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Digital Camera Glossary

Terms from the Digital Camera world explained

ADC - Analogue to Digital Converter, this takes the analogue output and is able to turn it into digital format so that it can be manipulated and altered by the DSP.

Aperture - On a film camera this is an adjustable control which can alter the passage of light into the camera, often used with shutter speed to determine depth field.

Artifacts - Distortions of the image often caused by noises or heavy handed use.

CCD - Charged Couple Device, this can play part of the film in registering the image seen through the lens.

CCD Technology - With cameras with this technology it acts like a enhancer it uses the technology to enable images of a higher pixel resolution. Instead of the light-sensitive elements in standard CCD, it uses larger octagonal arranged in a slight honeycomb pattern which provides a highly detailed result.

Compact Flash - This is a removable memory type used to record and store digital images.

Digital Zoom - This can be misleading in fact it doesn't zoom at all it crops the image and displays the center portion of the image.

DSP - Digital Signal Processing (also known as processor), this processes the raw data before it can be stored and viewed on the memory card.

Effective Pixels - This is the number of pixels of the CCD used to make up the final image.

Interpolation - A software program that will add pixels but no more detail to the image.

ISO - Stands for Internation Standards Organisation, this gives details on the light sensitivity and speed of film.


JPEG - This graphic format is widely used and stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, this is a technique which can usually be set to different levels of compression and is one of the most supported graphic formats.

Noise - In photographic terms noise means Grain or a random colour pattern on what is normally a continuous tone.

Optical Zoom - This is the true measure of the focal length of the lens.

Resolution - Size in pixels of the image.

Shutter Speed - The time the shutter on a film camera is open. Usually done for you by the electronics inside some cameras.

SmartMedia - Another removable memory type used to record digital images.

TIFF - Tagged Image File Format, this is a widely used format which does not compress at all so you could end up if you scanned a magazine cover with a 30mb or so file depending on your settings.

White Balance - Colour correction to deal with various lighting conditions.