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The first photograph was an image produced in 1826 by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce on a polished pewter plate covered with a petroleum derivative called bitumen of Judea but for centuries images had been projected onto surfaces - artists used the camera obscura and camera lucida to trace scenes as early as the 16th century, and the optical properties of which had been described as early as the 4th Century BC by the Chinese philosopher Mozi. These early "cameras" did not fix an image, but only projected images from an opening in the wall of a darkened room onto a surface, turning the room into a large pinhole camera.

The advent of photography, from the Ancient Greek words φως phos ("light"), and γραφη graphê ("stylus", "paintbrush") or γραφω graphō (the verb, "I write/draw"), together meaning "drawing with light" or "representation by means of lines" or "drawing", has gained the interest of scientists and artists from its inception. Scientists have used photography to record and study movements, such as Eadweard Muybridge's study of human and animal locomotion (1887). Artists are equally interested in these aspects but also try to explore avenues other than the photo-mechanical representation of reality, such as the pictorialist movement. Military, police and security forces use photography for surveillance, recognition and data storage. Photography is used to preserve favorite memories and as a source of entertainment.

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Cumulus clouds panorama

Cumulus clouds, taken at Swifts Creek, in the Great Alps of East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. Photo Credit: Fir0002

Selected biography

Robert Capa (Budapest, October 22, 1913 – May 25, 1954) was possibly the most famous war photographer of the 20th century. He covered five different wars: the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II across Europe, the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and the First Indochina War. Capa documented the course of World War II in London, North Africa, Italy, the Battle of Normandy on Omaha Beach and the liberation of Paris.

Born in Hungary as Endre Ernő Friedmann, Capa left the country at an early age because of his political involvements with protestors against the fascist government. Capa originally wanted to be a writer. However, he first found work in photography in Berlin and grew to love the art.

Did you know

  • ...that the first real zoom lens, which retained near-sharp focus while the effective focal length of the lens assembly was changed, was patented in 1902 by Clile C. Allen (U.S. Patent 696,788)?

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Selected article

Slr-cross-section
The single-lens reflex (SLR) is a type of camera that uses a movable mirror placed between the lens and the film to project the image seen through the lens to a matte focusing screen. Most SLRs use a roof pentaprism or pentamirror to observe the image via an eyepiece, but there are also other finder arrangements, such as the waist-level finder or porro prisms.

Large format SLR cameras were first built in the early years of the 20th century. The Ihagee Kine-Exakta was the first 35 mm SLR and it was truly influential. Further Exakta models, all with waist-level finders, were produced up to and during World War II. Another ancestor of the modern SLR camera was the Swiss-made Alpa, which was innovative, and proved influential for the later Japanese cameras. The first solution for an eye-level viewfinder was patented in Hungary during the war,—more precisely, on August 23, 1943, by Jenő Dulovits. The first 35mm camera that had one implemented was the Duflex, designed by Dulovits. This camera utilised a system of mirrors to provide a laterally correct, upright image in the eye-level viewfinder. The Duflex, which went into serial production in 1948, was also the world's first SLR with an instant-return (a.k.a. autoreturn) mirror.

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