Digital cameras are not input devices

  • Peter Thoresen

    Looking at the N4/N5 Information Systems notes from Education Scotland, digital cameras are still being classified as input devices.

    Digital Cameras are image capture devices, but they are not input devices to a computer system.

    When digital cameras are connected to a computer they appear as storage devices – so why do we teach that they are input devices?

    We should be teaching pupils that they are embedded devices, with their own input/output/storage/processing components.


    I couldn’t agree more!! Last years Int 2 paper had a question relating to embedded systems and digital cameras so surely thats the line we should be taking!


    It’s actually even more complicated. If you attached a DV camera to a computer, say via Firewire, it can then be used to directly capture video to your application without storing the image/video on the actual camera. In this mode of operation I would say it is an input device.

    However, as you rightly say, when you use such a device with it’s internal storage, it is then the camera part (CCD, ADC, Lens etc) that is the input device, the data is processed using the internal microprocessor and associated software and then stored on the device storage (SDCard, SSD or similar). The digital camera will have it’s own output devices (probably a speaker for audio and an LCD display). A digital camera is a system on its own.

    This is, again, an example of where our oversimplification of computing concepts distorts the real picture? Really we should be enabling learners to “break down” these devices into their parts rather than confusing them with blanket terms that are incorrect.

    Anyway…what about a touch screen display? Input? Output? Both? 😛

    Walter Patterson

    Or a haptic (force feedback) mouse?

    I agree with key points above that a digital camera should be treated as a digital system. Especially now that the onboard image processing and playback software is so sophisticated.

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