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Science of Cameras

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Science of Cameras

The science behind cameras is very complex for modern cameras, but, if we look at an older camera, we can look at the basics needed to make a camera work. “SLR cameras, or single lens reflex cameras, provide an excellent illustration of the fundamental processes of photography.” (Harris, Tom) One of the main components of a camera, is the lens. The lens focuses the light rays to create the image. Light rays are made of small transverse waves. “Cameras use convex lenses, to create a real image, which is an image that looks just like the scene in front of the lens. Convex lenses converge light rays by using a phenomenon called refraction. Light travels faster in air than it does in glass, which is what the lens is made of, so the angle becomes smaller when they enter the lens, and this causes the light rays to converge.” (Harris, Tom) When the distance between the lens and the image increases, light beams spread out more. This causes the image to increase in size. To record the image, you use film.

Film is the chemical part of the camera. “When film is exposed to an image formed by the lens, it makes a chemical record of the light. This is done with light sensitive grains, that are spread out on a piece of plastic. These grains react with the light, which makes the chemical record.” (Harris, Tom) If the film is exposed to too much light or too little light, the image will turn out too bright or too dark. To prevent this from happening, we need to control the amount of light that enters a lens. To do this, you change the size of the aperture. The aperture lets light to the lens. If you make it smaller, less light can get to the lens, and the image won’t be as bright. The exposure can also be adjusted, by changing the speed of the shutter. Digital cameras are more complicated than this, with many more moving parts and electrical components.

Benefits & Limitations

Cameras, like security cameras, and others allow us to capture video and images. Security cameras allow us to capture images of criminals and catch them and arrest them much easier. This is a good thing, because we have less crime because of it. “Cameras are also used in medicine, to be able to see inside the body, without performing surgery, or making big cuts into the body. These cameras can show many issues wrong with the body, including identifying cancers, or other medical problems like that.” (AG, Basler) Cameras have many uses in the real world, that make peoples jobs easier, and make people’s lives easier. But, they also have negative effects too. “Cameras, like SLR ones that use film, are bad for the environment. They use many chemicals each time the film is developed, and then those chemicals can’t be used anymore. These chemicals end up in landfills or are dumped into rivers and the environment.” (Adams, Mike)

Also, the production of the casing of the cameras is bad for the environment, because these cameras are made of plastics, which are made of oil and can’t decompose. When people are done with the camera, they just throw it into the garbage, and this ends up staying there. “Digital cameras have a far less environmental impact than SLR cameras. Digital cameras can be used for far longer and aren’t using chemicals to develop pictures. The pictures you take are digital, so you don’t have to print them out and waste paper, you can just share them online. The batteries are rechargeable, so there aren’t many batteries going into landfill.” (Adams, Mike)

Interaction with a factor

In the last 5-10 years, a lot of people have been increasingly concerned about their security. People are scared people are spying on them through their computer cameras, or simply taking video without permission. Many people in the US believe that the NSA (National Security Agency) have been spying on them through phone and laptop cameras. “In Britain, it is estimated that there are up to 4.5 million CCTV cameras, which brings up the point, is it moral and ethical to invade someone’s privacy to catch criminals?” (Bennett, Neil) Though it does help to catch criminals and pick up on crime, is it worth all the people’s privacy you must invade. People are being recorded on the streets of London, and all of Britain, while they aren’t doing anything wrong.

In the US, people are being recorded while doing schoolwork or browsing the internet, which makes it feel like it is doing more harm than good. “However, CCTV in London has helped catch the suspects for the 7 July bombings in London or catch the killers of James Bulger. But, is it necessary to have 4.5 million security cameras all around Britain? These cameras are also used to catch parking violators, but these cameras can make mistakes. People say they parked a car with a disabled badge in the window and they incurred a fine because the camera couldn’t see the badge.” (Bennett, Neil) Cameras are being used for a lot of good things, but can also be used to invade someone’s privacy, or do worse things. The way cameras are being used by the NSA is not very ethical and moral, because they are infringing on the right to privacy, and doing so without permission. Cameras being used in the way they are being used in Britain is not as unethical as they are being used by the NSA, because there is some use to it, bit still kind of unethical, because people are being filmed without permission.

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