Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesVisual ArtsPhotography · 1 month ago

If the camera lens is a circle, how come the picture comes out as a square?

8 Answers

  • Vivian
    Lv 4
    1 month ago

    A round camera lens does produce a round image inside the camera. However, the outer edges of the round image will have more distortions, sometimes called aberrations, than the parts of the image closer to the center. This is because light must be bent more to reach the outer edges of the circular image.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Very few modern cameras are square format (the 6x6 format is a square one),  most are rectangular. Basically cameras can produce a circular image and in fact that is what astronomers get when they take pictures of the sky by using circular photographic plates or digital sensors. They use every bit of the image they get from their telescope since the more they can photograph, the more data they can collect. .

    The reason we have square or rectangular images is because film came in a roll and it is pretty wasteful of film if it is made so that it produces circular images. Much of the area between one picture and the next one will be left blank and therefore wasted. Therefore camera designers design their cameras to take a square or rectangular image, by fitting the biggest square or rectangle inside the circular image circle produced by a lens. Digital cameras, since it does not require film, can produce circular images, but that means they would have to make a bigger sensor and that cost more money, and so they won't do it.

  • keerok
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Same thing with pizzas and their boxes. Lenses and pizzas are round because of physics while pictures and boxes are square because of economics.

  • Alan
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    The camera lens projects an image of the outside world on the surface of film or digital sensor. This projected image is actually quite large. However, only the central portion is photographically useful. This center portion is called the “circle of good definition”. The outermost part of this projected image is substandard, is becomes dimmer and blurrier the further from center. We call this a vignette. We avoid using the boundaries of this projected image by masking it off. The resulting serviceable image is usually a rectangle or square. However, some early camera made in beginning of the 19th century produced a circular picture. 

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  • Sumi
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    It's square (or probably a rectangle) because the light from the lens is being projected onto a sensor or piece of film which is a square or rectangle.  If the film or sensor was in the shape of a gingerbread man, then the resulting image that you see on the monitor would be the shape of a gingerbread man.

  • John
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    What they said but it also begins with the physics of lenses. Lenses need to be round to focus on a target. The target can be anything.

  • 1 month ago

    the image is circular but the edges tend to be distorted so only the middle is projected on to the film which is held in a smaller square frame

    if you look at original photographs they are circular or visit a camera obscura

    which has a circular image table

    what is more interesting is negatives are square but prints are typical 4 by 6


  • With film cameras, having rectangular prints was convenient for fitting them on the film.  Although our eyes are round, our brains are programmed to see things in rectangles, so paintings and other pictures tend to be rectangular.  Digital photography just followed the trend, put a bit of photoshopping can make your pictures round if you feel so inclined.

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