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Similarities between the Camera and the Eye

Updated on June 19, 2013
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A camera and the human eye have much in common, far more than just the ability to capture images. Cameras are made in ways that are similar to the ways in which an eye functions giving then the name, robotic eye. It starts off with the basic, visual features. A camera and an eye are both capable of viewing different tones of grey and various shades of other colours. They are also both capable of seeing near and far, judging the size of different things, registering depth and capturing movement. The only drawback the human eye has is that it is only capable of seeing images in visible light. Special, infrared cameras can capture images far beyond what the eye can do. This is evident in x-rays, stop motion and night-vision cameras. Cameras can also view objects at extreme distances such as planets. They can also zoom in down to the smallest of thing so that they can capture images of particles.

When light passes through the lens and cornea, it is focused in the back portion of the eye. This light beam is shone on the patch of ‘photoreceptors’ which make up the retina. The retina changes the physical light energy into electrical pulses. This energy is then transmitted through the back of your eyes and into the brain. The brain then deciphers the electrical impulses it has been sent and pieces pictures of what we are seeing, together. As described below, all of these parts of the eye have some relation with a camera, and this is how cameras are able to produce and capture images.

The cornea of the eye is the frontal, transparent surface of the eye; it is very similar to the lens of a camera. They both sit and the front of the body, are both transparent and have a spherical curvature. The purpose of this spherical curvature is to allow the cornea and the lens view the left and right, not just straight ahead.

Another similarity they possess is with the eye’s iris and the camera’s aperture. The size of a camera’s aperture refers to the amount of light is let into the camera to be reflected onto the sensor, or in old days, film. The iris performs a similar job, letting different amounts of light in depending on the size of the pupil. The size of the aperture and iris both change depending on lighting conditions.

Both the eye and the camera are able to focus on single objects whilst blurring the rest, regardless of if this object is in the foreground or the background. Both can focus on large images and capture large scapes. They also both have their shared disadvantages. The have limited an ability to capture a large scope, but a camera has a function which allows it to change the focal lens, but the eye does not have this ability. The retina of the eye and the film of a camera perform similar functions. While the eyes retina collects reflected light from the surrounding environment the film or digital sensors in a camera do the same thing. Both cameras and our eyes receive images upside down. However these faults are corrected by the brain (eye) and when the picture is digitally formatted or processed (camera).

As you can see, the functioning of a camera and the eye is very similar. They both are complicated and have similarities such as receiving images upside down, functions that alter the light entering the eye/camera and most importantly, the ability to capture images.

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