Friday, April 15, 2005

Learning To Love Digital Camera Technology

The focus in photography worldwide seems to be more and more dependent on the digital camera and less and less on traditional film still photography. The transfer of photographers, both professional and amateur, has been difficult. The differences between digital and film photography are many (pictures recorded on memory as a file, the lack of developing or processing, etc.) but the similarities are also numerous and not as readily apparent. Photographers wishing to move to a digital format are only a few pieces of information away from making the jump.
Just like a regular film camera, a digital camera has a lens and a shutter. The lens, of course, makes the image presentable and will be what you are recording. Like a film camera, the shutter allows light in during the act of taking a picture. The difference here is that instead of exposing a frame of film where an image will be recorded, the shutter sends light and the image to a photoelectric cell or an array of image sensors. Each of these sensors is a charged-couple device (CCD) which converts the light into an electrical charge that can be ‘read.’ At its most basic, the digital camera takes the photo like a film camera replacing film with the sensor. The real difference is in how the information is read. This is done in ‘pixels.’ Each pixel stores a piece of information. When all the pixels are combined, they form the photo you have just taken. The more pixels your camera has, the better the quality of the photo. One million pixels are commonly referred to as a Megapixel. This is what commonly differentiates cameras. For example, a camera that has 4.2 Megapixels will have less resolution than a camera that has 6.1 Megapixels.
The information, i.e. your photo, is usually stored in one of two ways on your camera, either on the camera’s hard drive or on a memory card. The hard drive on the camera will store the photo until it can be uploaded to a computer through software specifically written for that camera. Or the photo can be printed directly from the camera with a camera photo printer. The other, and more versatile option, is the memory card. The images are stored on the card, which comes in varying degrees of memory, and that card can be transferred to another camera, a computer, a printer or any other device that accepts that type of memory card.
Digital cameras are fast becoming the photographer’s choice in any walk of life. They are often times less expensive than traditional cameras and, after getting used to the possibilities, require much less to use and in general maintenance.

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