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The Physics of Pinhole Cameras

Physics fourth quarter project

Corinne Murphy

on 17 May 2011

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Transcript of The Physics of Pinhole Cameras

Pinhole Cameras Definition "A camera which has no lenses, but consists essentially of a darkened box with a small hole in one side, so that an inverted image of outside objects is projected on the opposite side where it is recorded on photographic film." How does it work? Up to a certain point, the smaller the hole, the sharper the image, but the dimmer the projected image. The size of the aperture should be 1/100 or less of the distance between it and the projected image. A pinhole camera requires a lengthy exposure, so its shutter may be manually operated, as with a flap of light-proof material to cover and uncover the pinhole. Typical exposures range from 5 seconds to several hours. The pinhole in a pinhole camera acts as the lens. The pinhole forces every point emitting light in the scene to form a small point on the film, so the image is crisp. Exposing Images The film records the image that comes in through the pinhole. The camera records an in-focus image of the scene that you point the camera at. Sharpness of Images Comparison to Real Cameras The reason a normal camera uses a lens rather than a pinhole is because the lens creates a much larger hole through which light can make it onto the film, meaning the film can be exposed faster. Camera Optics Because the aperture is so small, from each point on the object, only one ray of light may pass through and then move on to the film. Thus there is a one-to-one correspondence between points on the film and points on the object. If you change the distance from the pinhole to the film, the image size of a given object is affected. If by accident more than one pinhole is opened, multiple images are formed, one from each pinhole. A very interesting phenomenon occurs if a lens of the correct focal length is inserted between the pinholes and the film: The multiple images become a single image.
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