The pinhole camera is one of the first cameras used in photography. It’s kind of weird because, unlike other cameras, you don’t need to wear lenses to take pictures. To explain it, images are projected onto the pinhole camera when light passes through a small hole in its box-shaped frame. According to Wikipedia.com, the small hole in the camera can focus light by directing it through a single point. This article will talk about its illustrious history.
First discoveries of the ancient Greeks
The history of pinhole cameras on Wikipedia.com says that the Greeks were already using these simple devices as early as 500 BC. C. It was a common belief that people could see because light rays bounced off the human eye. Wikipedia.com adds that they later discovered that seeing was actually an effect of light rays entering the eye, rather than bouncing off it. This important understanding led to a better understanding of how they work.
Mo Jing, a Mohist philosopher in 5th century China, was said to have studied and experimented with phenomena of images projected through a very small hole. Because of this, the Mohist philosopher was able to contribute to the development of the pinhole camera and burning mirrors used by the ancient Mohists. Much of the history of pinhole cameras revolves around key events in ancient China. In fact, Wikipedia.com also claims that Shen Huo, a Chinese scientist during the Song Dynasty, was able to establish the key geometric and quantitative concepts vital to the development of the pinhole camera today.
1000 to 1600 AD
The 10th century Muslim mathematician Ibn al-haytam is credited with inventing the first modern pinhole camera. Further advances were made in the camera when the Muslim mathematician realized that a smaller hole produced a sharper image.
In addition, the brilliant minds of Gemma Frisuis and Giambattista della Porta made more ideas and studies. These two published an article explaining why the images projected on the pinhole camera appeared upside down. Lynn Bryant, writing for a video surveillance website, said that Gemma Frisuis’ studies of a solar eclipse projected in a dark room was the first documented use of a pinhole camera in history.
1800 and beyond
Lynn Bryant also says that Sir David Brewster, a Scottish scientist, was the first to take pictures with the pinhole camera in the 1850s. Lynn Bryant also says that this simple camera was not considered a popular medium of photography, not until the 1960s. It may be due to the fact that photographers during the period preferred to take pictures with a conventional camera, rather than the pinhole camera.
The history of the pinhole camera dates back to the ancient Greeks, with advancements brought by the ancient Chinese and by brilliant scientists and philosophers in the late 20th century. His story, like the story of all ingenious things, is colorful, interesting, and utterly checkered, and it never fails to demonstrate just how great things can come from a simple idea.