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Digital Cameras: How They Work

Aug 17, 2007
The use of digital cameras has greatly boomed in the market of photography where more and more people prefer to keep their photo albums in their own computer. They do not want to experience once more the troubles of having their photos printed using costly photo papers and file it manually. Photos shot using digital cameras can be easily filed into a folder according to occasion, date, and other specifications. Specific collection of photos can also be arranged by folders.

Digital cameras are the latest break through in the technology of catching images. Still, many are confused regarding the similarities and differences of digital cameras from traditional cameras. Learning something about digital cameras will erase any confusion.

- The process of capturing the image is similar. Both traditional and digital cameras have a shutter, an aperture and a lens. The lens is used to focus on the image to be shot, the light passes the shutter and then its intensity is controlled by the aperture. However, in digital cameras, photographs are electronically captured and stored using an electronically image sensor while traditional cameras uses an ordinary film for capturing pictures.

- There are different types of image sensors which include CCD or Charged Coupled Device which is popularly used because of its displayed efficiencies, Foveon, and CMOS. The sensors are made of electrodes and photosites capable of measuring light intensities. The number of light intensity becomes the pixels or mega pixels which produces the shapes of the captured image. Take note, the resolution of the camera is measured according to the number of pixels and mega pixels.

Light is then converted to electrical signals through the image sensor which then passes on to a converter which converts analog signal to digital signal or the A/D converter, later on the converted to binary numbers data ends in the memory card. It functions like a mini-computer installed inside the camera.

The colors are supplied through the filters since photosites works only to measure lights. The filters consist of the 3 primary colors giving more amounts to color green, which is more sensitive to the eye followed by colors red and blue. Image sensors already contain these pre-arrangement of colors. The picture takes its shape after analyzing and calculating the color of each photosites having only one color by considering the colors of the surroundings. The process is referring to demosaicing.

The image passes through different camera settings including color, contrast, and light which are stored in the memory card using the JPEG format. JPEG are compressed formats which deletes excess data. Some cameras are storing pictures as raw data. Before passing the demosaicing stage, these data are also stored. This procedure is very important if you are going to transfer the pictures in your computer then edit it using the appropriate editing software. You then have the power to control your pictures.

- Digital cameras have different shooting modes for capturing images. There are 9 modes including automatic, manual, portrait, landscape, macro, sport, night, aperture priority, and shutter priority. Some of these modes might not be present in your camera. It will also depend on the brands. These modes are set through the menus displayed on the LCD of the camera or rotating the dial when choosing the visual mode of the icons.

If you have a digital camera, you have the freedom to experiment. Take pictures as much as you want and use different modes and study what works best in every scenario.
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