Definition of camera obscura in English:

camera obscura

Syllabification: cam·er·a ob·scu·ra
Pronunciation: /ˌkam(ə)rə əbˈskyo͝orə


  • 1A darkened box with a convex lens or aperture for projecting the image of an external object onto a screen inside. It is important historically in the development of photography.
    More example sentences
    • He was the first to propose adding a convex lens to the camera obscura.
    • My explanation for this very curious result is that Vermeer had a camera obscura with a lens at the painting's viewpoint.
    • In the camera obscura the image is always upside-down.
  • 1.1A small round building with a rotating angled mirror at the apex of the roof, projecting an image of the landscape onto a horizontal surface inside.
    More example sentences
    • But the glistening object on the town's market place on Saturday morning turned out to be a mirrored camera obscura.
    • The party also had a camera obscura to produce topographic images, although they seem never to have used it.
    • We are looking to put in a camera obscura or a viewing tower in the church steeple as a tourist attraction to complement the Botanic Gardens across the road.


early 18th century: from Latin, 'dark chamber'.

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