A camera is an optical instrument for capturing or recording images. The images may be individual still photographs or sequences of images constituting movies or videos. The word camera comes from camera obscura, which means “dark chamber” and is the Latin name of the original device for projecting an image of external reality onto a flat surface.
The functioning of the camera is very similar to the functioning of the human eye. The first permanent photograph was made in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.
A digital camera or digicam is a camera that captures photographs in digital memory. Most cameras produced today are digital, and while there are still compact cameras on the market, the use of dedicated digital cameras is dwindling, as digital cameras are now incorporated into many devices ranging from mobile devices to vehicles. However, high-end, high-definition dedicated cameras are still commonly used by professionals.
Digital and movie cameras share an optical system, typically using a lens with a variable diaphragm to focus light onto an image pickup device. The diaphragm and shutter admit the correct amount of light to the imager, just as with film but the image pickup device is electronic rather than chemical. However, unlike film cameras, digital cameras can display images on a screen immediately after being recorded, and store and delete images from memory. Many digital cameras can also record moving videos with sound. Some digital cameras can crop and stitch pictures and perform other elementary image editing.
A camera works with the light of the visible spectrum or with other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. A still camera is an optical device which creates a single image of an object or scene and records it on an electronic sensor or photographic film. All cameras use the same basic design: light enters an enclosed box through a converging/convex lens and an image is recorded on a light-sensitive medium (mainly a transition metal-halide). A shutter mechanism controls the length of time that light can enter the camera.
Most photographic cameras have functions that allow a person to view the scene to be recorded, allow for a desired part of the scene to be in focus, and to control the exposure so that it is not too bright or too dim. A display, often a liquid crystal display (LCD), permits the user to view the scene to be recorded and settings such as ISO speed, exposure, and shutter speed.