So How Exactly Does A Digital Camera Work?
Just how can a tiny gadget without any film record such incredible pictures?
A digital camera appears like a conventional film camera also it seems to perform exactly the same thing – take pictures – however the technology inside that small handheld device couldn’t be more different.
Picture taking with a film camera was quite definitely a mechanised as well as chemical process. Cameras didn’t require a power supply (although later versions typically had battery powered film winding systems and zoom lens drives) and pictures were captured by allowing light to land on the chemical coated film which in turn needed to be treated with additional chemical substances to expose the photograph.
A digital camera allows light through an aperture in a very similar method as a film camera however the light is focused on a semiconductor which records the pictures in electronic format.
The digital image taken is in a format which makes perfect sense to the computer on board the digital camera. The computer records the image as an entire load of small coloured dots – pixels – which fit together seamlessly to create the entire picture. Without getting too complex, the light waves are changed into a digital structure.
The semiconductor which receives the light through the lens will often be a CCD, a charge coupled device or perhaps a CMOS, a complementary metal oxide semiconductor. Both work to transform the obtained light into electrons – they convert light into electricity. The main difference between the 2 semiconductors is perhaps not really a matter for debate here as ultimately they generate the same end result. What’s worthy of note is the fact that cameras with the CCD technology tend to use more energy than CMOS, which could affect battery life.
To be able to figure out colors digital cameras make use of a colour filter array that breaks the inbound light down into red, blue and green pixels and utilizes interpolation in order to make an informed guess about accurate colours. The more costly the camera the more advanced this filtering procedure is and the much better quality are the resulting images, I recently took some photographs for a man who was into keeping pet chickens and was glad to discover my camera captured the feather luminescence perfectly.
The amount of light getting into the camera is actually controlled by 2 mechanisms; the shutter speed and also the aperture. There really isn’t any distinction between film cameras and digital cameras where these types of mechanisms are concerned.
Having made the decision what you want to photograph you aim your camera at the target subject. Depending on the camera there might be an auto-focus system wherein the shutter button is depressed midway until the lens is focused or there may be a zoom function enabling you to get a close-up picture of something in the distance.
Once the camera has focused the picture the shutter button is depressed totally. There’s a comforting mechanical click sound built into most modern cameras, even though the procedure is not mechanical.
Whilst the shutter is open light channels into the camera and is focused on the CCD or CMOS. This is converted into an electrical charge and the computer processor and filter interpolates what color every pixel should be. These pixels are then displayed on the LCD for you to look at and decide whether or not the image is acceptable or must be shot again, I find this so useful when I photograph my friends Norwegian Forest Cat who’s always jumping around, I can instantly discover whether the picture is blurred or not.
The pictures are stored on a memory card or chip till such time as they are downloaded for long term storage or erased.
From the photographers perspective there is much about digital photography that is comparable to film photography however in case you are ever questioned ‘how does a digital camera work?’ you now have a much better understanding.
Caring For Your Digital Camera
Spending time and caring for your digital camera has numerous paybacks:
- The camera will always be ready to point and shoot
- Your digital camera can last you for many years
- You’ll even have the ability to trade the camera in to upgrade to a more advanced model.
Due to their compact size you can always have your digital camera on hand to capture those photographic moments that may otherwise be missed. Nevertheless, carrying an item of equipment around can subject it to every day scrapes and bangs, wear and tear, that may reduce both the digital camera’s operating life and worth.
The majority of digital cameras can be purchased with a case. If this case isn’t strong (or not supplied) invest in a protective case that’s cushioned and shock proof to provide protection from unintentional drops. Make sure the case fits the camera. One that’s too tiny could lead to buttons to be pressed that will discharge the batteries. One that’s too big will not be as efficient in safeguarding the camera. The case must be snug, preferably made for the specific model of digital camera you own.
The actual lens is probably the most important element inside your digital camera and therefore it requires special care. Keep fingertips, sticky or otherwise, away from the lens and always thoroughly clean the camera lens lightly and very carefully with a correct lens cleaning brush or fabric. It is important not to wipe a dirty lens because this can cause scratches and deterioration which impairs the photograph quality. If your digital camera comes with a lens cover, use it. Many compact digital cameras have built-in lens cover systems that close automatically once the camera is turned off, making life a little simpler.
Temperature and Humidity.
Avoid storing your camera in extremes of temperatures or anyplace moist. You might find small bags of silica gel within the original packaging for your digital camera – keep these and carry on using them. Should you leave your camera in a car, do make sure not to expose it to direct sunlight for long stretches. Even though there is no film to deteriorate, there are electronic components which will not improve for being too hot or exposed to moisture.
In case your camera will be stored for a long time, remember to remove the batteries. The very last thing you need is for the corrosive contents of a battery to leak out and wreck the systems inside your digital camera.
Additionally, remember that any strong magnetic field can affect the SD or other storage cards used with your digital camera. Numerous items of regular home equipment produce magnetic fields – even something as seemingly innocuous as hi-fi speakers – give consideration to where you store your camera and associated equipment.
Caring for your digital camera isn’t hard nor need it be costly. A strong case and a correct lens cleaning brush or cloth and fluid along with a little thought is all that’s necessary.