How Do Cameras Work?


Anatomy of a Camera

  • The parts of the simplest possible camera are a dark box with a small hole or window and some photographic medium on the inside back wall for recording the image. For everyday cameras, the dark box is replaced by a camera body. The window--technically called the aperture--is covered with a ground-glass lens for focusing the light that enters the camera. Between the lens and the window is a shutter that opens to let light into the camera body. The photographic medium is the film on which the light image is recorded.

Light Is Focused by the Camera Lens

  • The shape of the lens determines how light will be focused. Some lenses are designed to focus on far-away objects. Other lenses are shaped to focus on close objects. Precise focusing is done by moving the lens closer to, or father from, the camera.

The Aperture Controls How Much Light Passes Into the Camera

  • A large aperture allows a lot of light to enter the camera and is good for low-light photography. But a large aperture also diminishes the range of focus, so the photographer must be precise in focusing. A small aperture lets less light into the camera, and is good for bright-light photography. A small aperture also broadens the range of focus so that the photographer has a greater margin of error in focusing. The aperture on most cameras can be adjusted so you get the best light exposure for your photograph.

The Shutter Controls How Long Light Is Allowed to Pass Into the Camera

  • The shutter opens briefly when you depress the camera shutter button The amount of time the shutter stays open is called the shutter speed. A faster shutter speed lets less light into the camera. Fast shutter speeds are good for action photography and bright-light photography. Slow shutter speeds are good for still life or low-light photography.

The Light Image is Captured on Film

  • While the shutter is open, the camera lens focuses light on the film at the back of the camera. The film reacts chemically to the light so that the image is recorded. A lever on the camera advances the film frame by frame until the entire roll of film is exposed. If the film is exposed to additional light after images are recorded, the original images will be obscured. This is why film is enclosed in light-proof cartridges until it is developed.

Developing Makes Film Stop Reacting to Light

  • Once the film has been exposed in the camera, it is rewound into its cartridge and removed for developing. Developing involves removing the film from the cartridge and exposing it to chemicals that stop the film from reacting to further light exposure. This process is done in complete darkness. Once the film is developed, it can safely be exposed to light and is ready for making photographic prints.

  • Photo Credit Ysabel Doran
Promoted By Zergnet



You May Also Like

  • How Do Cameras Work?

    Cameras work essentially by gathering just enough light into a dark space to reflect the image onto film to create a photograph....

  • How Do 3-D Cameras Work?

    3D cameras are actually a rig of two or more cameras that aim to capture images at the same speeds and angles...

  • How to Make a Pinhole Camera for Kids

    Pinhole cameras are a great craft to use in science class when you are ready to teach children about light, and how...

  • Instructions for the Crayola Camera

    The Sakar Crayola Kidz Digital Camera is designed for children 10 and up. The Crayola Camera, which runs on three AAA batteries,...

  • How Do Digital Cameras Work?

    Digital cameras work by allowing light to come through a lens opening, which then causes an electronic reaction from special sensors inside...

  • How a Compact Digital Camera Works

    Digital Cameras for Kids; How a Compact Digital Camera Works; ... I want to explain how the compact digital camera works as...

  • How to Make a Laptop Camera Work

    Many laptops come with built-in webcams. You may not even notice the camera, but it's usually a small lens on the top...

  • How Do Mobile Speed Camera Vans Work?

    Speed cameras detect vehicles going over the speed limit. The cameras then take a picture of the vehicles' license plates and send...

Read Article

Table-less Spring Entertaining: 10 Essentials for a Backyard Picnic With Friends

What's for Dinner, Pinner?
Get recipes based on your pins!