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Chapter Three. How a Digital Camera Works > Lens to Imaging Sensor to Media

Lens to Imaging Sensor to Media

Photography—whether film or digital—is all about light. The light from the sun or an artificial source reflects off the scene in front of the lens, then passes through the lens to the back of the camera. This process is similar to the way light passes through the lens of our eye to the cones and rods at the back of the eye, and on to the optic nerves. It's when the light reaches the back of the camera that film and digital cameras start to work differently. If cameras could talk, digital cameras would probably complain about how much work they have to do compared to their film camera siblings.

With film photography the light that passes through the lens exposes the light-sensitive film. The film records the light through photo-molecular reactions that embed a latent (nonvisible) image in the film. The latent image becomes visible when the film is chemically processed and developed.


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