The new approach has been enormously successful. Since film usually provides better picture quality, digital cameras have not completely Commodity Robot Review replaced conventional cameras. But, as digital imaging technology has improved, and prices dramatically decreased, digital cameras have rapidly become more popular. In this article, we'll find out exactly what's going on inside these amazing digital-age devices.

Let's say you want to take a picture and e-mail it to a friend. To do this, you need the image to be represented in the language that computers recognize -- bits and bytes, or binary information. Essentially, a digital image is just a long string of 1s and 0s that represent all the tiny colored dots -- or pixels -- that collectively make up the image. If you want to get a picture into this form, you have two options: You can take a photograph using a conventional film camera, take the film to a developing lab that processes the film chemically, prints it onto photographic paper, and then place the picture on a digital scanner to sample the print (record the pattern of light as a series of pixel values).

You can directly sample the original light that bounces off your subject, immediately breaking that light pattern down into a series of pixel values -- in other words, you can use a digital camera. At its most basic level, this is all there is to a digital camera. Just like a conventional film camera, it has a series of lenses that focus light to create an image of a scene. But instead of focusing this light onto a piece of film, it focuses it onto a semiconductor device that records light electronically. A computer then breaks this electronic information down into digital data. All the fun and interesting features of digital cameras come as a direct result of this process.

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