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Digital Camera Buying Guide

GO TO: A B C D E F H I M N O P R S T U W


A

AE - A system that automatically sets the exposure setting by choosing a shutter speed and aperture value according to the surrounding light conditions that are currently present.

AF - A system that automatically focuses the camera lens.

Anti-Aliasing - Used in digital imaging applications to smooth the jaggy edges of a selection.

Aperture - This controls amount of light that goes through the lens through a variable opening.

Aperture Priority - This allows the user to set the aperture of the digital camera over its full range and will allow the camera to calculate the best shutter speed to get a correct exposure.

Auto Bracketing - A technique used to take multiple shots of images with different exposures.

AWB - A system that automatically sets the white balance.



B

Blooming - The overflow of an electrical charge which results in an oversaturated pixel that transfers to the next pixel on the sensor. It is the result of an over-exposed shot and appears to have either a vertical streak or a white halo effect.

Buffer - An internal RAM storage within the camera that acts a temporary buffer which queues images before they are written to the storage card.

BULB Photography - This is a special setting that is used to take photos in low light.

Burst - Continuous shooting ability with a digital camera; no wait time between shots.



C

Calibration - The process of adjusting the color of a device (monitor, scanner, printer, etc) in order to get more consistent color.

Card Reader - A device that is used for inserting flash memory cards into in order to transfer the data from the card to the computer.

CCD - This device turns light into an electrical current and is the film of a digital camera.

CMYK - This is an acronym that stands for four colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black.

Color Bit Depth - Number of bits used to represent the pixels in an image.

CompactFlash - The most common type of removable storage media.

Compression - The amount of data that it takes to represent an image is reduced (or compressed) in order to use less space in your camera.

Connectivity - Your digital camera can connect to your computer using a USB cable, a serial connection or a card reader.

Contrast - The different range of tones between highlights and shadows.



D

Decompression - The full data content of a compressed file is restored using this process.

Depth of field - The sharpness and focus of the actual scene to be shot.

Digital Zoom - The electronic enlarging of the middle portion of an image in order to make the image appear larger on the display. Resolution is reduced and image file sizes are reduced in the process.



E

Exposure Compensation - The ability to override a cameras metered exposure by using a preset value.

Exposure/EV - The exposure of the image sensor to light.



F

Flash Output Compensation - Allows you to preset an adjustment value for the flash output power.

Focal Length - The amount of distance between the actual lens and the image sensor.

F Stop/F Number - Indicates the size of the aperture by a numerical value. These numbers are used in an inversely proportional manner with the large numbers representing a small opening and the small numbers representing a large opening.



H

Histogram - Allows you to see the exposure over a grayscale range also known as dynamic range. This will show you the level of brightness for each pixel and will tell you if your picture is over-exposed, under-exposed or normal.



I

Image Sensor - An electronic sensor used to gather the image data.

Interpolation - The opposite of compressing; increases the file size of the image by adding extra pixels.

ISO - Refers the image sensor's (CCD/CMOS device) sensitivity to light and is represented by numbers. The higher the number is, the more sensitive it is to light.



M

Macro - The ability to take photos at a close range.

Metering - A system that measures the amount of light in the current frame and determines the best fit for exposure.



N

Noise - Misinterpreted pixels in your digital image.



O

Optical Zoom - A real multi-focal length lens in the digital camera not to be confused with digital zoom which only magnifies the center portion of the image.



P

Perspective - Refers to the angle of the picture and can alter the way an image appears both in size and depth.

Pixel - This is short for picture element and is a point of data in a digital image. This captures the color and light data on the CCD.

Polarizer - Setting used to diffuse light and is primarily used for taking pictures outside.

PPI - Acronym that stands for pixels per inch.



R

Remote Capture - Refers to being able to take images under the control of a computer through use of software that is capable of remotely firing the camera (normally tethered to the computer).

Resolution - The number of pixels that are used to create an image.

RGB - Acronym for the colors: red, green, and blue.



S

Shutter Speed - The amount of time that the actual shutter allows light onto the image sensor.

Storage Card - A removable storage device that stores the images taken with the camera.



T

Telephoto - Lens that makes distant objects appear closer.

Thumbnail - A small version of the actual image used primarily for viewing purposes.

TIFF - Acronym for tagged image file format.

Time Lapse - Refers to how many frames are shot by the camera automatically over a period of time or with a certain time interval between each frame.



U

USB (Universal Serial Bus) - A Plug-and-Play external connection standard used to hook-up many different types of devices. It comes in two flavors:

USB 1.1 - Transfers data up to 1.5 MB per second and supports the simultaneous use of up to 127 devices.

USB 2.0 (Hi-speed USB) - Transfers data up to 60 MB per second and is backwards compatible with USB 1.1.

USB Hub - A device that adds additional USB ports to a computer.



W

White Balance - A system of color correction used to deal with different lighting conditions. The camera finds a white point to correct other colors cast by the same light.

Wide Angle - Type of lens that expands your area of viewing.



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