Do you like to take pictures? If you’re like most kids, the answer is probably “Yes!” Whether you use a digital camera or a smartphone camera, today’s technology allows you to document your daily life like never before.
Have you ever noticed something interesting about cameras, though? What shape is the camera lens? What shape are the pictures they produce? That’s right! Round lenses produce rectangular pictures! What’s up with that?
How does a round camera lens produce a rectangular picture?
This curiosity about cameras stems from the fact that the camera lens doesn’t produce the picture directly. Instead, the lens works in conjunction with another key part of the camera to produce the picture. In older cameras, that other key element is called film. In newer digital cameras, it’s known as the image sensor.
As light bounces off of an object you’re photographing, that light enters through the camera’s lens. The job of the lens is to bend that light and focus it onto the film or the image sensor.
Early camera makers quickly figured out that round lenses did the most efficient job of focusing light onto film. Could a lens be made into a different shape, such as a rectangle? Of course, lenses could be made in any shape, but camera pioneers figured out early on that round lenses created the best images on film.
So what about the film then?