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Technology - Digital Camera Jargon

Auto Exposure

Automatically selects the best exposure for the light conditions.


Auto Flash

Provides extra light in low light conditions by automatically operating the camera flash.


Auto Focus

Measures the distance between camera and subject, and adjusts the camera to achieve correct focusing distance.


Back Light Compensation

Prevents losing subject detail when capturing images against a bright background.



Bluetooth is a standard developed by a group of electronics manufacturers that allows computers, printers and mobile phones to make wireless connections.



A standard measurement of computer files, consisting of eight bits. Other units include the kilobyte (KB = 1024 bytes), megabyte (MB = 1024KB) and gigabyte (GB = 1024MB).


CCD (Charge-Coupled Device)

Instead of recording images on film, digital cameras use a charge-coupled device - an electronic sensor that converts light patterns into digital signals. The number of light-sensitive cells on the CCD determines the resolution of the camera, measured in megapixels.



A recordable CD. Once stored, information can't be removed or written over.



A recordable CD that can be used to write, erase and re-write data.


CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor)

Another type of electronic sensor for recording images with greater power efficiency.



Digital cameras use compression to reduce file size enabling a greater amount of images to be stored on the camera's memory. The more compression that is used the greater the loss in overall image quality. Settings are usually; Fine, Normal and VGA.



A removable memory card, available in varying sizes from 16MB to 4GB.



Some digital cameras come with a cradle or dock into which the camera can be placed. The cradle allows easy connection to your computer for transferring images and may provide connection to a power supply for recharging the camera's batteries. Some docks also have the facility to print.


Digital Zoom

Digital zoom works by enlarging part of the stored image within the camera. Unlike optical zoom, digital zoom will reduce the camera's resolution and overall image quality.


Direct Printing

Printing system that allows digital cameras and printers to communicate and produce photos without the need of a computer.



See Cradle.


DPI (Dots Per Inch)

Unit of measurement that describes the output resolution of printing devices.


EVF (Electronic Viewfinder)

Small LCD inside the camera's viewfinder for viewing and composition.


EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format)

Standard for storing interchange information in image files, especially those using JPEG compression. Most digital cameras now use the EXIF format.



The amount of light falling onto the camera's CCD (Charge-Coupled Device), determined by a combination of the shutter speed and aperture (the duration and intensity of light). These can usually be selected by the user or set to be automatic.


Exposure Compensation

The term given to increasing and decreasing the camera's automatic exposure setting. This can be done manually or in set increments (sometimes referred to as 'bracketing').


File Format

The method by which data within a file is stored or read. Common formats for digital camera files include JPEG and TIF.


Fill In Flash

Provides a burst of flash to fill in shadows. Useful for photographing subjects in daytime shade.



Provides light in dull or dark conditions. Features on most cameras.


Film Speed

Different film speeds can be used for varying light conditions. The higher the ISO number the better the film will cope with dull conditions. Lower numbers indicate slower film speeds which are better suited to brighter conditions.


Four Ink Colour Printing

Printing system that uses cyan, magenta, yellow and black to produce full colour images.


Image Stabilisation

Compensates for a wide range of movements and vibrations that naturally occur with handheld camcorders.


Information Exchange

Information recorded on an APS film which is used by the processing laboratory to identify the selected picture format, i.e. Classic, HDTV or Panoramic.


ISO (International Standards Organisation)

Standard reference for the sensitivity of film speed.


JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group)

A popular file format for storing images with an efficient file size. Fine image information is discarded or compressed to reduce the size of the file.


Landscape Mode

Sets the camera lens to focus on distant subjects. Useful for taking pictures through glass windows with an auto focus camera.


LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)

The screen on digital cameras used to view images, menus and functions.


Lithium Ion Batteries

The most efficient rechargeable digital camera batteries currently available, lithium ion batteries last around twice as long as Ni-MH batteries and can be charged up to 500 times.


Macro Mode

Allows the capture of close up images from distances between four centimetres and one metre.


Media Card (Memory Card)

Media cards are usually removable and come in a variety of types and sizes. The five main types are xD (Extreme Digital), SD (Secure Digital), CompactFlash, SmartMedia and Memory Stick.



A measurement of the number of pixels on a camera's CCD (Charge-Coupled Device), equal to 1 million pixels.


Memory Stick

A memory card for use in Sony digital cameras and other devices.


Memory Stick Duo

A newer, smaller version of the Sony Memory Stick format with larger capacity potential.



A memory card used in professional digital cameras, capable of storing many high-resolution images without the need to compress files. Similar in size to Compact Flash.


Mid Roll Rewind

Allows you to rewind a film that's only partly used.


Mini DV

Popular compact storage medium for digital video.


MMC (Multi Media Card)

Similar in size to the SD card without the read only function, commonly used in mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDA).


Movie Mode

Movie mode feature allows the capture of short movies, with or without sound depending on the camera. The resolution of the image is reduced when using this mode.


Night Scene Mode

Allows night time flash photography while retaining background lighting.



A basic nickel hydride battery that can deteriorate with use and recharging.



A rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery that gives out twice as much power as an Ni-Cd and deteriorates much slower.



The term given to electrical interference in a digital image, appearing as discoloured pixels.


Noise Reduction

Filtering system to prevent electrical interference contaminating images.


Optical Zoom

Optical zoom works in the same way as the zoom on a film camera. The focal length of the lens actually extends to magnify the image on to the CCD (Charge-Coupled Device), giving the impression of moving closer to the subject. There is no loss of resolution when using optical zoom.


PAL (Phase Alternating Line)

Television/video signal standard for Western Europe. Also see Video Output.



Standard software interface for connecting digital cameras and printers together without the need of a computer.



One of millions of tiny square dots that make up a digital image.



The term used when individual pixels can be seen, usually as a result of a low-resolution image being enlarged.


Portrait Mode

Programmes the camera to the best setting for capturing portrait photographs.


PPI (Pixels Per Inch)

Unit of measurement that describes the resolution of digital images.


Red Eye Reduction

Reduces red eye caused by camera flash when capturing subjects at night or in the dark.



Refers to the number of pixels used to either capture or display an image. The higher the resolution the finer the image detail that can be seen.


SD Card (Secure Digital)

Removable memory card with a read only switch for protecting data.


Six Ink Colour Printing

Printing system that extends four colour printing with an extra two colours, usually light cyan, light magenta, producing a greater colour range.



Most digital cameras are supplied with basic software for downloading images to a computer and performing basic image editing such as cropping and resizing.


SmartMedia Card

Removable memory card, used in several types of digital camera.


Sports Mode

Uses a faster shutter speed to allow the capture of moving action.


TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

A standard format for high-resolution bitmapped images, indicated by the .tif suffix.


TV/Video Interface

Allows a digital camera to plug directly into the auxiliary input on a TV set.


USB (Universal Serial Bus)

A popular cable connection for attaching digital cameras and hardware to computers, providing fast transfer of data.


VGA (Video Graphics Array)

A mode used to create low-resolution images, usually for internet use or sending via email. Most commonly used for movie capture.


Video Output

A digital camera mode that allows images to be displayed on a TV or transferred to videotape.


White balance

This function adjusts the ambient light to neutral, preventing artificial (e.g. tungsten or fluorescent) lighting from appearing as red/yellow or blue/green in an image.



See Bluetooth.


XD Media Card

A removable memory card developed by Fuji as a replacement for SmartMedia. It's currently available in sizes up to 512MB with larger capacities in development.





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