Pinhole Camera History – and Beyond
The pinhole camera history can be traced back to around the fourth century BC. Since then, the art of photography has undergone an evolution of a great magnitude.
And as a result, here we are, taking as many pictures as possible in a matter of a few seconds. All we have to do is point the camera to the subjects, ask them to say ’cheese’, and click! Voila, we have our photograph!
Well, things were not quite as simple a few centuries back. The story began with what we call ‘pinhole camera’. Read on to find out how it all started.
The pinhole camera functions on the principle of the rectilinear propagation of light. If there is no light, there is no photography. In fact the Greeks have written books in the 4th century BC on how this pinhole-feature occurs naturally. If you have seen wicker baskets, you can notice how sun rays penetrate the slits of the baskets. Also the rays of the sun penetrate gaps in trees and foliage.
This and other examples go on to prove that phenomenon of photography is timeless – it perhaps came into existence when light did. We only discovered it later on.
The actual term “pin-hole” was used by Sir David Brewster, which was published in his book “The Stereoscope” in 1856. He was a Scottish scientist. Even before then, in the 1500s, Johannes Kepler coined the term ‘camera obsura’ referring to the pinhole camera.
Then, however, this was not a camera in itself – it was not portable. Rather it was a dark room, sealed completely, except for a small hole to allow light rays to enter. This setup was usually made to study the phenomenon of solar eclipse etc. Records have also shown that artists made use of this camera obsura to paint their landscapes.
Leonardo da Vinci, the great artist is believed to have explained the features of the pinhole camera in the 1400s in his books. During this time, the pinhole structure was basically used for scientific and astronomical purposes.
When pictures were taken using the pinhole camera, it was found that the images were not very sharp and seemed blurred and softened.
The sharpness of the image is generally determined by the diameter of the hole. Also, the exposure required was long. Since these were times before the invention of light sensitive film, it was sometimes even hours together before one could obtain a picture; also, capturing a moving object was very difficult.
The main difference between a pinhole camera and those being used today is the absence of lens. It was not until the 1960s that the pinhole camera was used in the fields of science and photography.
Now that you are aware of the pinhole camera history, you can learn the construction of the pinhole camera. It is so simple that even you can do it at home. It is interesting and a lot of fun. Click here to learn how to make a pinhole camera that works!