Here is a book entitled "Formation of a Digital Image: The Imaging Chain Simplified" by Robert D. Fiete I haven't read it myself. But it looks like it provides a simplified but comprehensive explanation on how digital images are formed in laymen's terms w/o complex formulas. http://www.amazon.com/Formation-Digital-Image-Simplified-Monograph/dp/081948976X Here is a synopsis of the book Creating a digital picture is so simple today that when we pick up our camera and push the button, we don't put any thought into the process that we just set into motion. The chain of events that occurs to create the photograph is called the imaging chain. The scientists and engineers who design digital cameras love to dive deep into the physics and the mathematics of the imaging chain, but discussing the imaging chain with people not well versed in this language will usually produce a blank stare or a yawn. This book discusses the concepts used to design digital cameras for people who don't want to be blinded with equations and bored with geek speak. It will help the individuals who work with camera designers and want to know, but are sometimes afraid to ask, why they keep babbling about an "MTF" or some other mysterious acronym. If you ever wondered why pinstripe suits turn psychedelic on TV or why crosses appear on pictures of stars, the imaging chain will give you the answers, and this book is for you.