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Digital Cameras And Our Pixelized World

Aug 28, 2008
Twenty years ago, there were no digital cameras. Photographers had to make do with bulky film-operated cameras which relied entirely on mechanical and chemical processes. This entailed much work, much maintenance and much expense. But the technology of consumer electronics caught up pretty quickly. Within less than two decades, the world has been deluged with CD and DVD players, MP3's, DVR's and even Ipods. Would it be any wonder that all this conversion from analog to digital information would include cameras, as well?

This major shift in technology changed the way we have looked at all this information both visual and audio and opened our eyes to all the infinite possibilities of what we can do with them. Digital cameras, unlike their manual predecessors, contain built-in computers within their compact bodies, enabling them to capture and record images electronically. These days, people buy digital cameras to utilize all this improved digital imaging technology that has become so popular with camera buffs, both amateur and professional.

Understanding how digital cameras work will be the first step finding out what goes on inside these impressive devices.

When you take a picture using digital cameras, the image will be recorded in a language that the internal computers needs to recognize. This means each image is made up of bits and bytes composed of millions of 1's and 0's strung together. These 1's and 0's form tiny pinpricks of color known as pixels. All these pixels put together make up the whole image. This is why we say that an image is made up of a certain number of pixels, and these pixels dictate the clarity of an image depending on it's size.

In the past, taking a photograph using a conventional film camera meant having to go to the developers to have the film processed chemically and printed out on photographic paper. To get a digital image of conventionally-shot photograph, it would have to be scanned using a digital scanner to take a record of the light patterns in the photograph and convert it to pixel-form.

These days, we can go straight to using digital cameras which utilize the light that reflects from the subject, interprets the patterns of light based on pixel values, and records the image of the subject.

Just like a conventional camera which uses a lens to create a photographic rendering of an image, digital cameras also use a series of lenses which serve to focus light and produce the image in pixel form. However, unlike a conventional camera which imprints this recorded light onto the roll of film within it, a digital camera uses a semiconductor device as a medium to record the light via electronic means. The internal computer then converts this information into digitalized data, creating an image for all to see.

This breakthrough in image processing from mechanical and chemical means to digital technology is one of the most interesting and innovative features that digital cameras offer.
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