Why is the Image Formed in a Pinhole Camera Inverted

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Last Updated on December 21, 2022

A pinhole camera is a very simple type of camera. It is usually made out of a light-proof box with a small hole in one side. Light from the scene being photographed enters the hole and hits the back wall of the box (the film or digital sensor).

This creates an image on the back wall that is upside down and backwards compared to the scene being photographed. The reason for this is that light travels in straight lines. When it enters the hole, it begins to travel in a straight line towards the back wall.

However, once it hits the back wall, it can no longer continue travelling in a straight line and so it is reflected off at an angle. This means that the light from each point on the scene arrives at a different point on the back wall, creating an upside down and backwards image.

A pinhole camera is a simple camera without a lens and with a single small aperture. It was invented in the early 1800s, and its design has not changed much since then. The image formed in a pinhole camera is inverted because light travels in straight lines.

When light enters the camera through the hole, it is reflected off the back wall of the camera and projected onto the film or sensor located at the back of the camera. This produces an upside-down image on the film or sensor.

1) Why is the Image Formed in a Pinhole Camera Inverted

2) How is the image in a pinhole camera magnified. When light passes through a small hole, it scatters in many directions. But when the hole is very small, the light waves passing through tend to cancel each other out except for those that hit the hole dead-on.

This produces an image that’s upside down and reversed left to right—exactly opposite of what we see with our eyes. The image is magnified because the light waves passing through the hole are parallel. When they hit a flat surface (like film or a digital sensor), they produce a point source of light.

The closer the waves are to being parallel, the brighter and sharper the point of light will be. So, a tiny hole produces a tiny image that’s very bright and sharp.

How Does Pin-Hole Camera Work | Inverted Image | How to Construct a Pin-Hole Camera- 3D Model- NSO


A pinhole camera is a very simple type of camera that doesn’t use a lens. Instead, it has a tiny hole (the “pinhole”) that light passes through to reach the film or digital sensor. Because the hole is so small, only a small amount of light can pass through at any given time.

This means that the image formed by a pinhole camera will be upside down and backwards from what we see with our eyes.

Olivia Bouler

From a young age, camera's fascinated me. My dad gave me my first Canon when I was seven, and since then I've tried to improve my craft. As a young Ornithologist and photographer, I travel a lot and love to bring a camera with me. I love the feeling of capturing a moment that can never be repeated and providing someone with a memento of a time or place.