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A camera is an
optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities ...

optical
instrument used to capture an
image An SAR radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour shows the Teide volcano. The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is visible as the purple and white area on the lower right edge of the island. Lava flows ...

image
. At their most basic, cameras are sealed boxes (the camera body) with a small hole (the
aperture In optics, an aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels. More specifically, the aperture and focal length of an optical system determine the cone angle of a bundle of ray (optics), rays that come to a focus (optics), focus ...

aperture
) that allows light in to capture an image on a light-sensitive surface (usually
photographic film Photographic film is a strip or sheet of transparent coated on one side with a containing microscopically small light-sensitive crystals. The sizes and other characteristics of the crystals determine the sensitivity, contrast, and of the ...
or a
digital sensorA digital sensor is an electronic or electrochemical sensor In the broadest definition, a sensor is a device, module, machine, or subsystem whose purpose is to detect events or changes in its environment and send the information to other electr ...
). Cameras have various mechanisms to control how the light falls onto the light-sensitive surface.
Lens A lens is a transmissive optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies ...

Lens
es focus the light entering the camera, the size of the aperture can be widened or narrowed to let more or less light into the camera, and a shutter mechanism determines the amount of time the photo-sensitive surface is exposed to the light. The still image camera is the main instrument in the art of photography and captured images may be reproduced later as a part of the process of photography,
digital imaging Digital imaging or digital image acquisition is the creation of a representation of the visual characteristics of an object, such as a physical scene or the interior structure of an object. The term is often assumed to imply or include the proce ...
,
photographic printing Photographic printing is the process of producing a final image on paper for viewing, using chemically sensitized paper. The paper is exposed to a photographic negative, a positive transparency (or ''slide''), or a digital image A digital imag ...
. The similar artistic fields in the moving image camera domain are film,
videography Videography refers to the process of capturing moving images on electronic media (e.g., videotape, direct to disk recording, or solid state storage) and even streaming media Streaming media is multimedia Multimedia is a form of com ...

videography
, and
cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek κίνημα, ''kìnema'' "movement" and γράφειν, ''gràphein'' "to write") is the art of Film, motion picture (and more recently, electronic video camera) photography. Cinematographers use a lens (o ...

cinematography
. The word ''camera'' comes from ''
camera obscura A camera obscura (plural ''camerae obscurae'' or ''camera obscuras'', from Latin , "dark chamber") is a darkened room with a small hole or lens at one side through which an image is projected onto a wall or table opposite the hole. "Camera obs ...

camera obscura
'', which means "dark chamber" and is the Latin name of the original device for projecting an image of external reality onto a flat surface. The modern photographic camera evolved from the camera obscura. The functioning of the camera is very similar to the functioning of the human eye. The first permanent photograph was made in 1825 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.


Mechanics

A camera captures light
photon The photon ( el, φῶς, phōs, light) is a type of elementary particle In , an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a that is not composed of other particles. Particles currently thought to be elementary include the fundamental s ...

photon
s, usually from the
visible spectrum The visible spectrum is the portion of the that is to the . in this range of s is called ' or simply . A typical will respond to wavelengths from about 380 to about 750 . In terms of frequency, this corresponds to a band in the vicinity of ...
for human viewing, but in general could also be from other portions of the
electromagnetic spectrum The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of frequencies Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time A unit of time is any particular time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existe ...

electromagnetic spectrum
. All cameras use the same basic design: light enters an enclosed box through a converging or convex
lens A lens is a transmissive optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies ...

lens
and an image is recorded on a light-sensitive medium (mainly a
transition metal In chemistry, the term transition metal (or transition element) has three possible definitions: * The IUPAC The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC ) is an international federation of National Adhering Organizations tha ...
-
halide A halide is a binary phase, of which one part is a halogen atom and the other part is an chemical element, element or radical (chemistry), radical that is less electronegative (or more electropositive) than the halogen, to make a, e.g., fluoride, ...

halide
). A shutter mechanism controls the length of time that light can enter the camera. Most cameras also have a viewfinder, which shows the scene to be recorded, and the ability to control
focus FOCUS is a fourth-generation programming language (4GL) computer programming programming language, language and development environment that is used to build database queries. Produced by Information Builders Inc., it was originally developed for d ...
and exposure so that it is not too bright or too dim.


Exposure control


Aperture

The aperture, sometimes called the diaphragm or iris, is the opening through which light enters the camera. Typically located in the lens, this opening can be widened or narrowed to control the amount of light that strikes the film. The aperture is controlled by the movements of overlapping plates or blades that rotate together and apart to shrink and expand the hole at the center. The diameter of the aperture can be set manually, typically by adjusting a dial on the camera body or lens, or automatically based on calculations influenced by an internal light meter. The size of the opening is set at standard increments, typically called " f-stops" (but also "f-numbers", "stop numbers", or simply "steps" or "stops"), that usually range from 1.4 to 32 in standard increments: 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, and 32. As the numbers increase, each increment (or "stop") halves the amount of light entering the camera. Conversely, the lower the number, the larger the opening, and so the more light that is let into the camera. The wider opening at the lower f-stops narrows the range of focus so the background of an image is blurry when focusing on the foreground, and vice versa. This "
depth of field illustrating the effect of depth of field on a tilted object. For many cameras, depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and the farthest objects that are in acceptably sharp focus in an image. The depth of field can be calculate ...

depth of field
" increases as the aperture closes, so that objects that are at differing distances from the camera can both be in focus; when the aperture is at its narrowest, the foreground and background are both in sharp focus.


Shutter

The shutter, along with the aperture, is one of two ways to control the amount of light entering the camera. The shutter determines the duration that the light-sensitive surface is exposed to light. The shutter is opened, light enters the camera and exposes the film or sensor to light, and then the shutter closes. There are two types of mechanical shutters. The leaf-type uses a circular iris diaphragm maintained under spring tension inside or just behind the lens that rapidly opens and closes when the shutter is released. More commonly, a
focal-plane shutter In camera design, a focal-plane shutter (FPS) is a type of photographic shutter that is positioned immediately in front of the focal plane In Gaussian optics, the cardinal points consist of three pairs of points located on the optical axis o ...

focal-plane shutter
is used. This shutter operates close to the film plane and employs metal plates or cloth curtains with an opening that passes across the light-sensitive surface. The curtains or plates have an opening that is pulled across the film plane during an exposure. The focal-plane shutter is typically used in single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras, since covering the film rather than blocking the light passing through the lens allows the photographer to view through the image through the lens at all times ''except'' during the exposure itself. Covering the film also facilitates removing the lens from a loaded camera (many SLRs have interchangeable lenses).
Digital camera A digital camera is a camera that captures photographs in digital memory. Most cameras produced today are digital, largely replacing those that capture images on photographic film. Digital cameras are now widely incorporated into mobile devices ...

Digital camera
s may use one of these types of mechanical shutters or they may use an electronic shutter, the type used in the cameras of smartphones. Electronic shutters either record data from the entire sensor at the same time (a global shutter) or record the data line by line across the sensor (a rolling shutter). In movie cameras, a rotary shutter opens and closes in sync with the advancing of each frame of film. The duration is called the shutter speed or exposure time. The longer the shutter speed, the slower it is. Typical exposure times can range from one second to 1/1,000 of a second, though durations longer and shorter than this are not uncommon. In the early stages of photography, exposures were often several minutes long. These long exposure times often result in blurry images, as a single object is recorded in multiple places across a single image for the duration of the exposure. To prevent this, shorter exposure times can be used. Very short exposure times can capture fast-moving action and completely eliminate motion blur. Like aperture settings, exposure times increment in powers of two. The two settings determine the exposure value (EV), a measure of how much light is recorded during the exposure. There is a direct relationship between the exposure times and aperture settings so that if the exposure time is lengthened one step, but the aperture opening is also narrowed one step, the amount of light exposing the film or sensor is the same.


Metering

In most modern cameras, the amount of light entering the camera is measured using a built-in light meter or exposure meter. Taken through the lens (and so called metering), these readings are taken using a panel of semi-conductors that are sensitive to light. They are used to help calculate the best exposure settings. These settings are typically determined automatically as the reading is used by the camera's
microprocessor A microprocessor is a computer processor where the data processing logic and control is included on a single integrated circuit, or a small number of integrated circuits. The microprocessor contains the arithmetic, logic, and control circuitr ...

microprocessor
. The reading from the light meter is combined with aperture settings, exposure times, and film or sensor sensitivity to calculate the optimal exposure. Light meters typically average the light in a scene to 18% middle gray. More advanced cameras are more nuanced in their metering, weighing the center of the frame more heavily (center-weighted metering), considering the differences in light across the image (matrix metering), or allowing the photographer to take a light reading at a specific point within the image (spot metering).


Lens

The lens of a camera captures the light from the subject and brings it to a focus on the sensor. The design and manufacture of the lens is critical to the quality of the photograph being taken. The technological revolution in camera design in the 19th century revolutionized optical glass manufacture and lens design with great benefits for modern lens manufacture in a wide range of optical instruments from reading glasses to microscopes. Pioneers included
ZeissZeiss or Zeiß may refer to: People *Carl Zeiss Carl Zeiss (; 11 September 1816 – 3 December 1888) was a German scientific instrument maker, optician and businessman who founded the workshop of Carl Zeiss in 1846, which is still in busine ...
and Leitz. Camera lenses are made in a wide range of focal lengths. They range from extreme wide angle, and standard, medium
telephoto A telephoto lens, in photography Photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as p ...
. Lenses either have a fixed focal length (
prime lens Prime lenses have large apertures, compared with zoom lenses. These 85 mm lenses have maximum apertures of (left) and (right). In film and photography, a prime lens is a fixed focal length photographic lens A camera lens (also known as photog ...
) or a variable focal length (
zoom lens A zoom lens is a mechanical assembly of lens elements for which the focal length The focal length of an optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundam ...
). Each lens is best suited to a certain type of photography. The extreme wide angle may be preferred for architecture because it has the capacity to capture a wide view of a building. The normal lens, because it often has a wide aperture, is often used for street and documentary photography. The telephoto lens is useful for sports and wildlife but it is more susceptible to camera shake.


Focus

Due to the optical properties of a
photographic lens A camera lens (also known as photographic lens or photographic objective) is an optical lens or assembly of lenses used in conjunction with a camera body and mechanism to make images of objects either on photographic film Photographic film i ...
, only objects within a limited range of distances from the camera will be reproduced clearly. The process of adjusting this range is known as changing the camera's focus. There are various ways of focusing a camera accurately. The simplest cameras have
fixed focus Fixed may refer to: * ''Fixed'' (EP), EP by Nine Inch Nails * ''Fixed'', an upcoming 3D adult animated film directed by Genndy Tartakovsky * Fixed (typeface), a collection of monospace bitmap fonts that is distributed with the X Window System * F ...
and use a small aperture and wide-angle lens to ensure that everything within a certain range of distance from the lens, usually around 3 metres (10 ft) to infinity, is in reasonable focus. Fixed focus cameras are usually inexpensive types, such as single-use cameras. The camera can also have a limited focusing range or scale-focus that is indicated on the camera body. The user will guess or calculate the distance to the subject and adjust the focus accordingly. On some cameras this is indicated by symbols (head-and-shoulders; two people standing upright; one tree; mountains).
Rangefinder camera A rangefinder camera is a camera fitted with a rangefinder The rangefinding telemeter (or simply telemeter or rangefinder, depending on the context), is a device used to measure distances to remote objects, that is, a type of rangefinder. Th ...
s allow the distance to objects to be measured by means of a coupled parallax unit on top of the camera, allowing the focus to be set with accuracy. Single-lens reflex cameras allow the photographer to determine the focus and composition visually using the objective lens and a moving mirror to project the image onto a
ground glass Ground glass is glass whose surface has been ground to produce a flat but Gloss (material appearance)#Surface roughness, rough (Gloss (material appearance), matte) finish, in which the glass is in small sharp fragments. Ground glass surfaces have ...
or plastic micro-prism screen.
Twin-lens reflex camera A twin-lens reflex camera (TLR) is a type of camera A camera is an optical instrument used to capture an image An SAR radar imaging, radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour shows the Teide v ...

Twin-lens reflex camera
s use an objective lens and a focusing lens unit (usually identical to the objective lens.) in a parallel body for composition and focusing.
View camera A view camera is a large-format camera in which the lens forms an inverted image on a ground glass screen directly at the plane of the film. The image is viewed and then the glass screen is removed and the film inserted in its place, and thus the ...

View camera
s use a ground glass screen which is removed and replaced by either a photographic plate or a reusable holder containing
sheet film Sheet film is large format Large format refers to any imaging format of 9×12 cm (3-1/2x4-3/4 inch) or larger. Large format is larger than "medium format", the 6×6 cm (2¼×2¼ inch) or 6×9 cm (2¼×3½ inch) size of Hassel ...
before exposure. Modern cameras often offer
autofocus An autofocus (or AF) system uses a , a and a to on an ally or manually selected point or area. An has a display instead of the motor; the adjustment of the optical system has to be done manually until indication. Autofocus methods are distin ...
systems to focus the camera automatically by a variety of methods. Some experimental cameras, for example the planar Fourier capture array (PFCA), do not require focusing to allow them to take pictures. In conventional digital photography, lenses or mirrors map all of the light originating from a single point of an in-focus object to a single point at the sensor plane. Each pixel thus relates an independent piece of information about the far-away scene. In contrast, a PFCA does not have a lens or mirror, but each pixel has an idiosyncratic pair of diffraction gratings above it, allowing each pixel to likewise relate an independent piece of information (specifically, one component of the 2D Fourier transform) about the far-away scene. Together, complete scene information is captured and images can be reconstructed by computation. Some cameras have post focusing. Post focusing means take the pictures first and then focusing later at the personal computer. The camera uses many tiny lenses on the sensor to capture light from every
camera angle The camera angle marks the specific location at which the movie camera A movie camera (also film camera and cine-camera) is a type of photographic camera that rapidly takes a sequence of photographs, either on an image sensor An image sensor or ...
of a scene and is called plenoptics technology. A current
plenoptic camera A light field camera, also known as plenoptic camera, captures information about the light field emanating from a scene; that is, the intensity of light in a scene, and also the direction that the light rays are traveling in space. This contrasts ...
design has 40,000 lenses working together to grab the optimal picture.


Image capture on film

Traditional cameras capture light onto
photographic plate photographic plates, 1880 Image:Femme-au-chien neg.jpg, Negative plate Photographic plates preceded photographic film Photographic film is a strip or sheet of transparent film base coated on one side with a gelatin photographic emulsion, emu ...
or photographic film. Video and digital cameras use an electronic image sensor, usually a
charge-coupled device imaging A charge-coupled device (CCD) is an integrated circuit An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") ...
(CCD) or a
CMOS Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS, pronounced "see-moss"), also known as complementary-symmetry metal–oxide–semiconductor (COS-MOS), is a type of metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor The metal–oxide–sem ...
sensor to capture images which can be transferred or stored in a
memory card A memory card is an electronic used for storing digital information, typically using . These are commonly used in , such as s, s, computers, , s, s, s, s, s and s, and allow adding memory to such devices without compromising , as the card is us ...

memory card
or other storage inside the camera for later playback or processing. A wide range of film and plate formats have been used by cameras. In the early history plate sizes were often specific for the make and model of camera although there quickly developed some standardisation for the more popular cameras. The introduction of
roll filmImage:120 Film.jpg, A spool of Fujifilm-brand type 120 negative roll film Roll film or rollfilm is any type of spool-wound photographic film protected from Electromagnetic spectrum#Visible_radiation_.28light.29, white light exposure by a paper backin ...
drove the standardization process still further so that by the 1950s only a few standard roll films were in use. These included
120 film 120 is a film format A film format is a technical definition of a set of standard characteristics regarding image capture on photographic film, for either stills or filmmaking. It can also apply to projected film, either slides or movies. The p ...

120 film
providing 8, 12 or 16 exposures, 220 film providing 16 or 24 exposures, 127 film providing 8 or 12 exposures (principally in Brownie cameras) and 135 ( 35mm film) providing 12, 20 or 36 exposures – or up to 72 exposures in the half-frame format or in bulk cassettes for the Leica Camera range. For cine cameras, film 35 mm wide and perforated with sprocket holes was established as the standard format in the 1890s. It was used for nearly all film-based professional motion picture production. For amateur use, several smaller and therefore less expensive formats were introduced. 17.5 mm film, created by splitting 35 mm film, was one early amateur format, but 9.5 mm film, introduced in Europe in 1922, and
16 mm film 16 mm film is a historically popular and economical film gauge, gauge of Photographic film, film. 16 mm refers to the width of the film; other common film gauges include 8 mm film, 8 and 35mm movie film, 35 mm. It is generally used f ...
, introduced in the US in 1923, soon became the standards for "home movies" in their respective hemispheres. In 1932, the even more economical 8 mm format was created by doubling the number of perforations in 16 mm film, then splitting it, usually after exposure and processing. The
Super 8 Super 8 or Super Eight may refer to: Film * Super 8 film, a motion picture film format released in 1965 * Super 8 film camera, a motion picture camera used to film Super 8mm motion picture format * Super 8 (2011 film), ''Super 8'' (2011 film), a ...
format, still 8 mm wide but with smaller perforations to make room for substantially larger
film frame In filmmaking Filmmaking (film production) is the process by which a is . Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages, starting with an initial story, idea, or commission. It then continues through , , pre-production, shooti ...
s, was introduced in 1965.


Film speed

Traditionally used to "tell the camera" the
film speed Film speed is the measure of a photographic film Photographic film is a strip or sheet of transparent coated on one side with a containing microscopically small light-sensitive crystals. The sizes and other characteristics of the cryst ...
of the selected film on film cameras, film speed numbers are employed on modern digital cameras as an indication of the system's ''
gain Gain or GAIN may refer to: Science and technology * Gain (electronics) In , gain is a measure of the ability of a (often an ) to increase the or of a from the input to the output port by adding energy converted from some to the signal. ...
'' from light to numerical output and to control the automatic exposure system. Film speed is usually measured via the
ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task w ...
system. The higher the film speed number the greater the film sensitivity to light, whereas with a lower number, the film is less sensitive to light.


White balance

On digital cameras, electronic compensation for the
color temperature The color temperature of a light source is the temperature Temperature ( ) is a physical quantity that expresses hot and cold. It is the manifestation of thermal energy Thermal radiation in visible light can be seen on this hot metal ...

color temperature
associated with a given set of lighting conditions, ensuring that white light is registered as such on the imaging chip and therefore that the colors in the frame will appear natural. On mechanical, film-based cameras, this function is served by the operator's choice of
film stock Film stock is an analog medium that is used for recording motion pictures A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting i ...
or with color correction filters. In addition to using white balance to register natural coloration of the image, photographers may employ white balance to aesthetic end, for example, white balancing to a blue object in order to obtain a warm color temperature.


Camera accessories


Flash

A flash, which provides a short burst of bright light during the exposure, is a commonly used artificial light source in photography. Most modern flash systems use a battery-powered high-voltage discharge through a gas-filled tube to generate bright light for a very short time (1/1,000 of a second or less). Many flash units measure the light reflected from the flash to help determine the appropriate duration of the flash. When the flash is attached directly to the camera—typically in a slot at the top of the camera (the flash shoe or hot shoe) or through a cable—activating the shutter on the camera triggers the flash, and the camera's internal light meter can help determine the duration of the flash.


Other accessories

Accessories for cameras are mainly for care, protection, special effects and functions. *
Lens hood In photography Photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film. I ...

Lens hood
: used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source to prevent glare and lens flare (see also matte box). * : covers and protects the lens during storage. *
Lens adapter In photography Photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film. ...

Lens adapter
: allows the use of lenses other than those for which the camera was designed. * Lens filters: allow artificial colors or change light density. * Lens extension tubes allow close focus in
macro photography Macro photography (or photomacrography or macrography, and sometimes macrophotography) is extreme close-up A close-up or closeup in filmmaking, television production, photography, still photography, and the comic strip medium is a type of sh ...

macro photography
. * Flash equipment: including light diffuser, mount and stand, reflector, soft box, trigger and cord. * Care and protection: including camera case and cover, maintenance tools, and screen protector. * Camera monitor: provides an off-camera view of the composition with a brighter and more colorful screen, and typically exposes more advanced tools such as framing guides, focus peaking, zebra stripes, s (oftentimes as an "RGB parade"), s and
false color False color (or pseudo color) refers to a group of color Color (American English) or colour (Commonwealth English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property corresponding in humans to the categories call ...

false color
to highlight areas of the image critical to the photographer. * Large format cameras use special equipment which includes magnifier loupe, view finder, angle finder, focusing rail /truck. * Battery and sometimes a charger. * Some professional SLR could be provided with interchangeable for eye-level or waist-level focusing,
focusing screen Image:SLR cross section.svg, 250px, Location of focusing screen (5) in an Single lens reflex, SLR camera A focusing screen is a flat translucent material, either a ground glass or Fresnel lens, found in a system camera that allows the user of the ...
s, eye-cup, data backs, motor-drives for film transportation or external battery packs. *
Tripod A tripod is a portable three-legged frame or stand, used as a platform for supporting the weight In science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, test ...
, primarily used for keeping the camera steady while recording video, doing long exposure and timelapse photography. * Microscope adapter, an adapter used to connect a camera to a microscope to photograph what the microscope is examining. * Cable release, a remote shutter button that can be connected to the camera via a cable to remotely control the shutter, it can be used to lock the shutter open for a desired period of time. It is also commonly used to prevent camera shake from pressing the built in camera shutter button. *
Dew shield A dew shield is a device used to prevent moisture 150px, Dew on a spider web Moisture is the presence of a liquid, especially water, often in trace amounts. Small amounts of water may be found, for example, in the air (humidity Humidity is t ...
– Prevents moisture build up on the lens. *
UV filter UV filters are compounds, mixtures, or materials that block or absorb ultraviolet Ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fu ...
, Can protect the front element of a lens from scratches, cracks, smudges, dirt, dust and moisture while keeping a minimum impact on image quality.


Primary types


Single-lens reflex (SLR) camera

In photography, the single-lens reflex camera (SLR) is provided with a mirror to redirect light from the picture taking lens to the viewfinder prior to releasing the shutter for composing and focusing an image. When the shutter is released, the mirror swings up and away allowing the exposure of the and instantly returns after the exposure. No SLR camera before 1954 had this feature, although the mirror on some early SLR cameras was entirely operated by the force exerted on the shutter release and only returned when the finger pressure was released. The Asahiflex II, released by Japanese company in 1954, was the world's first SLR camera with an instant return mirror. In the single-lens reflex camera, the photographer sees the scene through the camera lens. This avoids the problem of
parallax Parallax is a displacement or difference in the apparent positionThe apparent place of an object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy), a thing, being, or concept ** Entity, something that is tangible and within the ...

parallax
which occurs when the viewfinder or viewing lens is separated from the taking lens. Single-lens reflex cameras have been made in several formats including sheet film 5x7" and 4x5", roll film 220/120 taking 8,10, 12 or 16 photographs on a 120 roll and twice that number of a 220 film. These correspond to 6x9, 6x7, 6x6 and 6x4.5 respectively (all dimensions in cm). Notable manufacturers of large format and roll film SLR cameras include
Bronica Bronica also Zenza Bronica (in Japanese: ) was a Japanese manufacturer of classic medium-format . Medium-format film lacks the sprocket holes of 35 mm film. Medium format has traditionally referred to a film format in photography and the ...
,
Graflex Graflex was a manufacturer Manufacturing is the creation or production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, ...
,
Hasselblad Victor Hasselblad AB is a Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the offi ...

Hasselblad
,
Mamiya is a Japanese company that manufactures high-end cameras and other related photographic and optical equipment. With headquarters in Tokyo, it has two manufacturing plants and a workforce of over 200 people. The company was founded in May 1940 b ...
, and Pentax. However the most common format of SLR cameras has been 35 mm and subsequently the migration to
digital SLR A digital single-lens reflex camera (digital SLR or DSLR) is a digital camera A digital camera is a camera that captures photographs in digital memory. Most cameras produced today are digital, largely replacing those that capture images on pho ...
cameras, using almost identical sized bodies and sometimes using the same lens systems. Almost all SLR cameras use a front surfaced mirror in the optical path to direct the light from the lens via a viewing screen and
pentaprism A pentaprism is a five-sided reflecting prism A prism An optical prism is a transparent optics, optical element with flat, polished surfaces that refraction, refract light. At least one surface must be angled—elements with two parallel sur ...

pentaprism
to the eyepiece. At the time of exposure the mirror is flipped up out of the light path before the shutter opens. Some early cameras experimented with other methods of providing through-the-lens viewing, including the use of a semi-transparent pellicle as in the
Canon Canon or Canons may refer to: Places * Canon, Georgia Canon is a city in Franklin County, Georgia, Franklin and Hart County, Georgia, Hart counties in the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. The population was 804 at the 2010 census. His ...
''Pellix'' and others with a small periscope such as in the Corfield Periflex series.


Large-format camera

The large-format camera, taking sheet film, is a direct successor of the early plate cameras and remained in use for high quality photography and for technical, architectural and industrial photography. There are three common types, the view camera with its
monorail A monorail is a railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles inclu ...
and
field camera Foldable 8,5×15” Vageeswari Camera Image:Linhof img 1876.jpg, Linhof Technika IV Field camera A field camera is a view camera that can be folded in a compact size. Modern designs are little different from the first folding field cameras from the ...
variants, and the
press camera A press camera is a or that was predominantly used by press photographers in the early to mid-20th century. It was largely replaced for by cameras in the 1960s, and subsequently, by digital cameras. The quintessential press camera was the . ...
. They have an extensible bellows with the lens and shutter mounted on a lens plate at the front. Backs taking rollfilm, and later
digital back A digital camera back is a device that attaches to the back of a camera in place of the traditional negative film holder A film holder is a device that holds one or more pieces of photographic Photography is the art, application, and practi ...
s are available in addition to the standard dark slide back. These cameras have a wide range of movements allowing very close control of focus and perspective. Composition and focusing is done on view cameras by viewing a ground-glass screen which is replaced by the film to make the exposure; they are suitable for static subjects only, and are slow to use.


Plate camera

The earliest cameras produced in significant numbers were ''plate cameras'', using sensitized glass plates. Light entered a lens mounted on a lens board which was separated from the plate by an extendible bellows.There were simple box cameras for glass plates but also single-lens reflex cameras with interchangeable lenses and even for color photography ( Autochrome Lumière). Many of these cameras had controls to raise or lower the lens and to tilt it forwards or backwards to control perspective. Focusing of these plate cameras was by the use of a ground glass screen at the point of focus. Because
lens design Optical lens design is the process of designing a lens A lens is a transmissive optical device that focuses or disperses a light beam by means of refraction. A simple lens consists of a single piece of transparent material, while a comp ...
only allowed rather small aperture lenses, the image on the ground glass screen was faint and most photographers had a dark cloth to cover their heads to allow focusing and composition to be carried out more easily. When focus and composition were satisfactory, the ground glass screen was removed and a sensitized plate put in its place protected by a dark slide. To make the exposure, the dark slide was carefully slid out and the shutter opened and then closed and the dark slide replaced. Glass plates were later replaced by sheet film in a dark slide for sheet film; adapter sleeves were made to allow sheet film to be used in plate holders. In addition to the ground glass, a simple optical viewfinder was often fitted.


Medium-format camera

Medium-format cameras have a film size between the large-format cameras and smaller 35 mm cameras. Typically these systems use 120 or 220 rollfilm. The most common image sizes are 6×4.5 cm, 6×6 cm and 6×7 cm; the older 6×9 cm is rarely used. The designs of this kind of camera show greater variation than their larger brethren, ranging from monorail systems through the classic Hasselblad model with separate backs, to smaller rangefinder cameras. There are even compact amateur cameras available in this format.


Twin-lens reflex camera

Twin-lens reflex cameras used a pair of nearly identical lenses, one to form the image and one as a viewfinder. The lenses were arranged with the viewing lens immediately above the taking lens. The viewing lens projects an image onto a viewing screen which can be seen from above. Some manufacturers such as Mamiya also provided a reflex head to attach to the viewing screen to allow the camera to be held to the eye when in use. The advantage of a TLR was that it could be easily focussed using the viewing screen and that under most circumstances the view seen in the viewing screen was identical to that recorded on film. At close distances however, parallax errors were encountered and some cameras also included an indicator to show what part of the composition would be excluded. Some TLR had interchangeable lenses but as these had to be paired lenses they were relatively heavy and did not provide the range of focal lengths that the SLR could support. Most TLRs used 120 or 220 film; some used the smaller 127 film.


Compact cameras


Instant camera

After exposure every photograph is taken through pinch rollers inside of the instant camera. Thereby the developer paste contained in the paper 'sandwich' distributes on the image. After a minute, the cover sheet just needs to be removed and one gets a single original positive image with a fixed format. With some systems it was also possible to create an instant image negative, from which then could be made copies in the photo lab. The ultimate development was the SX-70 system of Polaroid, in which a row of ten shots – engine driven – could be made without having to remove any cover sheets from the picture. There were instant cameras for a variety of formats, as well as adapters for instant film use in medium- and large-format cameras.


Subminiature camera

Cameras taking film significantly smaller than 35 mm were made. Subminiature cameras were first produced in the nineteenth century. The expensive 8×11 mm
Minox Minox (pronounced ) is a manufacturer of cameras, known especially for its subminiature camera. The first product to carry the Minox name was a subminiature camera, conceived in 1922, and finally invented and produced in 1936, by Baltic German ...

Minox
, the only type of camera produced by the company from 1937 to 1976, became very widely known and was often used for espionage (the Minox company later also produced larger cameras). Later inexpensive subminiatures were made for general use, some using rewound 16 mm cine film. Image quality with these small film sizes was limited.


Folding camera

The introduction of films enabled the existing designs for plate cameras to be made much smaller and for the base-plate to be hinged so that it could be folded up compressing the bellows. These designs were very compact and small models were dubbed ''vest pocket'' cameras. Folding rollfilm cameras were preceded by folding plate cameras, more compact than other designs.


Box camera

Box cameras were introduced as a budget level camera and had few if any controls. The original box Brownie models had a small reflex viewfinder mounted on the top of the camera and had no aperture or focusing controls and just a simple shutter. Later models such as the Brownie 127 had larger direct view optical viewfinders together with a curved film path to reduce the impact of deficiencies in the lens.


Rangefinder camera

As camera lens technology developed and wide aperture lenses became more common,
rangefinder The rangefinding telemeter (or simply telemeter or rangefinder, depending on the context), is a device used to measure distances to remote objects, that is, a type of rangefinder The rangefinding telemeter (or simply telemeter or range ...

rangefinder
cameras were introduced to make focusing more precise. Early rangefinders had two separate viewfinder windows, one of which is linked to the focusing mechanisms and moved right or left as the focusing ring is turned. The two separate images are brought together on a ground glass viewing screen. When vertical lines in the object being photographed meet exactly in the combined image, the object is in focus. A normal composition viewfinder is also provided. Later the viewfinder and rangefinder were combined. Many rangefinder cameras had
interchangeable lens A lens mount is an interface – mechanical and often also electrical – between a photographic camera A camera is an optical instrument used to capture an image An SAR radar imaging, radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar ...
es, each lens requiring its own range- and viewfinder linkages. Rangefinder cameras were produced in half- and full-frame 35 mm and rollfilm (medium format).


Motion picture cameras

A
movie camera A movie camera (also film camera and cine-camera) is a type of photographic camera that rapidly takes a sequence of photographs, either on an image sensor An image sensor or imager is a that detects and conveys information used to make an . It ...
or a
video camera A video camera is a camera A camera is an optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural ...

video camera
operates similarly to a still camera, except it records a series of static images in rapid succession, commonly at a rate of 24 frames per second. When the images are combined and displayed in order, the illusion of motion is achieved. Cameras that capture many images in sequence are known as movie cameras or as ciné cameras in Europe; those designed for single images are still cameras. However these categories overlap as still cameras are often used to capture moving images in
special effect Special effects (often abbreviated as SFX, SPFX, F/X or simply FX) are illusions or visual tricks used in the theatre, film, television, video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or inpu ...
s work and many modern cameras can quickly switch between still and motion recording modes. A ciné camera or movie camera takes a rapid sequence of photographs on image sensor or strips of film. In contrast to a still camera, which captures a single snapshot at a time, the ciné camera takes a series of images, each called a "frame" through the use of an intermittent mechanism. The frames are later played back in a ciné projector at a specific speed, called the "frame rate" (number of frames per second). While viewing, a person's eyes and brain merge the separate pictures to create the illusion of motion. The first ciné camera was built around 1888 and by 1890 several types were being manufactured. The standard film size for ciné cameras was quickly established as 35mm film and this remained in use until transition to digital cinematography. Other professional standard formats include
70 mm film 70 mm film (or 65 mm film) is a wide high-resolution film gauge for motion picture photography, with negative area nearly 3.5 times as large as the standard 35 mm movie film, 35 mm List of film formats, motion picture film format. As ...
and 16 mm film whilst amateurs film makers used 9.5 mm film, 8 mm film or Standard 8 and Super 8 before the move into digital format. The size and complexity of ciné cameras varies greatly depending on the uses required of the camera. Some professional equipment is very large and too heavy to be hand held whilst some amateur cameras were designed to be very small and light for single-handed operation.


Professional video camera

A professional video camera (often called a television camera even though the use has spread beyond television) is a high-end device for creating electronic moving images (as opposed to a movie camera, that earlier recorded the images on
film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, ...
). Originally developed for use in television studios, they are now also used for music videos,
direct-to-video Direct-to-video or straight-to-video refers to the release Release may refer to: * Film release, the public distribution of a film * Legal release, a legal instrument * News release, a communication directed at the news media * Release (ISUP), a ...
movies, corporate and educational videos, marriage videos etc. These cameras earlier used
vacuum tubes A vacuum tube, electron tube, valve (British usage), or tube (North America), is a device that controls electric current flow in a high vacuum between electrodes to which an electric voltage, potential difference has been applied. The type kn ...
and later electronic
image sensors An image sensor or imager is a sensor that detects and conveys information used to make an image. It does so by converting the variable attenuation of light waves (as they refraction, pass through or reflection (physics), reflect off objects) int ...
.


Camcorders

A camcorder is an electronic device combining a video camera and a video recorder. Although marketing materials may use the colloquial term "camcorder", the name on the package and manual is often "video camera recorder". Most devices capable of recording video are camera phones and digital cameras primarily intended for still pictures; the term "camcorder" is used to describe a portable, self-contained device, with video capture and recording its primary function.


Digital camera

A digital camera (or digicam) is a camera that encodes
digital image A digital image is an image An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment (biophysical), environment through photopic vision (day ...
s and videos digitally and stores them for later reproduction. They typically use semiconductor image sensors. Most cameras sold today are digital, and digital cameras are incorporated into many devices ranging from mobile phones (called
camera phone A camera phone is a mobile phone A mobile phone, cellular phone, cell phone, cellphone, handphone, or hand phone, sometimes shortened to simply mobile, cell or just phone, is a portable telephone A telephone is a telecommunicati ...
s) to vehicles. Digital and film cameras share an optical system, typically using a lens with a variable diaphragm to focus light onto an image pickup device. The diaphragm and shutter admit the correct amount of light to the imager, just as with film but the image pickup device is electronic rather than chemical. However, unlike film cameras, digital cameras can display images on a screen immediately after being recorded, and store and delete images from
memory Memory is the faculty of the brain A brain is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exis ...
. Most digital cameras can also record moving videos with
sound In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular ...
. Some digital cameras can
crop A crop is a plant that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. Crops may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more refined state. Most crops are cultivated in agriculture Agriculture is th ...
and stitch pictures and perform other elementary
image editing Image editing encompasses the processes of altering images, whether they are Digital photography, digital photographs, traditional Photographic processing, photo-chemical photographs, or illustrations. Traditional analog image editing is kno ...
. Consumers adopted digital cameras in the 1990s. Professional video cameras transitioned to digital around the 2000s–2010s. Finally movie cameras transitioned to digital in the 2010s. The first camera using digital electronics to capture and store images was developed by Kodak engineer Steven Sasson in 1975. He used a charge-coupled device (CCD) provided by
Fairchild Semiconductor Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc. was an American semiconductor A semiconductor material has an electrical conductivity Electrical resistivity (also called specific electrical resistance or volume resistivity) is a fundamental pr ...
, which provided only 0.01 megapixels to capture images. Sasson combined the CCD device with movie camera parts to create a digital camera that saved black and white images onto a
cassette tape The Compact Cassette or Musicassette (MC), also commonly called the tape cassette, cassette tape, audio cassette, or simply tape or cassette, is an analog magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for , made of a thin, magnetizable coating ...

cassette tape
.The images were then read from the cassette and viewed on a TV monitor. Later, cassette tapes were replaced by flash memory. In 1986, Japanese company
Nikon (, ; ), also known just as Nikon, is a Japanese multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Lega ...

Nikon
introduced an analog-recording electronic single-lens reflex camera, the Nikon SVC. The first
full-frame digital SLR A full-frame DSLR is a digital single-lens reflex camera A digital single-lens reflex camera (digital SLR or DSLR) is a digital camera A digital camera is a camera that captures photographs in digital memory. Most cameras produced today ar ...
cameras were developed in Japan from around 2000 to 2002: the MZ-D by Pentax, the N Digital by
Contax , 1936 Contax S of 1949 Contax (stylised as CONTAX in the Kyocera era) began as a camera model in the Zeiss Ikon line in 1932, and later became a brand name. The early cameras were among the finest in the world, typically featuring high quality ...
's Japanese R6D team, and the EOS-1Ds by
Canon Canon or Canons may refer to: Places * Canon, Georgia Canon is a city in Franklin County, Georgia, Franklin and Hart County, Georgia, Hart counties in the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. The population was 804 at the 2010 census. His ...
. Gradually in the 2000s, the full-frame DSLR became the dominant camera type for professional photography. On most digital cameras a display, often a
liquid crystal display A liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a flat-panel display A flat-panel display (FPD) is an electronic display device s, LED display and Vacuum fluorescent display, VF display, top to bottom. A display device is an output device for presentation ...
(LCD), permits the user to view the scene to be recorded and settings such as
ISO speed Film speed is the measure of a photographic film's photosensitivity, sensitivity to light, determined by sensitometry and measured on #Film, various numerical scales, the most recent being the #ISO, ISO system. A closely related ISO system is us ...
, exposure, and shutter speed.


Camera phone

In 2000,
Sharp Sharp or SHARP may refer to: Short for *Self Help Addiction Recovery Program, a charitable organisation founded in 1991 by Barbara Bach and Pattie Boyd *Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention, a US Army program dealing with sexual ha ...
introduced the world's first digital camera phone, the
J-SH04 The J-SH04 was a mobile phone A mobile phone, cellular phone, cell phone, cellphone, handphone, or hand phone, sometimes shortened to simply mobile, cell or just phone, is a portable telephone A telephone is a telecommunications de ...
J-Phone is a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = ...
, in Japan. By the mid-2000s, higher-end
cell phones A mobile phone, cellular phone, cell phone, cellphone, handphone, or hand phone, sometimes shortened to simply mobile, cell or just phone, is a portable telephone that can make and receive telephone call, calls over a radio frequency link wh ...

cell phones
had an integrated digital camera. By the beginning of the 2010s, almost all
smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can per ...

smartphone
s had an integrated digital camera.


See also

*
Camera matrix In computer vision a camera matrix or (camera) projection matrix is a 3 \times 4 matrix Matrix or MATRIX may refer to: Science and mathematics * Matrix (mathematics), a rectangular array of numbers, symbols, or expressions * Matrix (logic), part ...
* History of the camera * * List of camera types *
Timeline of historic inventions The timeline of historic inventions is a chronological list of particularly important or significant technological invention An invention is a unique or novel device, method, composition or process. The invention process is a process withi ...


Footnotes


References


Further reading

* * * * * * * * *


External links

*
How camera works at How stuff works.
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Cameras A camera is an optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and t ...
Photography equipment Optical devices