Definition: Photosite; Photo-site; (occ. pixelsite)

Definition: Photosite; Photosites; Photo-site; (occ: pixelsite) | Glossary entry

Definition: Photosites; photosite; Photo-site; (poss. pixelsite) 

A digital image is composed of pixels. Each pixel in an image gets its data on light intensity and colour from a corresponding photosite. The photosite is found on the digital image sensor in the camera. The sensor array is made up of photosites.

Each sensor has a specific number of tiny individual sensors. Each is a photosite. For example, a Canon 5D MkII camera has a 21.1 MegaPixel full-frame digital sensor. In this case that is 5616 photosites wide by 3744 photosites high.

Pixelsites are found on the digital image sensor.

The digital Image Sensor is a photo sensitive array, signal amplifier and computer. The shiny rectangle in the middle of the chip is the photo-sensitive part of the chip. It is made up of millions of individual photosites. They are minute light-sensitive points for collecting the data needed to make the image file.
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The individual sensor points on a digital image sensor are called photosites. They are the points where the digital data is collected to produce an image file. Each photosite senses the light coming through the photographic lens and records the data.

However, when a manufacturer quotes the size of the digital sensor, they use the term mega-pixels. It means how many pixels are created in the resulting image. Many people assume that the pixelsites on the sensor are called pixels. This is not the case. The individual sensor points on the sensor are photosites. The term pixels is applied to the individual illumination/colour points in an image display.

Occasionally, photosites are referred to as pixelsites. However, the derivation of the term is obscure.

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Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has also run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
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