photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Digital photography uses cameras containing arrays of electronic photodetectors interfaced to an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to produce images focused by a lens, as opposed to an exposure on photographic film. The digitized image is stored as a computer file ready for further digital processing, viewing, electronic publishing, or digital printing. It is a form of digital imaging based on gathering visible light (or for scientific instruments, light in various ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum). Until the advent of such technology, photographs were made by exposing light-sensitive photographic film and paper, which was processed in liquid chemical solutions to develop and stabilize the image. Digital photographs are typically created solely by computer-based photoelectric and mechanical techniques, without wet bath chemical processing. In consumer markets, apart from enthusiast digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR), most digital cameras now come with an electronic viewfinder, which approximates the final photograph in real-time. This enables the user to review, adjust, or delete a captured photograph within seconds, making this a form of instant photography, in contrast to most photochemical cameras from the preceding era. Moreover, the onboard computational resources can usually perform aperture adjustment and focus adjustment (via inbuilt servomotors) as well as set the exposure level automatically, so these technical burdens are removed from the photographer unless the photographer feels competent to intercede (and the camera offers traditional controls). Electronic by nature, most digital cameras are instant, mechanized, and automatic in some or all functions. Digital cameras may choose to emulate traditional manual controls (rings, dials, sprung levers, and buttons) or it may instead provide a touchscreen interface for all functions; most camera phones fall into the latter category. Digital photography spans a wide range of applications with a long history. Much of the technology originated in the space industry, where it pertains to highly customized, embedded systems combined with sophisticated remote telemetry. Any electronic image sensor can be digitized; this was achieved in 1951. The modern era in digital photography is dominated by the semiconductor industry, which evolved later. An early semiconductor milestone was the advent of the charge-coupled device (CCD) image sensor, first demonstrated in April 1970; since then, the field has advanced rapidly, with concurrent advances in photolithographic fabrication. The first consumer digital cameras were marketed in the late 1990s. Professionals gravitated to digital slowly, converting as their professional work required using digital files to fulfill demands for faster turnaround than conventional methods could allow. Starting around 2000, digital cameras were incorporated into cell phones; in the following years, cell phone cameras became widespread, particularly due to their connectivity to social media and email. Since 2010, the digital point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras have also seen competition from the mirrorless digital cameras, which typically provide better image quality than point-and-shoot or cell phone cameras but are smaller in size and shape than typical DSLRs. Many mirrorless cameras accept interchangeable lenses and have advanced features through an electronic viewfinder, which replaces the through-the-lens viewfinder of single-lens reflex cameras. Source: Wikipedia (en)

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