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NARROW LIGHTING - Also called "short lighting," narrow lighting is arrived at when the main light completely illuminates only the side of the subject's face that is turned away from the camera.
ND - Neutral Density.
NEF - Nikon Electronic Format. Nikon's proprietary RAW image file format, sometimes shown as NEF (Raw).
NEGATIVE - An image in which the brightness values are reversed - that is, reproduced so that the lightest areas are the darkest, the darkest areas are the lightest, and intermediate tones are similarly reversed. "Negative” commonly refers to such an image on exposed and developed photographic film that is intended for use in making positive prints of the image.
NEGATIVE HOLDER - A clamp-like device that fixes a negative in position in an enlarger.
NEGATIVE-POSITIVE PROCESS - Any photographic process in which a negative is first made and then used to produce a positive image (e.g. a print)
NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTER - Filter for use in front of the lens that absorbs all visible wavelengths to a more or less equal extent. ND filters can be used with digital cameras and both monochrome and color films, since they have no effect on color balance.
NEUTRAL TEST CARD - Also known as the “Gray card” or a "Kodak neutral test card," this is an 8" X 10" (20 cm by 25.5 cm) card, about 1/8" thick, that is uniformly gray on one side. The gray side reflects precisely 18% of the white light that strikes it (corresponding to the calibration of a reflected-light meter). It is uniformly white on the other side, which reflects 90% of the light.
NEWTON RINGS - Color spots that may appear on slides mounted between glass surfaces, caused by contact of the smooth glass surface with the smooth film base.
Ni-Cad - See "Ni-Cd" below.
Ni-Cd - Nickel-cadmium. Also referred to as "Ni-cad". A NiCd battery is one type of rechargeable battery that should be completely discharged of its energy before it is recharged.
NiMH - Nickel Metal Hydride. A NiMH battery is one type of rechargeable battery that does not need to be completely discharged of its energy before it can be recharged.
NODAL POINT - Optical center of a lens.
NOISE or ELECTRONIC NOISE. - This is the grainy look you find in a digital image caused by image artifacts. It may also appear as flecks of color that should not be there. It is usually noticeable in shadow areas, and generally produced when shooting in low light. Noise is almost always unwanted and unattractive.
NOISE REDUCTION - In some cameras, noise reduction can be activated or switches on automatically at slow shutter speeds. Note that noise reduction often requires more time for the photo to be written to the memory card, during which you will be unable to take a picture.
NON-LENS SPOTLIGHT - A light with variable field and beam angles obtained by changing the spacing between the bulb and reflector.
NORMAL LENS - Lens with a focal length approximately equal to the diagonal of the film format or of a digital camera's image sensor. A scene viewed through a normal lens appears to have the same perspective as if it was being viewed “normally” without a lens, just the way your eye sees it. Most 35 mm cameras' normal lenses have a focal length of approximately 50 mm.