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Established 15,000 B.C.

Volume , December 1571.

First Pinhole
Camera Obscura

Gemma Frisius, an astronomer, used the pinhole in his darkened room to study the solar eclipse of 1544. He described it along with a description in his 'De Radio Astronomica et Geometrica' (1545). The first picture of a pinhole camera obscura is a drawing in this publilcation. The very term camera obscura ("dark room") was coined by Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). At his time, the term had come to mean a room, tent or box with a lens aperture used by artists to draw a landscape. The lens made the image brighter and focused at a certain distance. Thus this type of camera differed from the pinhole camera obscura used by Frisius in 1544. In the 1620s Johannes Kepler invented a portable camera obscura. Camera obscuras as drawing aids were soon found in many shapes and sizes. They were used by both artists and amateur painters.

Reinerus Gemma-Frisius's illustration of the solar eclipse he observed in Louvain on January 24, 1544. He published 'De Radio Astronomica Et Geometrico' the next year. This pinhole camera drawing is an excellent illustration of a camera obscura and the workings of a pinhole image. The inverted image of the sun and moon is clearly visible on the wall of the camera.
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