Glossary - here are definitions of terms you'll probably come across when researching your camera.
Aperture - refers to the size of the iris, the opening in the lens that determines the amount of light that passes through onto the film or sensor. If the number is larger, like f/22, the opening is smaller and allows less light to hit the film or sensor. Aperture affects exposure and depth of field. If you have a small number, the film will be less exposed and have a larger depth of field.
Autofocus - is a system that measures the phase of light arriving at a sensor to establish correct focus. This is good for those who don't know how to focus, but be careful that the camera focuses on the correct object.
Depth of field - is the zone of acceptable sharpness in a picture extending in front of and behind the subject being focused on by the lens. A large aperture (smaller f-stop number) will give you a shallower depth of field.
Digital Zoom - is very different from the optical zoom. A digital zoom takes the central portion of the high-resolution image and magnifies it by spacing out the pixels electronically. Don't be fooled, it only gives the illusion of an enlarged picture.
Exposure - is the amount of light that passes through a lens to form a photograph. The exposure is controlled by the aperture and shutter speed.
Flash - is an artificial light source that is brief but very bright.
Focal Length - refers to the distance between the optical center of the lens and the focal plane, when the focus is set at infinity. The focal length is usually measured in millimeters.
Focusing - is a system of moving the lens in relation to the image to obtain the required degree of sharpness.
JPEG - is the standard for image compression in digital imaging devices and the most commonly used. JPEG compression divides the image in to squares of 8 x 8 pixels, which are compressed independently and then the details are selectively reduced within each block.
LCD Screen - LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. It is the screen that is found on the back of many digital cameras, which allows photographers to preview, review, and interface with some of the camera's controls.
Lens - is an optical device made of glass or plastic that forms images by bending and focusing rays of light.
Macro - is an Extreme close-up photograph, which requires a lens able to focus very near the subject.
Megabyte - measures how much information is in a file. One megabyte equals 1024 Kilobytes.
Megapixel - is a thousand pixels. The more pixels that exist in an image, the higher the resolution, which means the quality of the image will be better.
Memory card - is a small memory module that can be inserted into the camera to hold images. The image can then be downloaded from the card. When the images are erased from the card, it is then ready to be reused. Different camera companies sell cards specifically for their cameras. Memory cards come in a range of memory sizes.
Optical Zoom - brings you closer to the object without having to move. The digital zoom only changes the presentation of existing data, while the optical zoom actually increases the size of the data collected by the sensor.
Pixel - is the smallest part of a digital image and measures the image's size and resolution.
Shutter speed - is the duration of time that the shutter is held open during an exposure. The typical range is from 1 full second to 1/1000 of a second.
SLR - (Single Lens Reflex) allows the photographer to see what the lens sees rather than what the viewfinder sees. Small cameras usually use the viewfinder to position and focus subjects.
USB - (Universal Serial Bus) allows for an easier and faster connection for serial devices to the computer. It is also, one of the ways to unload pictures from a digital camera.
Viewfinder - is used for composing and sometimes focusing the subject.
White Balance - aids in overcoming color problems created by adverse lighting conditions. The digital camera finds a reference point, which represents white and then calculates all the other colors based on this white point.
Zoom lens - is a lens that allows the photographer to vary the focal length of the lens, enlarging a portion of an image in order to see it more clearly.