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2-stage Shutter Release: A 2-stage shutter release is the industry standard among current electronic cameras. In order to activate the Auto focus mechanism and the light meter, slightly press the shutter release. Holding the release halfway maintains the focusing point and the exposure parameters (AE Lock), and allows for re-composition of the picture, if so desired by you. To take the picture, simply push down on shutter release all the way.

35mm Equivalent: Because of the relative novelty of consumer digital imaging technology, Canon has begun providing the equivalent focal length in traditional 35mm film cameras.

A-D Converter: The A-D Converter converts the analog signal that is emitted from the image sensor into a digital signal.

Acquire: To import digital image files into a software application. The term is often applied differently within different types of software. Users of Canon PowerShot cameras enjoy the easy-to-use and highly advanced ImageBrowser (Mac) and ZoomBrowser (PC) softwares.

Advanced Photo System: A new standard in consumer photography developed by Canon and four other System Developing Companies. It is based on a new film format and innovative film, camera and photo finishing technologies to provide the user simple loading, easy flexibility on print sizes and improved photo quality.

Angle of view: To produce a quality image there is a maximum acceptance angle of a lens that must be adhered to.

Aperture: The lens opening, which permits light to expose the CCD on a digital camera or film (in a traditional camera). The aperture size is either fixed or adjustable, and is calibrated in F-Stop numbers; the larger the number, the smaller the lens opening.

ASA (American Standards Association), ISO (International Standards Organization): Film ratings, expressed as a number indicating a film's sensitivity to light. The larger the number, the more sensitive and faster the film is. While traditional cameras don't have a specific ISO rating, digital cameras do as a way to express their sensitivity to light.

Aspherical surface: A lens surface that possesses more than one radius of curvature. The aspherical elements compensate for the multitude of lens aberrations common in simpler lens designs.

Autofocus TTL (through-the-lens): Allows the camera to automatically focus through the lens, rather than by moving the lens back and forth manually. See also TTL.

Averaging: a.k.a. matrix metering or segmented metering. This type of system takes a light reading from many different areas of the frame. The microprocessor then calculates this information into a composite reading that takes into account the differences within the frame.

Bit: A bit, which stands for binary digit, is the smallest unit of digital information. Eight bits equals one byte. Digital images are often described by the number of bits used to represent each pixel. i.e. a 1-bit image is monochrome; an 8-bit image supports 256 colors or grayscales; while 24 or 32-bit supports true color.

Bitmap: A method of storing digital information that maps an image pixel out, bit by bit. The density of the pixels determines how sharp the image resolution will be. Most image files are bit mapped. This type of file gives you the 'jaggies,' stair-stepped edges that become apparent when you zoom in. Bitmap images are compatible with all types of computers. The desktop for all Windows machines uses .bmp files, while the Macintosh uses .pict files. Most Internet publishing and e-mail use JPEG or .JPG and .GIF (89a) formats. Canon PowerShot cameras store their pictures in JPEG format.

BMP:The bit-mapped file format used by Microsoft Windows. The BMP format supports RGB, indexed-color, grayscale, and Bitmap color modes.

Bracketing: This is an excellent method of coming to an understanding of the f/stop function. It is a technique in which takes a subject and takes a number of pictures from the same viewpoint at differing levels of exposure. Half or one f/stop (+/-) differences are usually selected depending on the subject.

CCD: Charge-coupled device. The image sensor that separates the spectrum of color into red, green and blue for digital processing by the camera. In digital cameras both Area and Linear CCDs are used. A CCD captures only black-and-white images. The image is passed through red, green and blue filters in order to capture color.

Area CCD: A square or rectangular CCD that can capture an entire image at once, which is essential for dynamic subjects and flash photography.

Linear CCD: a.k.a. scanner-type CCD, these sensors are long and thin, and capture an image by recording a vast number of individual "exposures" while scanning across the picture frame. These are best suited for still subjects and continuous illumination.

Center-Weighted: A method of determining the correct exposure for a photograph which gives more importance to the light meter reading at the center of the frame than to the peripheral areas. This method is often criticized for being too limiting to the photographer. The PowerShot S10, S20 and S100 all utilize a 3-point focal system that frees you from having to keep your subject centered at all times.

CMOS: Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. A type of semiconductor that has been, until the EOS D30, widely unavailable for digital cameras. CMOS semiconductors use two circuits, negative and positive polarity circuits. Because only one of the circuits can be on at once, CMOS chips are less energy consuming than other chips that utilize simply one type of transistor. This is a clear advantage of the CMOS sensor over the standard CCDs in use today.

CMY: Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. The three colors used to make all other colors. Like CMYK, CMY is used in printing to create the colors seen in a print.

CMYK: a.k.a. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, BlacK. The color model in which all colors are described as combinations of these four colors. Most color printers, ink-jet, laser, dye-sublimation, thermal, and crayon printers use these as their printer colors. One of the biggest challenges of desktop publishing is color matching because the conversion from RGB to CMYK can cause color shifts - making it difficult to match the print with what is on your monitor.

Compact Flash Card: A digital image storing mechanism that is increasing in popularity and thus functionality. Flash memory is a safe, highly reliable form of storage that doesn't need power to hold the images after they are saved. It won't erase the images unless the user chooses to do so.

Complimentary color: If two colors, combined in the proper proportion form white light, then they are complimentary colors.

Compression: The compression of digital files in a format that requires less storage space. Compression techniques are distinguished from each other by whether they remove detail and color from the image. Lossless techniques compress image data without removing detail; lossy techniques compress images by removing some detail. Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) is a lossy compression technique supported by JPEG, PDF, and PostScript language file formats. PowerShot digital cameras store their images in JPEG format, which provides the best results with continuous-tone images, such as photographs, when the size of the file is an important factor.

Contrast: The difference between elements in a photograph. Contrast can include the difference between light and dark areas, or a marked difference in colors.

Dark Current: a.k.a. noise, dark noise. Pixels collect signal-charges in the absence of light over time, which can vary from pixel to pixel, and the result is known as dark current. PowerShot digital cameras reduce or eliminate dark current before a picture is captured.

Depth-of-field: The zone of in-focus elements, from front to back. Another way to put this is the range of distance that is acceptably sharp within a photograph. Depth-of field varies inversely with the aperture opening. In other words, a wide-open lens with an aperture of f/1.8 has little depth of field; if stopped down to f/16, almost everything from front to back will be sharply in focus.

Developer: A chemical solution that changes invisible images exposed on light-sensitive film or paper into a visible image. Utilized in traditional camera film processing.

Diaphragm: The adjustable aperture of the lens. It restricts the amount of light allowed into the camera. This term can also be applied to shutter types, i.e. iris diaphragm shutter, which is a set of interposing leaves, which open and close at a variable rate to produce a between-the-lens shutter.

Digital Zoom: Unlike an optical zoom, the digital zoom takes the central portion of the high-resolution sensor's image to achieve the effect of a zoom. This means that the existing data is not enhanced or added to, merely displayed at a lower resolution, thereby giving an illusion of an enlarged image. All PowerShot cameras utilize the superior optical zoom, which actually augments the data collected by the sensor, rather than merely creating the illusion that the image has been enlarged.

Dynamic range: The ability of the camera's CCD to capture a full range of shadows and highlights.

EF Lenses: Renowned for ultra fast, ultra quiet, precision autofocus. Each Canon EF lens has its own microprocessor controlled focusing motor for optimum performance. Many utilize Canon's exclusive Ultrasonic Motor technology.

Export: The act of sending a file out through a specialized mini-application or plug-in so as to print or compress it. The term is also used to describe the action of saving the data to a specialized file format, i.e. JPEG, or GIF89a.

Exposure: Exposure explains how light acts on a photographic material. The lens opening controls light intensity, while the duration is controlled by the shutter speed. A camera with autoexposure can automatically control the exposure. The same principle works with digital cameras where film is replaced by the CCD.

Exposure Compensation: A system that allows "dialing-in" or adding or subtracting evaluation values (EV) for a given image. Compensating involves deciding whether or not the meter reading is under or over exposing and correcting the error. This method allows bringing out details in dark zones or lessening the intensity of bright zones, raising image quality.

F-stop: The number assigned to a particular lens aperture (or opening) size.

File format: The way an image is saved to a digital camera's memory. The .JPEG format that PowerShot cameras store digital images as is fast becoming an industry standard.

Film: A piece of plastic with a light sensitive mixture spread on it.

Film processing: The process where chemicals remove the unexposed silver on the film, then fix or stop the developing process and stop the negative's sensitivity to light. Now with PowerShot digital cameras, you are freed from the expense of film buying and processing.

Film speed: The film's sensitivity to light. For example, an ISO 100 film requires twice as much light as an ISO 200 film.

Flash: An electronic device that produces a burst of light the consumer can use to produce more exposure on the film.

Focal length: The distance from the rear model plane of a lens to the focus when the lens is focused at the infinity position.

Focus: To adjust the distance between the lens and an image to make the image as sharp as possible.

Fringing: This occurs when a digital image is artificially sharpened. The term usually refers to a white fringe that is apparent on the edges of objects in the picture. Fringing can also occur as a result of compression.

Gain: A method of adjusting a CCD sensor's sensitivity to light.

GIF: Graphic InterFace designed by CompuServe for using images on line. This is a 256 color or 8 bit image.

GIF 89a: The most recent GIF standard that allows the selection of area for transparency. The primary use is on the Internet and other on-line services. Like GIF it is 256 color or 8 bit imaging.

GUI: Pronounced "Gooey." Stands for Graphic User Interface. Refers a program interface that takes advantage of the computer's graphics capabilities to make the program, itself, easier to use. PowerShot software utilizes a GUI that is very effective because of its familiarity to popular browsers.

Indexed Color: Reduced Color mapping, 8 bit or less. Done to reduce images to their smallest size. Commonly used for images placed on home pages of the Internet. The 256 color palette are also mapped for best results on the Internet, taking into account the differences between the Windows and Macintosh color palettes. (Also see GIF, GIF 89a, BMP).

Interpolation: Method used in software to augment the resolution of an image map. The software adds pixels to an image based on the value of surrounding pixels, thereby increasing its resolution. This method can cause artefacting.

ISO: (International Standardization Organisation). Used instead of ASA or DIN as prefix to film speeds. The full scale includes both ASA and DIN.

Jaggies: a.k.a. pixelization. Term for the stair-stepped appearance of a curved or angled line in digital imaging. The smaller the pixels and the greater their number, the less apparent the "jaggies".

JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group, *.jpg. The de facto standard for image compression in digital imaging devices. JPEG is a lossy compression technique, capable of reducing digital images files to about 5% of their normal size. This is one of the reasons you can get as many images into your PowerShot digital camera as you can. The results in decompression of the files can cause "blockiness," the "jaggies," or "pixelization" in certain digital images. The greater the compression level the more pixelization or "blockiness" that will occur. The greater the pixel count, the less pixelization that may occur.

Kilobyte: 1,024 bytes, written KB, used to refer to size of files, which relates to the amount of information in a file.

LCD: Liquid crystal display. The flat screen on many digital cameras that preview photographs that have already been taken. LCDs utilize two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal solution between them. An electric current passed through the liquid causes the crystals to align so that light cannot pass through them. Each crystal, therefore, is like a shutter, either allowing light to pass through or blocking the light.

Lens: One or more pieces of glass, specially shaped, arranged to bring together rays of light so they can be recorded on film or paper.

Lossy: Data compression techniques that reduce some detail of a digital image are described as being "lossy." Most video compression techniques utilize lossy compression.

Macro lens: A lens that allows users to take close-up photographs.

Megabyte: 1024 Kilobytes, written MB, used to refer to the size of files or media such as hard drives. Refers to the amount of information in a file or how much information can be contained on a hard drive or disk.

Megapixel: 1,000,000 pixels. See also Pixel.

Memory: The camera's storage medium. Flash memory is a safe, highly reliable form of storage that doesn't need power to hold the images after they are saved. It won't erase the images unless the user chooses to do so.

Microdrives: Developed by IBM, microdrives are extremely small hard disks that can fit in a CompactCard memory slot. Two drive capacities will be available 170 MB and 340MB, enabling digital cameras designed to use CompactFlash memory cards to enjoy even larger storage capabilities. All PowerShot digital cameras utilize the CompactFlash image storage format.

Negative: A reverse image in which shadows and dark areas of the photograph appear light, and in which light areas appear dark.

Noise: Unwanted electrical signals that produce spots on the image.

Non-lossy: a.k.a. lossless. Term that refers to data compression techniques that do not remove image data details in order to achieve compression. This method is generally less effective than lossy methods in terms of resulting file size, but retains the entire original image. See also lossy.

NTSC: National Television Standards Committee. The NTSC sets United States TV and video standards (whereas in the rest of the world the standards are PAL and SECAM). The NTSC TV standard defines a composite video signal with a refresh rate of 60 interlaced half-frames per second. Each frame contains 525 lines and can contain 16 million different colors. To use on most PCs today, special video adapters are needed to convert computer video signals to conform to NTSC standards and vice versa.

Optical Zoom: An optical zoom is made to bring you closer to your subject, without you having to move. Zooms are constructed to allow a continuously variable focal length, without disturbing focus. To achieve this, the optical zoom uses a combination of lenses that magnify the image prior to being registered at high resolution by the sensor. While the digital zoom only changes the presentation of existing data, with the optical zoom the data collected by the sensor is actually augmented. Optical zooms are superior to digital zooms, and is utilized on all PowerShot digital cameras.

Over-exposure: Expression used to indicate that the light sensitive material has been excessively exposed. This can be the result of light that is either too bright, or has been allowed to act for too long. In digital imaging, over-exposure is also referred to as blooming.

PAL: Phase Alternating Line. The primary television standard in the world outside of the United States. The PAL TV standard defines a composite video signal with a refresh rate of 50 half-frames per second where each frame contains 625 lines. To use on most PCs today, special video adapters are needed to convert computer video signals to conform to PAL standards and vice versa.

Parallax: The difference between the image seen by a viewing system and that recorded by the sensor or the film. As subjects move closer to the lens, the variance increases. Only through the lens (TTL) viewing systems avoid parallax error.

PCMCIA Card: Personal Computer Memory Card International Association card. PCMCIA cards are about the size of a credit card and these PC Cards have been developed to be a standard for hardware capability expanding devices. Cards used in digital cameras offer removable storage and an easy way to transfer photos from the camera to a notebook or desktop PC.

PICT: The PICT format was originally developed by Apple Computer in the mid-1980s. The PICT format supports RGB files with a single alpha channel, and indexed-color, grayscale, and Bitmap files without alpha channels. The PICT format is especially effective at compressing images with large areas of solid color.

Pixel: Short for picture element, Pixels are the tiny dots of information that make up a digital image. The more pixels there are on the camera's image sensor (CCD or CMOS), the higher the image resolution will be. The higher the resolution, the clearer an enlarged print can be.

Pixelization: The step-like appearance of a curved or angled line in digital imaging. The smaller the pixels, and the greater their number, the less apparent the "pixelization" of the image. Also known as the "jaggies."

PNG: Portable Network Graphics. Developed as a patent-free alternative to GIF, this format is used for lossless compression for the purposes of displaying images on the World Wide Web. Adopted by the WWW consortium as a replacement for GIF, some older versions of Web browsers may not support PNG images.

PPI: Printing term for Pixels Per Inch. The higher the PPI, the higher quality print that can be produced.

RAM: Random Access Memory, . A type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly. This is the fastest type of memory for the computer and the most expensive. There are several types of RAM.

Range finder camera: A camera that uses a system of prisms and mirrors to bring an image into focus, even though the viewfinder (unlike an SLR) is separate from the lens. Also sometimes known as a lens-shutter or "point and shoot" camera.

Red-eye: Red-eye is the term used to describe the effect that can occur in photographs where the pupils of the eyes can take on a red color. The red color appears when the pupil of the eye is dilated, usually in a low light environment when the light of the flash strikes the retina at the back of the eye, reflecting the light through the wide-open pupil. (Also see Red-eye Reduction)

Red-eye Reduction: A system that causes the pupils of a subject to shrink by shining a light prior to the taking of the flash picture. This prevents the red-eye effect.

Reflex: A reflex camera is one that utilizes a mirror system to reflect the light, and therefore the image, coming through the lens, to a visible screen. The image seen in the cameraŽs viewfinder then is the same image entering the lens. This system provides the most accurate framing and focusing. Most reflex cameras reveal a high percentage of the image that will be photographed, upwards of 80%. Some reflex cameras are able to show 100% of the image frame into the viewfinder. The reflex system avoids the parallax problem that plagues most direct view cameras. See also SLR.

Resolution: Refers to the number of pixels, both horizontally and vertically, used to either capture an image or display it. The higher the resolution the finer the image detail that can be seen.

RGB: Red green blue. Computers and other digital devices handle color information as shades of red, green and blue. A 24-bit digital camera, for example, will have 8 bits per channel in red green and blue, resulting in 256 shades of color per channel.

SCSI: Small Computer System Interface, is an interface for connecting peripherals to computers that allows the daisy-chaining of such devices. It is now widely used for scanners, digital cameras and CD-R drives, all devices that require transferring a large amount of data to the computer. SCSI is faster than RS-232-C, but is still obsolete when compared to the USB interface.

Shutter: A mechanism in the camera that controls how much light reaches the film.

Shutter speed: The length of time the shutter remains open when the shutter release is activated, expressed in fractions of seconds.

SLR, or single-lens-reflex: A user looking through the viewfinder on this type of camera actually looks through the picture-taking lens, thanks to a series of mirrors and prisms within the camera. This is a very improved type of viewfinder, because what you see is what is in the actual picture frame.

Software: Operating instructions for specific task based applications. The computer's processor carries out these instructions. Software has to be written for a specific computer Operating System (OS). Canon PowerShot digital cameras boast the most user-friendly, and advanced digital camera software bundles to date.

Spot metering: In this type of metering, a central spot of the frame is utilized to measure the light that is coming off the subject. The measuring spot is often indicated by the viewfinder of the camera. Used without care, this system can easily result in the metered area being well exposed while the rest of the frame is either under or over exposed.

TIFF: The Tagged-Image File Format (TIFF) is used to exchange files between applications and computer platforms. TIFF is a flexible bitmap image format supported by virtually all paint, image-editing, and page-layout applications. Also, virtually all desktop scanners can produce TIFF images. This format of file uses the *.tif extension.
The TIFF format supports CMYK, RGB, and grayscale files with alpha channels, and Lab, indexed-color, and Bitmap files without alpha channels. TIFF also supports LZW compression.


Transparency: A positive photographic image,i.e. a slide, typically meant to be viewed by projecting light through the image.

TTL (through-the-lens): Refers to a metering system that utilizes a light-sensitive mechanism within the camera body to measure exposure from image light passing through the lens. TTL viewfinders reveal exactly what the lens sees, avoiding parallax problems. See also Autofocus TTL.

TWAIN: An acquire interface developed as a standard for communications between scanners, imaging devices, digital cameras and the computer software. TWAIN allows you to import (acquire) an image into your software. This is the generally the interface of choice on the Windows platform.

Under-exposure: The result of too little exposure in the camera. In digital imaging, under-exposure can sometimes be corrected by the use of image editing software.

USB, or Universal Serial Bus: A new external bus standard that supports data transfer rates of 12Mbps. USB is expected to completely replace serial and parallel ports. In addition, USB is particularly well suited for high-speed Plug-and-Play downloading of images from your digital camera straight to your PC.

Viewfinder: System used for composing and sometimes focusing the subject. There are several types: direct vision, optical, ground glass screen or reflex.

White Balance: The camera's ability to correct color and tint when shooting under different lighting conditions including daylight, indoor and fluorescent lighting.

Wide-angle lens: A camera lens with a short focal length, such as 24mm or 28mm.

Zoom lens: A lens whose focal length can be continuously adjusted.