Reflex Camera

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When Talking About Photography What Is a Reflex Camera?

When talking about photography, specifically types of camera, the term ‘reflex camera’ refers to a camera which uses a mirror to direct light entering the camera via a lens into a viewfinder or onto a viewing screen. Reflex cameras first appeared in the mid-1800s and the basic design principle remains nearly unchanged today. The advantage of a reflex camera is that the image being viewed by the photographer is the same image being seen by the lens. The mirror must be raised when a photograph is taken to allow light entering the camera to reach the photographic medium, either film or sensor. Rangefinder cameras use an offset viewfinder, this causes a parallax difference between what the lens sees and what the shooter sees through the viewfinder.

A modern digital single reflex camera
Photo: Dan Carr