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Mark Mast

Assignment 1
Design Process and Principles
1/21/15
The camera, in particular the single-lens-reflex (SLR), is a tool has been a staple for
the last half-century for capturing images whether it be for press publications or
personal mementos. The Canon AE-1 is a consumer SLR which was released during
late 1970s and early 1980s. As one of the first cameras on the market to contain a
micro processing chip which allowed for exposure control it quickly became a very
common household item for those that wanted to preserve images for years to
come.
Because the Canon AE-1 is made of many parts, there are many different materials
used in its construction. The majority of the exterior is made of ABS plastic, while
the top and bottom plates are made of brass and steel construction. The more
intricate parts of the camera require different materials for their construction. The
pentaprism for example is constructed out of ground glass in order to achieve a
clear representation of the image. Because the design of the camera is very
modular it allows for simple operation, customization and repair.
Although simple in operation, there are many components that result in the
successful operation of a SLR. There are two main pieces of what makes up the
camera; the camera body itself which contains key components such as the shutter,
pentaprism, film plane, mirror and viewfinder. After light passes through the lens,
the first part of the camera body it passes through is to the mirror. The mirror then

flips and reflects the image up to the pentaprism, which allows for the image the
image to be viewed through the viewfinder. After the viewing process has taken
place, then the shutter button must be pressed. Once the button is pressed it allows
for the mirror to be lifted to a horizontal position resting against the pentaprism
therefore allowing unobstructed light to hit the shutter. The shutter consists of a
series of metal collapsible metal pieces that block light from hitting the film plane.
In order to allow for the image to be captured on the film, the shutter collapses
vertically for a duration of time determined by the shutter speed dial (often
measured in fractions of a second eg. 1/125 th).
As well as the lens, which like the camera body, is modular in design. The critical
portions of the lens that allows for light to pass through to the camera are the lens
elements and aperture mechanism.
The lens elements allow for light to be captured and focused at different
magnifications depending on the focal length of the lens. A common lens type, a
zoom lens has several elements which allow for it to be able to change length,
which results in varying levels of magnification of the image. The aperture
mechanism allows for the amount of light entering the camera to be controlled.
Increasing the size of the opening allows for more light, while decreasing the size of
the opening decreases the amount of light.
The correlation between the aperture and shutter speed are inversely proportional,
therefore in order to obtain the same results as using a larger aperture and fast
shutter speed, a smaller aperture and slower shutter speed are used.
Cameras in the modern day are still used as tools. Although the medium may have
changed, the process of capturing an image still remains much the same. In place of

film, we now have a digital sensor. It is a technology that continues to evolve, will
still remaining true to its roots in regards to its rudimentary operation.