Device for recording an image of an object on a light-sensitive surface (see photography). It is essentially a light-tight box with an opening (aperture) to admit light focused onto a sensitized film or plate. All cameras have included five crucial components: (1) the camera box, which holds and protects the sensitive film from all light except that entering through the lens; (2) film, on which the image is recorded; (3) the light control, consisting of an aperture or diaphragm and a shutter, both often adjustable; (4) the lens, which focuses the light rays from the subject onto the film, creating the image; and (5) the viewing system, which may be separate from the lens system (usually above it) or may operate through it by means of a mirror. The camera was inspired by the camera obscura—a dark enclosure with an aperture (usually provided with a lens) through which light enters to form an image of outside objects on the opposite surface—and was developed by Nicephore Niepce and L.-J.-M. Daguerre in the early 19th century. See also digital camera.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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