how the Serger Machine and Embroidery Machine Work

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Professor Hannibal
ET 110
20 May 2017
The Technology of the Modern Cameras
Whether during an occasion, a family picnic, or a disaster, most of the events are
recorded and photographed by professional photographers and videographers or by ordinary
people to be saved and stored digitally in high qualities on memory cards and viewed in the
future as an unforgettable memory. The invention of cameras has an enormous role in shaping
the world we live in today. The cameras are the base of all the visual media which exist today. In
addition, most of the people own their high quality personal cameras, and carry them throughout
the day. These cameras could be an independent camera such as digital single-lens reflex
(DSLR) cameras or small cameras which are built-in smartphones. Moreover, the term
photograph is originated from Creek, and it is a complex word of a prefix photo-, which means
light, and the suffix -graph, which means drawing or writing, so the photography basically means
writing in light. According to the article, A Brief History of Photography and The Camera, the
concept of writing in light started by an Iraqi scientist named Ibn al-Haytham in the eleventh
century (Masoner). However, this was not the camera; it was basically a reflection of the light on
a surface, so it can be traced later. This technique was used mostly for drawing and painting
purposes until the permanent images were invented in the 1800s by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce,
who could reflect the light to a copper plate where the image could be traced by itself. Later on,
emulsion plates, or wet plates, were invented and became common because they were less
expensive and more convenient. Dry gelatine was invented in 1870s by Richard Maddox, and it
was approximately equal to the previous wet plates in quality and speed. All of these devices and
cameras were owned and used by professionals only until George Eastman started the Kodak
company in 1880s. Kodak invented a flexible roll film which can constantly change the solid
plates, so a person can take up to hundred pictures without worrying about changing the plates.
Kodak cameras were used by ordinary people for years, and these types of cameras were
developed rapidly. In order to print the images, the photographer had to send the film to the
Kodak company, and they will send him/her the images once they are done. In the 1950s, the
well know Nikon company was born, and it started producing the single-lens reflex cameras
(SLR), which are cameras with changeable lenses and accessories, and they succeeded
significantly because they were small, convenient, and not expensive. In the 1980s, the digital
cameras were invented, and these cameras were capable to calculate aperture, focus, and shutter
speed, so the photographer can focus on the composition of the picture more accurately.
Eventually, cameras are produced in smaller sizes, higher qualities, and less prices, and Canon,
Nikon, Sony, and some other manufacturers are the companies who succeeded in manufacturing
the best DSLR cameras in the meantime while Kodak files in bankruptcy in 2012 because it
cared about following the traditional methods of developing cameras rather than putting the
digital revolution into account. As a photographer and a videographer, I have studied and done
many research on the variety types of cameras, their origin, and how they function, I will first
explain how DSLR cameras function electronically and mechanically, and then I’ll give a brief
explanation of how the sensors work and the two main types of sensors.
DSLR cameras function differently than mirrorless cameras or cameras that are built
within the circuit of a smart device. All of the DSLR cameras use a DC battery source that varies
between 7 volts to 9 volts, and most of them use an external battery charger in order to change
the battery when the charge is over instead of waiting for the camera to be charged when the
battery is built-in with the circuit. Furthermore, most of the functions DSLR cameras are similar
to the functions in other types of cameras. However, there is one distinct difference between the
DSLR cameras and the mirrorless cameras or the built-in cameras. As it is previously mentioned,
images are created by reflecting the light on a surface. Therefore, the surface with DSLR
cameras is called a sensor. With built-in or mirrorless cameras, according to the Photography
Life site, which is a website that consist in cameras and their functions, mirrorless cameras use
the sensor to provide the image through the electronic viewfinder, which is different from the
DSLR camera where the sensor is only used at the moment when the picture is taken
(Mansurov). Moving to how DSLR functions, when the photographer looks through the
viewfinder, the picture that is shown comes directly from the lens, but it is not exposed to the
sensor yet. The light comes through the lens and takes its way to the reflex mirror, which is
located in front of the sensor and behind the lens. The reflex mirror reflects the light to a part
called “Pentaprism,” which is located in front of the viewfinder. Pentaprism reflects the
reciprocal light to the viewfinder, and the photographer sees the image through the lens as it will
be shown on the sensor. When the photographer clicks the shutter button, which is located on the
top right corner of the camera, the reflex mirror swings upward letting the light takes its way to
the sensor and blocking the vertical pathway to the viewfinder. In front of the sensor there is the
shutter. The shutter remains closed to protect the sensor from the exposer of light in addition to
keeping it clean from the dust, but when the reflex mirror swings up, the shutter opens allowing
the light to enter to the sensor and create the image. The photographer can control the period of
time the shutter can remain open. After the light is reflected on the sensor, the shutter closes
again and the reflex mirror drops back to its original position which is in a 45-degree angle to
allow the light to reflect to the viewfinder again. After that, the image is shown on the LCD
screen, so it is shown to the photographer. All of this mechanism happens very quickly in parts
of a second or longer depending on the shutter speed that is determined by the photographer.
DSLR cameras are separated into two main parts, the body of the camera and the lens.
Perhaps, the most important part of the camera body is the sensor. Sensors vary between the
different kinds of cameras, but their function is the same, transferring the light into a digital
picture, or transforming a type of energy to another, and this process is known as transduction.
As humans, we have in our eyes rod and cone receptors which work with ganglion cells to
convers photons, which are quantum of electromagnetic energy such as light, into
electrochemical signals, so our brain can process them which leads to our sight. The same with
sensors, according to What Digital Camera site, “-wafers of silicon are used as the base for the
integrated circuit, which are built up via a process known as photolithography. This is where the
patterns of the circuitry are repeatedly projected onto the (sensitized) wafer, before being treated
so that only the pattern remains” (Goloqczynski). Because silicon is a semiconductor, it leaves
free electrons when it is exposed to the light. These electrons are converted into a voltage value
by the use of amplifiers and capacitors. After this transformation, the voltage value could be
converted into a digital code of number which could be read by a computer. In this case, the
computer is the CPU or the processor of the camera. When the image is read by the processor, it
is saved in the memory card of the camera and shown on the LCD viewer for the photographer to
see it as the final picture. Even though there are many different types of sensors, two are mainly
used by the different manufacturers. The first type is called the Charge Coupled Device (CCD)
sensor, and the other type is the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) sensor.
On the one hand, CCD sensors work by capturing the electrons in the grids of the pixel array,
which exist in high numbers in these sensors depending on their quality, and transferring these
electrons from the bottom to the top of these grids and sent as a single charge at a time to be
converted to an analogue voltage which is then converted to digital codes, so it can be read by
the processor as it is mentioned earlier. On the other hand, CMOS sensors do not shuffle the
electrons in rows to be transformed to an analogue voltage as one charge at a time. These sensors
have an extra circuitry, which contains a small capacitor and an amplifier, attached and added to
each pixel, so electrons are sent individually without losing any charge to the voltage analogue
and then to the digital coding convertor to convert them to codes and then sent them to the
Even though these two sensors work differently, yet both of them function for the same
purpose, and each one of them has its advantages and drawbacks. According to the infographic,
CCD vs CMOS, “Since its inception CCDs have always been popular because of high quality
images. However, developments in lithography in the 1990s allowed designers to produce
CMOS sensors in a way that provided quality images at a lower cost than CCD” (Sorcerers). As
it is shown, companies try to use both of the sensors in their cameras depending on their
functions or prices, and not restricting with one type only. Starting with the advantages of CMOS
over CCD sensors, because CCD sensors need extra voltage to push these free electrons to the
grid, CCD sensors tend to have a higher power conception. Having a higher power consumption
means draining the camera battery life quickly. However, the case is different with CMOS.
Because every pixel has its own capacitor and amplifier, CMOS tends to use less voltage which
results in less draining for the battery life. The cost plays a big role as well, CCD sensors are a
lot more expensive than CMOS sensors, and that is why companies use CMOS sensors to
produce cheap cameras with great qualities. Another advantage of CMOS sensors is that they are
capable in capturing super slow-motion videos and having the ability to compile a very high
dynamic range pictures. Moving to the advantages of CCD sensors over CMOS, CCD sensors
have lower noise and grains in the pictures, and that is because these sensors tend to function
greatly when shooting in dark places or low light areas. In addition, because pixels are next to
each other, and they are free with any extra capacitors or amplifiers, the pixel size is smaller, and
that results in giving the ability for the manufactories to increase the number of pixels without
increasing the size of the actual sensor. In the end, the differences between the two sensors result
in using them in different types of cameras, and that is why CCD sensors are commonly used for
professional cameras while CMOS sensors tend to be used in security cameras and cameras that
are attached to the cars.
In conclusion, cameras have played a big role in shaping the world we live in today over
the past two centuries. One of the professional cameras that is commonly used by photographers
is DSLR cameras. What determines the ability and the quality of these cameras is usually their
sensors, and sensors come in two main types: CCD and CMOS. Both of these two have the same
function which is transferring the light into a digital image that can be read by the processor and
saved in the memory. Even though they both work for the same purpose, each one of them has its
advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, since the new generation is growing up with
technology, I believe that cameras and even DSLR cameras will be owned by most of the people
and not only by professionals because day after day, people are getting to know more about
cameras and the media in general. However, owning a professional camera does not mean this
person can take professional shots. For instance, having a high-tech oven does not mean the
owner of the oven can cook the most delicious food.
Works Cited
Golowczynski, Matt. “Digital Camera Sensors Explained.” What Digital Camera, 24 June 2016, Accessed 20 May 2017.
Mansurov, Nasim, and About Nasim MansurovNasim Mansurov is a professional photographer
based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along
with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here. “DSLR vs
Mirrorless.” Photography Life, 19 Apr. 2017,
Accessed 20 May 2017.
Masoner, Liz. “A Brief History of Photography and The Camera.” Https://,
The Spruce, 26 Jan. 2017. Accessed 20 May 2017.
Sorcerers, Kolkata. “CCD vs CMOS Infographic.” English, CIE Europe, 5 May 2016, Accessed 21 May 2017.

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