How Digital Cameras Work


CCD Camera Summary
A memory stick
A memory stick
Photo courtesy HSW Shopper

It takes several steps for a digital camera to take a picture. Here's a review of what happens in a CCD camera, from beginning to end:

  • You aim the camera at the subject and adjust the optical zoom to get closer or farther away.
  • You press lightly on the shutter release.
  • The camera automatically focuses on the subject and takes a reading of the available light.
  • The camera sets the aperture and shutter speed for optimal exposure.
  • You press the shutter release all the way.
  • The camera resets the CCD and exposes it to the light, building up an electrical charge, until the shutter closes.
  • The ADC measures the charge and creates a digital signal that represents the values of the charge at each pixel.
  • A processor interpolates the data from the different pixels to create natural color. On many cameras, it is possible to see the output on the LCD at this stage.
  • A processor may perform a preset level of compression on the data.
  • The information is stored in some form of memory device (probably a Flash memory card).

For more information on digital cameras and related topics, check out the links on the following page.

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More Great Links

Sources

  • HP Digital Photography Center http://www.hp.ca/portal/hho/dpc/learn/future_film_photography.php
  • Tech Digest http://www.techdigest.tv/digital_cameras/index.html
  • Photo.Net: Digital Cameras - A Beginner's Guide http://www.photo.net/equipment/digital/basics/
  • Photo.Net: Size Matters http://www.photo.net/equipment/digital/sensorsize/
  • Vidlight.com: Introduction to Digital Photography http://www.vividlight.com/articles/3116.htm
  • PC Magazine: Inside Track http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1822946,00.asp
  • Camera Resolution Chart http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=getpage.jsp&A=getpage&Q=Product_Resources/resolution_chart.jsp

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