|Advanced Camera: Advanced digital cameras offer
owners the option of manually controlling a variety of camera settings,
including focus, aperture, and shutter speed.
The most widely used digital memory format, CompactFlash
cards are used by most current Canon and Nikon cameras, as well
as many other brands. CompactFlash cards are available in sizes
up to 2 Gigabytes, larger than any other currently-available format.
Digital Zoom: Most digital cameras provide two
methods for zooming: optical and digital. Unlike optical zoom,
which uses the optics of the lens to magnify the size of an image,
digital zoom discards pixels around the edge of an image, fitting
the remaining pixels into the same space to give the appearance
of zoom. Since digital zoom comes at the expense of resolution,
you should always choose a camera based on its optical zoom, not
the digital or combined figure.
Extended Zoom: Extended zoom digital cameras
offer 8x optical zoom or greater, providing far more telephoto
power than most other digital cameras (the average digital camera
offers 3- or 4x optical zoom). On most digital cameras, a 10x
optical zoom is approximately the equivalent of a 380mm lens.
Image Noise: Image noise creates specks of the
wrong color in a digital image. Image noise usually occurs in
low-light conditions when a camera's light sensor registers an
incorrect value, for instance recording yellow when it should
record black. This error causes small dots to appear in the image.
Higher quality cameras should have very little noise, even at
high ISO settings.
ISO: ISO is a measurement of a digital camera's
imaging sensor's sensitivity. Digital cameras with high ISO capability
are better able to take low-light images and pictures of fast
JPEG: An acronym for Joint Photographic Experts
Group, a JPEG is the most commonly used type of digital image
format. By eliminating very subtle color distinctions that the
human eye usually cannot detect, JPEG images are compressed so
that they can save faster and use less space. Because JPEG format
actually alters an image, it's compression is said to be "lossy,"
meaning that a certain amount of data is lost every time a JPEG
is edited, saved, and compressed again.
Macro Mode: Macro mode allows a digital camera
to take close-up pictures of small objects like flowers, insects,
coins, etc. Macro capabilities vary by camera- check a camera's
reviews to see how its macro mode performs.
Megabyte: A megabyte (MB) is a unit of data
used to describe the size of digital images and the capacity of
a digital memory card. Memory cards are available in sizes ranging
from 8MB to 2 Gigabytes (a Gigabyte is the equivalent of 1,024MB).
Megapixel: A measure of resolution that reflects
the ability of a digital camera to record detail. The more megapixels
a camera has, the more detail its images can contain and the more
they can be enlarged without losing clarity. More megapixels aren't
always necessary, however. For more information see DCHQ's First
Time Buyer's Guide.
Memory Stick: Memory Stick is a memory format
used primarily by Sony digital cameras. Memory Sticks are available
in sizes up to 1 Gigabyte.
Movie Mode: Movie mode lets digital cameras
shoot video clips. Some cameras offer sound, while others can
only take silent videos. The maximum length of a movie is determined
by a camera's internal limits and/or the size of the memory card.
Optical Zoom: Optical zoom magnifies the size
of an image by adjusting the lens. Unlike digital zoom, optical
zoom enlarges the subject without sacrificing resolution.
Point and Shoot: A point and shoot camera offers
few or no manual controls and very simple operation. Focus, exposure,
and most other adjustments are completely automatic; all the owner
needs to do is aim and push the shutter button. Most advanced
cameras also have point and shoot modes.
RAW: One of the image formats available on some
advanced digital cameras. RAW images are large, usually uncompressed
files that, unlike JPEGs, are not processed by the camera and
retain all their original data. RAW images are ideal for those
who plan on editing their pictures with image-editing software.
RAW images may require special software to turn them into a more
common format like TIFF or JPEG.
Redeye: Redeye is the term used to describe
the red color often visible people's eyes when a picture is taken
with a flash. Redeye is caused by the reflection of the flash
off the subjects' eyes -- a problem that is compounded when the
flash is positioned close to the lens, as it is on many small
Redeye Reduction: By firing the flash several
times just before exposing a photo, cameras with a redeye reduction
feature cause a subject's pupils to contract, reducing the reflection
that causes redeye.
SLR Camera: The most expensive of all digital
cameras, digital SLRs offer complete manual control, higher resolution,
advanced exposure control, and the benefits of detachable lenses.
Due to the lens design, digital SLR's are not capable of shooting
SLR-Style Camera: With protruding lenses and
large hand grips, SLR-styles cameras have bodies that are physically
similar to actual SLR cameras. Unlike proper SLRs, however, these
cameras do not have "through-the-lens" viewfinders and
do not accept interchangeable lenses.
SmartMedia: A digital camera memory format currently
used by some Olympus and Fuji cameras. These companies are using
xD-Picture cards in their newer cameras, raising the possibility
that the SmartMedia format is on the way out. SmartMedia cards
are available in sizes up to 128MB.
TIFF: Short for Tagged Image File Format, TIFF
is an image file format that does not lose any quality when it
is saved and compressed. Many advanced cameras offer a TIFF format
Ultra Compact Camera: Ultra compact cameras
are generally one inch or less thick, and small enough to be held
in the palm of a hand. While these cameras do not offer all the
manual controls of larger models, they still are capable of producing
high quality images.
xD-Picture Card: Released in Early 2002 by Olympus
and Fuji, xD-Picture Card is the newest digital camera memory
format. Physically smaller than all other memory formats, and
available (as of 5/03) in sizes up to 256MB, the xD-Picture Card
appears poised to replace the older SmartMedia format.