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Digital camera AD converter

By Jakob Jelling

Digital cameras are some of the fascinating devices that have specially advanced components in order to achieve some extraordinary functionality. Such a component is known as the digital camera AD (Analog to Digital) converter. This component of the device has some of the greatest applications in the area that the fact remains that the image of the subject that is photographed in essentially analog in nature. However the digital camera being a completely digital device it requires some kind of mechanism to make a conversion or this transition from analog to digital nature possible. And this is essentially achieved by the digital camera AD converter. The following lines of the discussion focuses towards the details of this entire complicated yet superb process.

Looking at the technical portion it can be stated that the sensors inside the digital camera consist of pixels with photodiodes, which convert the energy of the incoming photons into an electrical charge. That electrical charge is converted to a voltage which is amplified to a level at which it can be processed further by the digital camera AD converter. The digital camera AD converter classifies the analog voltages of the pixels into a number of discrete levels of brightness and assigns each level a binary label consisting of zeros and ones. A one-bit digital camera AD converter would classify the pixel values as either black (0) or white (1). A two-bit digital camera AD converter would categorize them into four (2 to the power 2) groups: black (00), white (11), and two levels in between (01 and 10). Most consumer digital cameras use 8 bit digital camera AD converters, allowing up to 256 (2^8) distinct values for the brightness of a single pixel.

Again in further details it can be stated that the 8 bits digital camera AD converter samples the analog voltages into 256 discrete levels, which are assigned a binary label consisting of zeros and ones. Digital SLR cameras have sensors with a higher dynamic range, which are able to capture subtle tonal gradations in the shadow, mid tone, and highlight areas of the scene. Because those sensors output pixel voltages with very minute voltage differences they are usually equipped with 10 or 12 bit digital camera AD converter, which allow for more precise categorization into 1,024 or 4,096 discrete levels respectively. Normally such cameras offer the option to save the 10 or 12 bits of data per pixel in RAW because JPEG only allows 8 bits of data per channel.

A lot has been revealed in the above lines regarding the intricate topic of the digital camera AD (Analog to Digital) converter and it can here be summed that such a fantastic component of this wonderful device the digital camera has to be very very interesting as well as worth knowing for all the users!

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