Watch our video to learn how to create a camera obscura.
Items you'll need are:
- Cardboard box
- Sticky tape
- Magnifying glass
- Tracing paper
Science behind the experiment
Camera obscura is Latin for “Dark Room” and they have existed for over three thousand years in various forms. These cameras work in a very simple way, a light source enters through a hole and is focused on the opposite wall.
Light travels in a straight line so the image is upside-down. The size of the hole will also have an effect on the picture, a small hole produces a sharp clear image, but won’t be as bright, a larger hole produces a brighter image but less focussed.
A lens will have a fixed focal length, by moving the viewing surface (your tracing paper) you can make the image bright and clear!
- Camera Obscure – Latin for ‘dark room’
- Light Source – A source of light makes light, the Sun is our most important light source but other examples are candles, mobile phones, torches and glow-worms.
- Lens – An optical device that focuses or disperses a light beam, there are two types of lens – concave and convex.
Activities and Questions
Do you have different magnifying glasses? Swap them around and see how the focus point will change.
Can you change the shape, try making a cylindrical camera obscura.
There are two types of camera obscura, a box that you see in our video, the other is a room where you are inside the camera looking at the image. Can you make a room in your house into a much bigger camera obscura?