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Digital Terms (Cont'd) 

Manual Focus: The digicam’s focus can be set by the user at any point from near to far or in steps such as 3 feet, 15 feet, Infinity. A useful override feature on some autofocus cameras which sometimes refuse to fire when they cannot focus accurately in very low light or on fast-moving subjects or objects.

Maximum Aperture: A measure of how much light can pass through a lens when its diaphragm is opened fully. Lenses with maximum apertures of f-2 or f-2.8 are categorized as "fast" and can produce correct exposures under lower light than "slow" lenses with maximum apertures of f-3.5 or smaller.

MegaPixel (also MP): One million pixels. When the length times width of a digicam’s pixel array reaches one million, its resolution is then described in MegaPixels. 1,300,000 pixels equals 1.3 MegaPixels.

Memory Card Reader: Allows rapid transfer of images recorded on digicam memory cards to a computer. The memory card —containing a folder of images— shows up as an external drive on the computer’s desktop and the entire folder can be copied over to the hard drive in seconds.

MemoryStick: Sony’s proprietary memory card.

NiMH: Nickel Metal Hydride: A type of digicam rechargeable battery that provides very consistent voltage and is environmentally safe.

Noise: The electronic equivalent of excessive grain in a film image. Usually found in images shot at high ISO settings.

Optical Viewfinder: An optical glass device on the digicam which, when looked through, shows the intended image to be photographed. The best digicams have optical viewfinders in addition to LCD monitors because the LCD can "wash out" in bright sunlight, making it virtually impossible to see the image.

Optical Zoom: A zoom lens which uses movement of lens elements to achieve various fields of view. Regardless of whether the zoom is set for taking pictures at wide-angle or telephoto settings, the resolution of the image remains the same.

Photo CD: A CD-ROM holding about 100 images, each scanned from slides or negatives at five different resolutions. The photographer can then choose the best resolution to achieve the size of a desired photo.

Picture CD: Similar to Photo CD but with only one medium resolution scan for each image.

Pixel: From a contraction of the words Picture Element. The basic element of resolution. Digicam resolution is expressed in pixels (not pixels-per-inch).

Pixelation: See "Jaggies."

Plug-in: A small application that can be added (plugged-in) to a program to give it more functionality. For example, a distortion-removal plug-in.

ppi: Pixels-per-inch. A measurement used to describe the size of the final printed image. An image that has a higher number of pixels-per-inch will show more detail than one which has fewer pixels-per-inch.

Pre-Flash: Some digicams fire two flashes, the first adjusts the white balance (see below) and the second exposes the picture. This is different from a red-eye reduction mode in which multiple weak flashes are fired to close down the subject’s iris prior to the actual exposure.

Red-Eye: A phenomenon which occurs when the flash is fired directly into the subject’s eyes in a dimly lit or dark environment. Blood vessels in the back of the eye reflect their color back through the iris of the eye which is usually opened wide in dim light. Most digicams have a flash mode to reduce or eliminate this condition.

Reflex Viewing: The intended image is viewed directly by your eye through the taking lens giving you as close to what you see as you’re apt to find. Also called TTL (through the lens) and SLR (single lens reflex) viewing.

Resizing: In which the size of the image is changed by squeezing pixels together (to make them smaller) or spreading them apart (to make them bigger) without adding or subtracting any. Thus, the image’s file size remains the same. See also: "Interpolation."

Resolution (Res): A measure of how much information a digital camera can record, usually expressed in pixels or MegaPixels and arrived at by multiplying the length (in pixels) times the width (in pixels) of the CCD sensor array.

RGB: Red, Green, and Blue: The primary colors of light which, when mixed in varying proportions can produce all colors. Digital cameras and monitors use RGB to record and display colors.

Shutter Priority: A mode in which a desired shutter speed is manually selected and locked in; the camera then chooses an appropriate lens opening (f-stop) for proper exposure. Used primarily to prevent motion-blur in fast-moving subjects or objects.

Slow Synch: A flash mode in which the image is given some exposure before or after the flash is fired so as to bring out details in the background that would normally be underexposed or not recorded at all.

SmartMedia: Also known as SSFDC (Solid State Floppy Disk Card). A postage stamp-sized memory card used by some digicam manufacturers as an alternative to Compact Flash cards and presently capable of storing up to 64MB of digital image information.

TIFF: Tagged Image File Format. Most digicam images are recorded as TIFFs and then JPEG-compressed in the camera. Some digicams now offer an uncompressed TIFF option so an image can be retrieved in its original state, eliminating the possibility of compression artifacts.

TFT: Thin Film Transistor. A type of digicam monitor display that allows a wider, brighter viewing angle than a standard LCD monitor.

Upsampling: See "Interpolation"

USB: Universal Serial Bus. A computer port to which peripherals can be connected and, when used by a USB-equipped digicam, allows rapid transfer of digital camera images to the computer.

White Balance: In which the color temperature of the scene is measured prior to exposure and electronically adjusted so that white objects will not take on excessive color casts of red, blue or, if shot under most fluorescent lighting, green.

Zoom Lens Apertures: Designated as two maximum apertures on the lens ring as: 1:2.8—4.0. The first number after the "1" (f-2.8) applies if the lens is in full wide angle position. The second (f-4), if it is at full telephoto. Similarly, minimum apertures will also vary by a full f-stop. If the zoom is set between wide and telephoto, the maximum aperture will fall in the middle, in this case, f-3.5.


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