photographers, but bitterly disdained by doctor and lawyer hobbyists.
Exposure (as in "proper exposure")
- A sheer guess of the optimal amount of light required for a photograph made without consulting the enormous amount of readily available, accurate data provided at the moment it is needed. See Composition.
- A promiscuous lens that will multiple quickly to the concern of one's spouse. See "EF-S Lenses" and "L Lenses".
Flare (as in "lens flare")
- Pinache (also spelled "flair")
- Not to be confused with the camera bag by the same name, but rather a type of mind-altering drug designed to not only rid the user of all intelligence, but also to increase their body weight by 300lbs. (NB: This can also be found under its old name: "MacDonald's").
- The plane of critical sharpness in an image; made popular by the 50L.
- A photographer who is ungainfully employed.
- The conversion of an uninspired color photograph to black-and-white.
- The application of shallow depth-of-field to a badly composed photograph.
- A character in the movie Pulp Fiction who liked dressing in rubber and having his bottom spanked.
- The sixty-minute period ending immediately upon your arrival at the location of the shoot.
- The force that draws pulls expensive lenses / camera to the hard earth below. The force exerted on the lens (and speed of descent) is proportional to the cost of the gear involved.
- An unintentional insult as in "That's a wonderful picture; you must have a great camera!" Often the precursor to the retort "Thank you. Your mouth makes beautiful compliments."
- A penalty given to a European photographer for using a flash at a football match. Two grey cards may, but need not, result in expulsion from the facility.
High Dynamic Range Photography (a/k/a "HDR")
- A form of image manipulation whereby a poorly exposed image is turned into a cartoon.
- A new boy band, all of whom look their best under poor lighting (>_<
- A pretty bad device for viewing dSLR images, but a pretty good device for viewing semi-naked ladies dancing.
Layers & Masks
- A rather kinky party to which very few photographers are invited
- Rare photographic relics blessed by the ancient gods of photography with the inexplicable gift of sales despite image quality rivaled by every camera made since 1974. Purchased by doctors and lawyers who simply don't take enough photos to know the difference, and more often photographed themselves than used to take photographs of other things.
- the self-righteous, delighted look on a doctor's or lawyer's face when they look at their barely used camera that they know nobody else can afford.
- the look on a camera dealer's face when they see a doctor or lawyer walk over to the Leica display, and the dealer can deliver the line "Those cameras are made for those who simply demand the very best, and you are obviously a man of exquisite taste."
Lens Cleaning Cloth
- A high-tech material designed to extract grit, oil and poop from thin-air and then deposit them inside or on delicate photographic equipment, lenses and filters.
- The locale where a lens was made.
- See Pro Lenses.
- A large lens.
Murphy's Law of Photography
- Universal law stating that the probability of a piece of gear failing is directly proportional to the importance of the shoot and inversely proportional to the availability of back-up gear.
- A Canon modified to autofocus.
OOF (or "Out of Focus")
- The application of the plane of sharp focus to an unintended part of an image. For repeated failures, this "error" becomes "style."
- When a photography gets caught with his pants down.
- A lawsuit based on a bird crapping on your gear.
- Defined as the quantitative volume (in decilitres) of human sweat created while trying to understand what the hell all those symbols mean under Refractive Index (see definition below).
- Aperture for adults.
- A shop where you can get your photo taken.
- The act of judging the beauty of a forest by looking at 1 square inch of bark.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder leading to blindness, mental illness and increased hair growth on the palms of photographer's hands.
- A camera that is one model -- and only one model -- beneath the one you own, as in "If business doesn't improve, I'm going to have to downgrade from my 1DsIII to a point-and-shoot like the 5DII those other slobs use."
- Another term for the UV-Filter, which is a crudely fashioned inexpensive piece of translucent plastic through which all light must be scattered before entering a very expensive, highly corrected glass lens. Many photographers argue that these filters are legally required by many states, while others believe their use is inadvisable.
Post Processing (or "PP")
- The uninspired attempt by non-photographers to oversaturate the colors of a digital image using a Mac, CS5 and a $50 uncalibrated monitor.
Pro Lenses (a/k/a "L series lenses")
- Canon lenses purchased and used exclusively by doctors and lawyers.
Pro Camera (or "Professional Camera")
- A camera that is nicer than yours.
- A camera that is for professionals, a consumer camera, and for consumers, a professional camera.
Protective UV Filter
- A hardware equivalent to the 'Lens Flare' and 'Blur' tools in Photoshop.
- Preferred image format of the gods.
Where, in the case of light;
where is the material's relative permittivity, and μr is its relative permeability. See Perspiration Index.
Rule of Thirds
- The secret password required to get into Critique Corner.
- Blotches and puffiness in the face resulting from septicemia.
- The intersection of Zen and camera lenses. The sole measure of the image quality of a lens, and nothing, all at once.
Shooting while Tethered
- A new style of harness used in drive-by gang warfare which allows the culprit of the crime to hang half-in-half-out of a vehicle in motion, with no risk of falling out and getting any nasty cuts 'n' bruises.
- A small, round random-event generator on top of every modern DSLR which, when pressed, is expected to read the mind of the photographer.
Snapshot (often preceded by "lovely" as in "a lovely snapshot")
- The greatest insult one photographer can make of another's photograph.
- Minolta's poltergeist; must have something untoward on Zeiss to have his name on their lenses.
Specifications (a/k/a "Specs")
- The last refuge of the talentless.
Tilt-Shift Lens (or "TS-E")
- Any lens in the hands of an amateur: The "tilt" effect can be detected by observing the horizon in every photo. In more experienced hands, the "miniaturizing" tilt effect can make both the subject and photographer smaller and less significant, while the "shift" feature can be used to correct vertical convergence.
- A male nude model.
- The eye of someone who doesn't think your photographs are magnificent.
- The legal obligation of a manufacturer to cover the cost of equipment repair and/or replacement that expires one day prior to the date such obligation would benefit the holder.
- The pursuit of photographing unicorns and other animals that seemingly do not exist.
The pursuit of photographing the only small animal part not occluded by adjacent bushes and trees.
- A lens maker of comparable quality to Canon and Nikon that has elected to jettison autofocus in favor of greater weight and cost.
Zone of Confusion
- The final stage in life, which immediately follows “Aperture Priority.” See Aperture Priority.