What is a Digital Still Camera?

Updated: Sep 20, 2023 3:49 PM
What is a Digital Still Camera?

So, what is a digital still camera? Put simply; they are models of cameras that are optimized to take a single picture at a time and store it on a memory card. There is a wide range of options, from easily portable, compact cameras to intense action cameras with larger sensors. You can even find a few modular cameras in this category. Digital cameras have taken the industry by storm because of their easy usage and precise controls. This makes it tempting to buy a new digital camera. But, it’s not always good things about digital cameras, they do have their flaws.


  • A digital still camera uses a digital medium instead of film, storing photos on a memory card so you can access them for editing immediately.
  • The automatic mode offered by digital cameras allows even amateurs to control exposure settings and quality settings more easily. On the other hand, they have a shorter battery runtime.
  • Digital cameras use a liquid crystal display (LCD) viewfinder that helps you frame your photos ideally before hitting the shutter button.

The best digital camera will perfect your white balance, offer an automatic mode, and include manual controls. Whether you want larger or more compact cameras is up to you entirely. You may even like a translucent mirror digital camera or a good digital DSLR camera. There is a consumer model for every need.

Explaining Digital Image Sensors

Larger sensors give you better control over exposure settings, no matter your mode of shooting. This makes them the best for action cameras since they can capture every movement due to their faster shutter speed. A digital camera might have a large or small sensor, depending on the model. You can find the sensor on another camera by reading our Fujifilm X T100 review.

However, the larger the sensor, the larger the camera. If you’re looking for compact cameras, you’ll need to sacrifice a few of the features that larger sensors provide. To learn about compact cams, read our Panasonic Lumix LX15 review.

Insider Tip

Compact cameras are great for traveling and are a popular product for those creating editorial content for their travel blogs.

Whether it’s worth it to you depends on your intentions. If you’re looking to travel, a more pointed question like, “What is a good digital camera for vacation?” will be helpful.

Why Use a Digital Camera?

You’ll find endless reasons to invest in a digital camera. From an attractive auto mode to complete control over ISO speed to their crystal clear LCD display, there are multiple reasons these models are so popular.

Whether you’re using them as action cameras for perfect image resolution or using a consumer model for photos of friends in automatic mode, digital cameras are fantastic. For more about camera quality, check out our guide on what is resolution on a camera.

These models have come a long way since their inception in 1991, changing from CCD sensors to the CCOS sensors found today. There have been plenty of other modifications to provide a better manual mode. Still, it has come at the cost of shorter battery runtime. There are also models that have interchangeable lenses that allow for different lenses on the same camera to get the most out of your digital photography.


Using the auto setting might allow amateur photographers to take better photos right away, but becoming a professional means understanding your menu settings thoroughly.

Why Memory Cards Matter

The most significant benefit to digital cameras is their flash card readers. This allows you to transfer photos to your computer without losing image resolution, especially when shooting in RAW. You’re also less likely to lose your images in the first place since they’re stored independently of your camera. Knowing that, where are your pictures stored on the digital camera itself?

Unlike with film, you’re able to get countless photos per card. This allows you to select the best range instead of praying any of the film photos you took will end up working out.

Because of this, they’re an attractive alternative to film. They aren’t the only technical parts to understand about digital cameras, however. Our article, “What is a digital camera gimbal?” will answer far more.

The Benefits of a Digital Camera

There are several benefits to using this style of photography:

  • You can find models that are modular cameras
  • They offer a MicroSD card slot for easy editing in post
  • Their automatic mode helps amateur photographers

The Drawbacks of a Digital Camera

As with anything, there are cons to this investment:

  • They sometimes take too many photos per card
  • The manual mode of shooting is complicated to understand
  • They often have a much shorter battery life

STAT: Quality improvement is obtained by increasing the resolution of the sensor and by using more sophisticated image processing algorithms. (source)


Do all digital cameras come with a built-in flash?

While a built-in flash is relatively standard, not all modern cameras come with them. You can purchase an external flash if you need one. Most photographers will require the usage of one due to light conditions.

Are mirrorless cameras worth investing in?

There are several reasons you might invest in mirrorless cameras as opposed to other types:

  • They are some of the most compact cameras
  • You’ll enjoy a faster shutter speed
  • They feature the same image quality settings as competitors

Is photographic film still in usage?

There is still a small community of people that use film. However, digital cameras are the new alternative to film and have become a far more popular product.

Should I invest in a cloud service for my photography?

If you’re afraid of losing your camera or images, this is a clever workaround. Storing your photos in a cloud service means you’ll never worry about disappointing clients.

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