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Last month we looked at the sensors in digital cameras and how they work. This month, in the final of our two part series, we look at digital camera processing and memory cards and how they relate to their film equivalents.

The term ‘processing’ is one that will be familiar to film users, and it’s a stage that is usually carried out by a lab, with negatives and prints being the end result. Images from digital cameras also need to be processed, but in this case it’s a procedure that can be carried out in a matter of moments in-camera. Choosing a camera that is fitted with a good processor is crucial: this is the element that will dictate how quickly you are ready to shoot your next image, and it will also determine the quality of the image and a lot more besides.

Modern processors, such as Canon’s DIGIC II found in EOS D-SLRs, Digital IXUS and the new PowerShot zoom compacts, are fundamental to the performance of the camera, hence the reason why pixel count alone is not the only way to ascertain what the quality of output will be. For digital still cameras, for example, DIGIC II combines six key elements that are needed to reproduce a digital image into one chip. These are: CCD control, Auto Exposure/Auto Focus/Auto White Balance, Image processing, JPEG compression, Memory card control and LCD monitor display.