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Introduction to 
Scanners and Digital Cameras

There are two primary ways to translate images into a computer-compatible format:

Scanners and
Digital Cameras.


A scanner has a clear glass window like on a copy machine. 

However, instead of copying something on a piece of paper to another piece of paper it copies what's on a piece of paper then translates it into a digital image (see below), which can be understood by computers.

Digital Cameras

Unlike a scanner (which translates an existing image into binary format), a digital camera records an image in digital format directly.  

A digital image is stored on a magnetic media (in the digital camera) from the moment it's created. 

Most digital cameras have the ability to "download" the images from the magnetic media in the camera itself to your computer.

More information on Digital Cameras:

Background information:  "Digital Image"

A digital image is one that is stored in a format that can be understood by computers.  This allows it to be:

  • stored on a computer (on diskettes, your hard drive, CD's, etc.)
  • displayed on a computer screen in a web page or graphics program, or
  • sent electronically over the Internet in email


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