Digital cameras have only optical elements like the lenses in common with traditional film cameras. They use an optoelectronic chip - often a (CCD) - instead of a film. The lens projects the picture onto the CCD. The signals for brightness and colour of each singular smallest unit of the chip (pixel) are transfered into a digital memory device. Each digital picture is a file of such pixelwise informations. Usually a little one-chip-computer (camera processor) controls such a camera. This computer changes the raw file's format into a compressed file format, for example the JPEG-Format. Some cameras offer an option to let the camera store the raw data uncompressed. A serial interface for connection to a computer makes the image-files available for reworking them with imaging software.

The term Analog Camera should refer to non-digital electronic cameras, which also have no film, such as the Olympus VC-100 still camera and most older video/TV cameras - not, as is sometimes mistakenly intended, to film cameras.