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Glossary Terms

Grain refers to a speckled appearance in photographic images, where individual particles - clumps of silver halide crystals or color dye clouds - of the film emulsion appear.

Grain is usually more conspicuous in faster films, and with increasing enlargement of the negative. While generally considered a defect, some photographers find that the grittiness or texture of film grain suits their esthetic intentions.

Digital cameras are prone to a similar effect, due to random variation in the brightness of individual pixels. But as this is represented via an electronic signal, the term "noise" is more commonly applied.