DIGITAL DEFINITIONS



A basic knowledge of digital definitions can be very helpful, if not absolutely essential, for beginners, as part of an introduction to Digital Photography.

If you don’t want to delve into digital definitions just now, then, I suggest you take a quick look to familiarise yourself with the various terms and make a mental note to return to them when you feel ready.

FILE FORMATS: The way a digital program arranges data to enable it to be stored and displayed in a computer. I will deal only with the two most common which you are likely to meet.: JPEG and TIFF.

JPEG or JPG (The Joint Photographics Experts Group)

This is the most common format, used virtually by all digital cameras. When the image is exposed the camera needs to compress the data. In this format, there is a possibility that some of the data may be lost. This is not something you need worry about for it is completely satisfactory for most amateur work. You will certainly not be able to detect any deterioration. The big advantage is that it results in a smaller file in your camera and computer making it easier to deal with and, obviously, takes up much less valuable space.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

A popular graphics standard file format from which no detail is lost. Not all cameras have this option although JPEG files can be converted into TIFF files using computer software such as Photoshop Elements. However, it results in a much larger file which you should not find necessary to begin with.

Those are the two principal File Formats. Now let us look at a few digital definitions which you will certainly encounter.

PIXEL: This is short for Picture Element and is the smallest component of any digitally generated image.

PIXELS PER INCH (ppi): A measure of image resolution, particularly on a computer monitor.

DOTS PER INCH (dpi): A unit of measurement representing the resolution of digital devises such as printers.

RESOLUTION: The clarity and definition of an image reproduced in a photograph, scanner, monitor or printer etc.

SCANNER: A digital device which can scan an image and reproduce the image into a computer.

KB (Kilo Byte): Approximately 1000 bytes. KBs are used to show the file size of an image below one megabyte.

MB (Mega Byte): Approximately one million bytes.

BYTE: Eight bits. The basic data unit for desktop computing.

Now, having got that out of the way, I suggest you turn to the page on Digital Camera Settings which I’m sure you will find to be of much more practical use.