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Chapter 1. What Is Digital Photography? > Inside a Digital Camera

Inside a Digital Camera

The workings of a digital camera are not that different from a film camera's. From the outside, both cameras appear pretty much the same. There's a lens to point at your subject and a shutter button to press when you take your picture.

But inside is where the difference lies. In the place of film, the digital camera has a small plate that is covered with a grid of light sensors. The sensors are referred to as pixels (short for picture element). You may be familiar with pixels on the computer. They represent the smallest element on a computer display, and are the unit of measurement for screen resolution. The most basic digital camera has about a million pixels (known as a megapixel). Better cameras have several million. The more sensors, the finer the detail you can record, and the larger the image that you can print.


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