The Modern Camera: A Normative Critique
A camera is an optical instrument used to record images. At their most basic, cameras are sealed boxes  with a small hole  that allow light in to capture an image on a light-sensitive surface . Cameras have various mechanisms to control how the light falls onto the light-sensitive surface. Lenses 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, photographic printing. The similar artistic fields in the moving image camera domain are film, videography, and cinematography.
The word camera comes from 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 photons, usually from the visible spectrum for human viewing, but in general could also be from other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
All cameras use the same basic design: light enters an enclosed box through a converging or convex lens and an image is recorded on a light-sensitive medium . 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 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.
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.
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.

Focus     
Due to the optical properties of photographic lenses, 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 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  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 .
Rangefinder cameras 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 or plastic micro-prism screen. Twin-lens reflex cameras use an objective lens and a focusing lens unit  in a parallel body for composition and focusing. View cameras use a ground glass screen which is removed and replaced by either a photographic plate or a reusable holder containing sheet film before exposure. Modern cameras often offer autofocus systems to focus the camera automatically by a variety of methods.
Some experimental cameras, for example the planar Fourier capture array, 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  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 of a scene and is called plenoptics technology. A current plenoptic camera design has 40,000 lenses working together to grab the optimal picture.
Image capture on film    

Traditional cameras capture light onto photographic plate or photographic film. Video and digital cameras use an electronic image sensor, usually a charge-coupled device  or a CMOS sensor to capture images which can be transferred or stored in a 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 film drove the standardization process still further so that by the 1950s only a few standard roll films were in use. These included 120 film providing 8, 12 or 16 exposures, 220 film providing 16 or 24 exposures, 127 film providing 8 or 12 exposures  and 135  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, 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 format, still 8 mm wide but with smaller perforations to make room for substantially larger film frames, was introduced in 1965.


Film speed     
Traditionally used to "tell the camera" the film speed of the selected film on film cameras, film speed numbers are employed on modern digital cameras as an indication of the system's gain from light to numerical output and to control the automatic exposure system. Film speed is usually measured via the ISO 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 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 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 . The Asahiflex II, released by Japanese company Asahi  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 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 . Notable manufacturers of large format and roll film SLR cameras include Bronica, Graflex, Hasselblad, Mamiya, and Pentax. However the most common format of SLR cameras has been 35 mm and subsequently the migration to digital SLR 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 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 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 and field camera variants, and the press camera. They have an extensible bellows with the lens and shutter mounted on a lens plate at the front. Backs taking rollfilm, and later digital backs 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 used sensitised glass plates were plate cameras. 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 . 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 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 focussing and composition to be carried out more easily. When focus and composition were satisfactory, the ground glass screen was removed and a sensitised 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; adaptor 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, the only type of camera produced by the company from 1937 to 1976, became very widely known and was often used for espionage . 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 a lens technology developed and wide aperture lenses became more common, 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 lenses, each lens requiring its own range- and viewfinder linkages.
Rangefinder cameras were produced in half- and full-frame 35 mm and rollfilm .
Motion picture cameras    
A movie camera or a 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 effects 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" . 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 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  is a high-end device for creating electronic moving images . Originally developed for use in television studios, they are now also used for music videos, direct-to-video movies, corporate and educational videos, marriage videos etc.
These cameras earlier used vacuum tubes and later electronic image sensors.

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  is a camera that encodes digital images 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  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. Most digital cameras can also record moving videos with sound. Some digital cameras can crop and stitch pictures and perform other elementary image editing.
Consumers adopted digital cameras in 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  provided by Fairchild Semiconductor, 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 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 introduced an analog-recording electronic single-lens reflex camera, the Nikon SVC.
The first full-frame digital SLR cameras were developed in Japan from around 2000 to 2002: the MZ-D by Pentax, the N Digital by Contax's Japanese R6D team, and the EOS-1Ds by Canon. 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, permits the user to view the scene to be recorded and settings such as ISO speed, exposure, and shutter speed.
Camera phone     
In 2000, Sharp introduced the world's first digital camera phone, the J-SH04 J-Phone, in Japan. By the mid-2000s, higher-end cell phones had an integrated digital camera. By the beginning of the 2010s, almost all smartphones had an integrated digital camera.
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