Digital photography uses an array of electronic photodetectors to capture the image focused by the lens, as opposed to an exposure on photographic film. The captured image is then digitized and stored as a computer file ready for digital processing, viewing, digital publishing or printing.
Until the advent of such technology, photographs were made by exposing light sensitive photographic film, and used chemical photographic processing to develop and stabilize the image. By contrast, digital photographs can be displayed, printed, stored, manipulated, transmitted, and archived using digital and computer techniques, without chemical processing.
Digital photography is one of several forms of digital imaging. Digital images are also created by non-photographic equipment such as computer tomography scanners and radio telescopes. Digital images can also be made by scanning other photographic images.
A digital camera (or digicam) is a camera that takes video or still photographs by recording images on an electronic image sensor. Most cameras sold today are digital, and digital cameras are incorporated into many devices ranging from PDAs and mobile phones (called camera phones) to vehicles.
Digital and film cameras share an optical system, typically using a lens with a variable diaphragm to focus light onto an image pickup device. The diaphragm and shutter admit the correct amount of light to the imager, just as with film but the image pickup device is electronic rather than chemical. However, unlike film cameras, digital cameras can display images on a screen immediately after being recorded, and store and delete images from memory. Many digital cameras can also record moving video with sound. Some digital cameras can crop and stitch pictures and perform other elementary image editing.