Forget the yellow or green boxes and snub your nose at the one-hour photo place. A digital camera doesn't need film—that's the whole point of it—and it doesn't need a film company. No need for the photofinisher any more, either. The digital camera is a revolution in photography. Better than Polaroid, you don't have to wait to see what develops or suffer the agonizing wait as colors fill in through the fog. Instantly you know what went wrong (and with photography, something always goes wrong—the challenge is finding the least-wrong image) and whether you need to snap again. You can review a half dozen shots at a time in the camera, choose the ones you want, and take some more without wasting an inch of film. When you're done, you download everything into your computer, where you can digitally edit and enhance your images until everything is perfect. And, finally, you can put to work that photo-quality printer that came with your computer, electronically paste snapshots into your digital documents, or illustrate your Web site with your own photos.
The digital camera is the facilitating device for digital photography, often called non-silver photography because of its lack of reliance on conventional photographic film. Film depends on the photosensitivity of silver salts and the chemical reaction—using chemicals that are known carcinogens—called development. Digital photography is much more environmentally friendly. In digital photography, photons are detected electrically by an image sensor that's so sensitive there's no need for the chemical amplification of the film developer. And once you tally up the cost of the film you don't need and the photofinishing you won't use, it's wallet friendly, too.
The digital images created by digital cameras are perfect for posting on the Web, pasting into newsletters and catalogs, cataloging on CD, and printing in full color on an inexpensive inkjet printer. You can edit the images yourself to eliminate the plague of red-eye in flash photographs or an ex-spouse in family photographs.