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Question:
How does a camera work? For example, how does the picture get transferred to the film?



Replies:
Well, there are basically 2 parts to the problem: first making an image, and second recording the image. To make the image, you need to use lenses, and fancier cameras have fancier lense systems to get better images. To actually get an image where the film is, the lenses take the incoming light and focus it there. The science of forming images like this is called "optics". To record the image, all ordinary cameras use film, which contains chemicals that change their nature when exposed to light. These chemicals are on such tiny grains that you can have to blow up a picture many times to see the "graininess". A recent development is to use sensitive electronic devices to record the image, rather than chemicals deposited on a film. I think Kodak's disk camera does this, and the procedure is also used on many astronomical telescopes, and the pictures taken by space vehicles. I assume it is also what is used in modern video cameras, though I do not know much about them (they do not need such good resolution as still cameras anyway, but they need to take a lot of pictures quickly).

Arthur Smith



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