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Just What Is A Pinhole Camera?

May 6, 2008
What is a pinhole camera? Well, a pinhole camera is the earliest and the most simple camera used in photography. What makes it special, though, is that, unlike most cameras, it can take pictures without the use of a lens. If you want to know what is a pinhole camera, read on. The article will talk about its history, how it works, and how it looks like.

What does A Pinhole Camera Look Like?

To answer the 'what is a pinhole camera?' question, you have to know what it looks like. You will certainly recognize a pinhole camera right away because it does not look like any conventional cameras. Depending on its size, it is a box-like figure with a small hole in it. When the shutter of the pinhole camera is opened, all the light beams that radiates from the object enters into the small hole and is projected into certain areas of the film. The film is mounted inside the box frame, opposite to the pinhole. Ordinary things such as oatmeal boxes, cereal boxes, and shoe boxes can be used as a box frame. A pin can be used to make the pinhole.

Who Invented the Pinhole Camera?

5th century Muslim mathematician Ibn al-Haytam invented the first pinhole camera, but it was Scottish scientist, Sir David Brewster, who took the first pictures using the pinhole camera in 1850. However, it did not enter the mainstream until the 1960s because, up to that time, people preferred to use the conventional cameras to take photographs. However, scientists such as Gemma Frisuis and Giambattista della Porta were intrigued by it, and they made studies and experiments to explain why such a simple device could actually take pictures. Gemma Frisius' study of a solar eclipse using a pinhole camera was ground-breaking and well-documented. In any event, its roots can be traced back to the time of the ancient Greeks. The Chinese also contributed important discoveries to forward the development of the pinhole camera.

How Does The Pinhole Camera Take Pictures?

We are capable of seeing objects because our eyes receive the light rays that radiate from them. That is the reason why we can't see anything in a darkened room because our eyes are not receiving any light from the objects around us. The pinhole camera works the same way. The interesting thing about it is that the smaller the pinhole is, the sharper the image becomes. The downside is that thinner light rays tend to bend more when they make contact with the film. As a result, the picture can be a bit fuzzy and blurry. Also, the image will appear inverted on the film. Don't worry though, you would have to put mirrors inside your pinhole camera if you want to correct the image perspective.

Do you now know what is a pinhole camera? How it works is simply amazing, isn't it? The pinhole camera has fascinated many photo enthusiasts and it has captured the imaginations of mathematicians, philosophers, and scientists both in the past and present. Knowing what is a pinhole camera is definitely an interesting thing.
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