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Terms used in digital photography

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Arts and Culture

Any one using a digital camera needs to understand the various terms used in digital photography. Some of the important terms are:

Aperture: The opening through which the light enters the camera and hits the sensor is called the aperture. A proper understanding of the working of the aperture ensures sharper and more focused images.

Sensor: The image sensor is a small strip that is sensitive to the incoming light. It can be compared to a negative that is present in reel cameras.

Shutter speed: Most photographers stress on mastering the shutter speed for capturing quality pictures. The shutter speed is the amount of time that light is allowed to stream in at the sensor. You should note that longer the duration the aperture is opened the resultant picture will be lighter.

Pixels: In a digital camera each picture is captured in the form of pixels. A pixel is also called a picture element. It usually has a numerical value that ranges from 0-255. All pixels are composed of three colour channels. Every image you shoot is given shape by placing pixels together.

Pixel count: The number of pixels required to form an image is called the pixel count.
The number usually varies depending on the type of the image being filmed. The common misconception is that the higher the number of pixels the better is the quality.

Pixels per inch: The quality of the picture is determined by the number of pixels that cover up a single inch while forming an image. The higher the number of PPI (pixels/inch) the greater is the quality of the picture.

Megapixel: A megapixel means that the image is made up of one million pixels. A camera that has the capability of shooting a one million pixel picture is commonly referred as a 1MP camera.

Digital zoom: Digital cameras have greater capabilities of zooming. There are two types of zoom commonly available in a camera: digital zoom and optical zoom. The digital zoom is used to enlarge a portion of a picture. Digital zooming beyond a certain extent can make the picture appear blurred and disproportionate.

Optical zoom: Optical zoom magnifies the image field. It works by changing the focal length of the lens and by adjusting the magnification power of the lens.

Memory stick: The advantage of taking unlimited photographs has made digital photography immensely popular. The images captured are stored in the memory stick or memory card.

JPEG format: The most common format used to store a photograph is jpeg. This is a compressed format where in the size of the picture is considerably reduced. The only drawback is that the quality of the picture may suffer due to compression.

TIFF: TIFF is yet another format used to save photographs. It stands for tagged image file format. The percentage of compression is comparatively lower but the quality is unchanged.