film gate

Definition: Physical aperture in a camera that lies on the film to mask the image projected by the lens: its size defines the shape and size of the image that is captured on the film. * It usually also carries precision formed or ground focusing rails that position the film precisely at right angles to the optical axis.
Convicting with the gate
Microscopic imperfections of the film gate, as can be seen on the edge of a negative or transparency, are like 'finger-prints' and can identify an individual camera body. Budding black-mailers take note! Sadly, with the rise of digital cameras, this story-line is no longer available.

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