Also known as f/stop, the aperture is the size the lens opens to allow in light. Smaller numbers, such as F1.8, indicate a larger aperture, while larger numbers, such as F16, indicate a smaller aperture.

When you select an aperture, also known as an f/stop, the camera chooses the best shutter speed. Use this mode to control the depth of field--by selecting a small f/stop for landscape photography, you'll ensure the maximum depth of field, or by selecting a large f/stop for portrait photography, you'll throw everything, except the subject, out of focus.

Charged-Coupled Device (CCD)
A charged-coupled device or CCD is an image sensor containing millions of pixels  whose job is to catch and record light when you press the shutter button of a digital camera. Each pixel registers the brightness--or, intensity--of the light falling on it. A large CCD (3 megapixels and up) can capture much more variation in the light than a small CCD (less than 3 megapixels) and can therefore reproduce an image more faithfully and realistically. 

Depth of Field 
The distance in which objects are in focus. The smaller the aperture, the greater the depth of field achieved.

Exposure (Control)
Your camera provides different modes controlling exposure--Auto, Manual, Shutter Priority, or Aperture Priority. 

Light Metering 
How your camera measures the amount of light available to expose a picture.

Center-weighted meter
An exposure meter that is calibrated to emphasize the center of the photo you see through the viewfinder.

Spot Meter
An exposure meter calibrated to read light at a specific point in a scene or subject. 

Macro Photography 
Photographing small objects by moving close to them. A steady tripod ensure well exposed pictures.

Referring to millions of pixels or dots in a digital photo's resolution. A digital camera can have a CCD that's rated 4.2 megapixels but delivers an effective resolution of 4.0 megapixels. The higher the effective resolution, the higher the quality of the picture that can be recorded.

Made by Adobe, it's the most popular, but, unfortunately, the most expensive image editing software. 

The number of pixels used to capture an image. Usually, the higher the image sensor resolution, the better the image quality.

Shooting modes 
The amount of control you have in choosing how your digital camera captures an image.

Auto mode: The camera decides the best shutter speed/aperture settings.

Shutter priority: Allows you to decide the shutter speed--fast fast for stop action photography or slow for night photography. The camera then decides the best aperture.

Aperture priority: Allows you to choose the aperture.

Manual: You have complete creative control in selecting both the shutter and aperture.

Scene modes: Pre-set exposure control--shutter/aperture combination, plus other adjustments, such as white balance, exposure compensation, etc.) for various common picture situations, such as Night Scene, Portrait, Landscape, Action, etc.

Shutter speed 
The amount of time the shutter blades stay open to allow light into the camera. The longer the shutter stays open, the more light. The shorter the shutter stays open, the less light. Action photography require a fast shutter speed to freeze action, while landscapes require a small aperture for maximum depth of field.

Storage media
The digital medium that replaces film. A number of competing storage media cards are offered. The most common ones are CompactFlash (CF) and SmartMedia. Sony uses its own proprietary Memory Stick and Olympus has introduced its own proprietary xD-Picture Card.

White Balance 
When you capture a digital photograph, you can manipulate it, either using a image editing software on your computer after you take the picture, or while you're taking it.
White balance refers to the ability to adjust colors based on white as a reference color to give as true a white as possible. In the process, all the other colors are also corrected. Some preset white balance settings are daylight, cloudy, tungsten, or fluorescent. Using white balance properly is essential in digital photography.

Zoom, Optical vs. Digital
An optical zoom uses the lens of the digital camera to move you closer to your subject while a digital zoom simply uses the existing image and enlarges it digitally. Enlarging the image digitally reduces picture quality, so you should avoid using it.

Introduction | Buying a Camera | Digital Basics | Digital FAQ | Photo Tips | Editing Images
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