Generally speaking, any device used to capture still or moving images, either on photographic film, magnetic videotape, or—increasingly—in digital form. Still cameras (some of which are popularly known as 35mm cameras) are commonly small, hand-held cameras used by professional or amateur photographers to take portraits of people, objects, or landscapes, news events, and other such subjects. Newer forms of still cameras fall under heading of digital cameras and electronic cameras, as they register images directly as digital information which can be output to a computer. (See Digital Camera and Digital Photography.)

Process cameras are large devices used for graphic arts photography and the preparation of color separations, line art and halftones for platemaking or other prepress functions. Some process cameras are also known as copy cameras (or stat cameras) especially when used to make enlargements or reductions of original art.

Several types of cameras are used for the filming or taping of moving images. A motion picture camera is used to register moving images on film for television broadcast or cinematic exhibition. Video cameras, like motion picture cameras, are used to capture moving images, but the images are captured directly on videotape, eliminating the need for development. Video cameras (which image either on H-inch VHS, I-inch, Super-8, or Hi-8 videotape, each of which has different levels of performance and image quality. Video cameras, especially those known as camcorders which feature the camera and playback device in the same lightweight unit, are popular for both professional and amateur image-gathering, given their ease of use, their portability, their lack of expense, and their ability to view captured images immediately after taping.

(See Photography.)

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