This article presents a programmable digital signal processor (DSP) platform for digital still cameras based on the TMS320C54x? DSP family. One major advantage of this platform is that, after capturing an image from a charged coupled device (CCD) sensor, processing the raw image, and compressing the image for storage are performed on the DSP. This provides a short shot-to-shot delay and a high degree of flexibility. The system realized also allows instant viewing and selective storing of captured images. This article outlines the various processing stages necessary to take the raw CCD data and produce a JPEG compressed bit stream, and highlights the advantages of DSPs for this application. The programmable nature of this platform allows for the exploration of different image processing and compression techniques. The low-power nature of the DSP provides long battery life.