A camera is an optical instrument that captures images. Most cameras can capture 2D images, while some more advanced models can capture 3D images. At a basic level, most cameras consist of a sealed box (the camera body), with a small hole (the aperture) that allows light to pass through and capture an image on a light-sensitive surface (usually a digital sensor or photographic film). Cameras have various mechanisms to control how light falls onto the light-sensitive surface, including lenses that focus the light and a shutter that determines the amount of time the photosensitive surface is exposed to the light.

The still-image camera is a key instrument in the art of photography. Captured images may be reproduced later through processes such as digital imaging or photographic printing. Similar artistic fields in the moving-image camera domain include film, videography, and cinematography.

The word camera comes from camera obscura, which is Latin for "dark chamber" and refers to the original device used to project a 2D image onto a flat surface. The modern photographic camera evolved from the camera obscura. The first permanent photograph was made in 1825 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.
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