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Parts of the camera

There are only a few basic parts need to make a camera, and all cameras have these with varying degrees of sophistication.

1. We need a light tight box or container. In the case of the pinhole camera this could be a simple box, or in the case of a manufactured camera a compartment that is designed as an integral part of the camera.
2. We need somewhere to load the film. In the case of a simple pinhole camera or this view camera sheets of film are loaded separately, or as with a 35mm camera the film comes in the form of a roll that allows many shots.
3. We need a lens that lets light onto the film in a controlled manner. In the case of a simple pinhole camera this is a tiny pin hole, or with most other cameras this is a glass lens that redirects the rays of light from the subject back to the film.

4. We also need a means of controlling the length of time the light reaches the film. In the case of a simple pinhole camera this could be a piece of card we remove from over the lens opening and then replace, or with many modern cameras this is an electronic shutter that controls this time in a very precise way to from several seconds to thousandths of a second.

While we can take photographs with a camera that has these few parts, we can also add some refinements that will allow us more control over the images we make.

4. With the pinhole camera the size of the pinhole governs the amount of light entering the camera and apart from changing the pinhole we have no control. A variable aperture built into the lens will allow us to restrict the amount of light entering the camera when there is a great deal or open it up when there is very little.


5. As there is no glass lens with the pinhole camera the image has a sharpness that is equal across all subject distances. If we add a means of focusing the glass lens we can select the area we want in focus by changing the distance of this to the film.


6. With a simple pinhole camera it is difficult to see what image the camera is taking and it is a case of point and expose. But with manufactured cameras there is usually a means of lining the camera up with the view the photographer wants to take. There are many systems of viewfinder from direct vision to single lens reflex viewing that allows the photographer to see exactly what the camera sees.


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