Camera Sensors At Work: how your digital camera turns light into an image

Photography Cheat Sheet: how your digital camera turns light into an image

Your digital camera does a lot more work to turn what you see in the viewfinder into a finished image than you probably give it credit for.

Understanding a little of what goes on deep inside your digital camera’s circuitry will help you understand some of the many options that you have to play with.

Our latest photography cheat sheet illustrates the sophisticated process your camera goes through to transform captured light into an image on your screen.

How your digital camera turns light into an image

Perhaps the most important thing to appreciate is that your image is only converted into digital form well after it has left the sensor.

The sensor itself is an analogue component, creating an old-fashioned electrical signal that can be tweaked by electronic circuitry to increase the ISO, for instance, amplifying the signal in much the same way as you crank up the volume on your radio.

PAGE 1: How your camera turns light into a digital file
PAGE 2: How sensors work
PAGE 3: JPEGs and Raw files

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