Digital photography brings with it a whole new set of terms and abbreviations that requires getting used to if you've been using film cameras in the past. Many of the terms are totally unique to digital cameras and photography, and if you don't understand them there is a good chance that you won't be able to get the equipment that you really need for taking digital photographs. So let's review some of the most important digital photography terms to help you understand them.
Pixel - everything in digital photography actually begins with the pixel. Simply put, it is the very smallest part of a digitized image. You can think of it as a.dot that when combined with lots of other dots around it, makes up an entire photo image
Resolution - this usually has to do with the total number of pixels in a photograph, and the higher the resolution, generally the sharper and better quality the picture is.
Megapixel - this simply stands for one million pixels. The more pixels that make up a photograph, the higher the resolution and better quality the image will be. So a digital camera that takes a one megapixel image will usually not have anywhere near the image quality of a camera that takes a four or five megapixel image. And the differences become even greater when the photograph is enlarged.
DPI - this stands for dots per inch and often applies to printers or monitors. For instance, most laser printers have a resolution of around 300 dpi, whereas most monitors display only 72 dpi. Photo quality inkjet printers usually come in at least 1200 dpi.
Megabyte - this stands for an amount of computer memory that is somewhere around one million bytes of file storage.
JPEG - this acronym stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and is now a recognized format for the storage of images is in most digital cameras.The JPEG format allows for quite a bit of image and file compression, making files that are in this format much easier to display on the internet and send to others by e-mail. However, the kind of image compression that is used by the JPEG format can also cause some loss of image quality and so is not suitable for high quality prints.
Memory card - all digital cameras have to store the digital files on some kind of removable media, and most often it involves the use of a small memory card. These cards come in various sizes depending on how much storage space they have available. A few digital cameras are also able to store files directly on CDs instead.
LCD - this stands for Liquid Crystal Display, and these are usually found on most digital cameras to help the photographer preview the scene before taking the photograph, and then review that image later on after the photo was taken.
These are the digital photography terms that are most commonly used today, and understanding them will help you better select and use the digital equipment that you buy.