Although digital cameras and ordinary film cameras look alike, they work in a completely different way. On pressing the button to take a photograph with a digital camera, an aperture opens at the front and light comes in through the lens. There is a piece of electronic equipment that captures the incoming rays of light and turns them into electrical signals. This light detector is either a charge-coupled device (CCD) or a CMOS image sensor. When you look at a television screen up close, you will notice that the images on it are made up of millions of tiny colored dots or squares called pixels. The electronic equipment in a television or computer screen switches the colored pixels on and off very quickly; the light from the screen travels to your eyes and your brain is tricked into believing that you are seeing a large, moving picture. However, in a digital camera, quite the opposite happens. The light from the object you are photographing zooms into the lens of the camera. The incoming light hits the image sensor chip, which is then broken up into millions of pixels. The color and brightness of each pixel is measured by the sensor, which stores it as a number. Therefore, your digital photograph is a long string of numbers that describes the details of each pixel it contains.

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