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Digital camera

A digital camera (or digicam for short) is a camera that takes video or still photographs, or both, digitally by recording images via an electronic image sensor.

Front and back of a Canon PowerShot A95.

Many compact digital still cameras can record sound and moving video as well as still photographs. In the Western market, digital cameras outsell their 35 mm film counterparts.[1]

Digital cameras can do things film cameras cannot: displaying images on a screen immediately after they are recorded, storing thousands of images on a single small memory device, recording video with sound, and deleting images to free storage space. Some can crop pictures and perform other elementary image editing. Fundamentally they operate in the same manner as film cameras, typically using a lens with a variable diaphragm to focus light onto an image pickup device. The combination of the diaphragm and a shutter mechanism is used to admit the correct amount of light to the imager, just as with film; the only difference is that the image pickup device is electronic rather than chemical.

Digital cameras are incorporated into many devices ranging from PDAs and mobile phones (called camera phones) to vehicles. The Hubble Space Telescope and other astronomical devices are essentially specialised digital cameras.


Compact digital cameras

Compact cameras are designed to be small and portable and are particularly suitable for casual and "snapshot" use, thus are also called point-and-shoot camera. The smallest, generally less than 20 mm thick, are described as subcompacts or "ultra-compacts". Compact cameras are usually designed to be easy to use, sacrificing advanced features and picture quality for compactness and simplicity; images can usually only be stored using lossy compression (JPEG). Most have a built-in flash usually of low power, sufficient for nearby subjects. Live preview is almost always used to frame the photo. They may have limited motion picture capability. Compacts often have macro capability, but if they have zoom capability the range is usually less than for bridge and DSLR cameras. Generally a contrast-detect autofocus system, using the image data from the live preview feed off the main imager, focuses the lens.

Typically, these cameras incorporate a nearly-silent leaf shutter into their lenses.

To enable lower costs and smaller size, these cameras typically use image sensors with a diagonal of approximately 6 mm, corresponding to a crop factor around 6. This gives them weaker low-light performance, greater depth of field, generally closer focusing ability, and smaller components than cameras using larger sensors.


Bridge cameras

Bridge or SLR-like cameras are higher-end digital cameras that physically and ergonomically resemble DSLRs and share with them some advanced features, but share with compacts the use of a fixed lens and a small sensor. Like compacts, most use live preview to frame the image. Autofocus is achieved using the same contrast-detect mechanism, but many bridge cameras feature a manual focus mode for greater control.

Due to the combination of large physical size but a small sensor, many of these cameras have very highly specified lenses with large zoom ranges and fast apertures, partially compensating for the inability to change lenses. A typical example is the lens on the Panasonic FZ50, a 35-420mm equivalent lens with an aperture of 1:2.8-3.7. To reduce aberrations in a lens with such ambitious specifications, these have quite complex constructions, using multiple aspheric elements and often anomalous-dispersion glass. To compensate for the reduced sensitivity of their small sensors, these cameras almost always include an image stabilization system of some kind to enable longer handheld exposures.

These cameras are sometimes marketed as and confused with digital SLR cameras since the appearance is similar. Bridge cameras lack the reflex viewing system of DSLRs, have so far been fitted with fixed (non-interchangeable) lenses (although in some cases accessory wide-angle or telephoto converters can be attached to the lens), can usually take movies with sound, and the scene is composed by viewing either the liquid crystal display or the electronic viewfinder (EVF). They are usually slower to operate than a true digital SLR, but they are capable of very good image quality (with sufficient light) while being more compact and lighter than DSLRs. The high-end models of this type have comparable resolutions to low and mid-range DSLRs. Many of these cameras can store images in a raw image format, or processed and JPEG compressed, or both. The majority have a built-in flash similar to those found in DSLRs.


Line-scan camera systems

A line-scan camera is a camera device containing a line-scan image sensor chip, and a focusing mechanism. These cameras are almost solely used in industrial settings to capture an image of a constant stream of moving material. Unlike video cameras, line-scan cameras use a single array of pixel sensors, instead of a matrix of them. Data coming from the line-scan camera has a frequency, where the camera scans a line, waits, and repeats. The data coming from the line-scan camera is commonly processed by a computer, to collect the one-dimensional line data and to create a two-dimensional image. The collected two-dimensional image data is then processed by image-processing methods for industrial purposes.

Line-scan technology is capable of capturing data extremely fast, and at very high image resolutions. Usually under these conditions, resulting collected image data can quickly exceed 100 MB in a fraction of a second. Line-scan-camera–based integrated systems, therefore are usually designed to streamline the camera's output in order to meet the system's objective, using computer technology which is also affordable.

Line-scan cameras intended for the parcel handling industry can integrate adaptive focusing mechanisms to scan six sides of any rectangular parcel in focus, regardless of angle, and size. The resulting 2-D captured images could contain, but are not limited to 1D and 2D barcodes, address information, and any pattern that can be processed via image processing methods. Since the images are 2-D, they are also human-readable and can be viewable on a computer screen. Advanced integrated systems include video coding and optical character recognition (OCR).


Conversion of film cameras to digital

When digital cameras became common, a question many photographers asked was whether their film cameras could be converted to digital. The answer was yes and no. For the majority of 35 mm film cameras the answer is no, the reworking and cost would be too great, especially as lenses have been evolving as well as cameras. For most a conversion to digital, to give enough space for the electronics and allow a liquid crystal display to preview, would require removing the back of the camera and replacing it with a custom built digital unit.

Many early professional SLR cameras, such as the NC2000 and the Kodak DCS series, were developed from 35 mm film cameras. The technology of the time, however, meant that rather than being a digital "backs" the bodies of these cameras were mounted on large, bulky digital units, often bigger than the camera portion itself. These were factory built cameras, however, not aftermarket conversions.

A notable exception is the Nikon E2, a camera followed by Nikon E3, using additional optics to convert the 35mm format to a 2/3 CCD-sensor.

A few 35 mm cameras have had digital camera backs made by their manufacturer, Leica being a notable example. Medium format and large format cameras (those using film stock greater than 35 mm), have a low unit production, and typical digital backs for them cost over $10,000. These cameras also tend to be highly modular, with handgrips, film backs, winders, and lenses available separately to fit various needs.

The very large sensor these backs use leads to enormous image sizes. The largest in early 2006 is the Phase One's P45 39 MP imageback, creating a single TIFF image of size up to 224.6 MB. Medium format digitals are geared more towards studio and portrait photography than their smaller DSLR counterparts; the ISO speed in particular tends to have a maximum of 400, versus 6400 for some DSLR cameras.


The arrival of true digital cameras

Nikon D1 digital camera of 1999

The first true digital camera that recorded images as a computerized file was likely the Fuji DS-1P of 1988, which recorded to a 16 MB internal memory card that used a battery to keep the data in memory. This camera was never marketed in the United States, and has not been confirmed to have shipped even in Japan.

The first commercially available digital camera was the 1990 Dycam Model 1; it also sold as the Logitech Fotoman. It used a CCD image sensor, stored pictures digitally, and connected directly to a computer for download.[8][9][10]

In 1991, Kodak brought to market the Kodak DCS-100, the beginning of a long line of professional Kodak DCS SLR cameras that were based in part on film bodies, often Nikons. It used a 1.3 megapixel sensor and was priced at $13,000.

The move to digital formats was helped by the formation of the first JPEG and MPEG standards in 1988, which allowed image and video files to be compressed for storage. The first consumer camera with a liquid crystal display on the back was the Casio QV-10 in 1995, and the first camera to use CompactFlash was the Kodak DC-25 in 1996.

The marketplace for consumer digital cameras was originally low resolution (either analog or digital) cameras built for utility. In 1997 the first megapixel cameras for consumers were marketed. The first camera that offered the ability to record video clips may have been the Ricoh RDC-1 in 1995.

1999 saw the introduction of the Nikon D1, a 2.74 megapixel camera that was the first digital SLR developed entirely by a major manufacturer, and at a cost of under $6,000 at introduction was affordable by professional photographers and high end consumers. This camera also used Nikon F-mount lenses, which meant film photographers could use many of the same lenses they already owned.



Image data storage

A CompactFlash (CF) card, one of many media types used to store digital photographs

Most digital cameras utilize some form of removable storage to store image data. While the vast majority of the media types are some form of memory card using flash memory (CompactFlash, SD, etc.) there are storage methods that use other technologies such as Microdrives (very small hard disk drives), CD single (185 MB), and 3.5" floppy disks.

Removable storage technologies include:















Preview of picture in folder The Magic Of Surroor


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