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Would it be permissible to take a picture with a film camera operated mechanically? If not what would be the melacha involved?

  • Based on my limitited understanding of photography there is no action of "writing". One merely opens the aperture and light reacts with previously treated film. – Michael Horwitz Nov 19 '14 at 12:27
  • Most decent film cameras include a light meter, which does have electrical elements. Furthermore, enacting a chemical change is mechalel Shabbat, AFAIK. – Noach MiFrankfurt Aug 3 '15 at 19:30
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Making a permanent visual record is generally considered a form of "writing"; this includes film photography.

From http://www.yutorah.com/_materials/Source_Sheet-510279.pdf :

ר' יצחק וויס, שו"ת מנחת יצחק חלק ג סימן כ

בתשו' קרן לדוד שם, כתב בפשיטות לענין המצייר צורה על ידי פאטאגראפיע דחייב משום תולדה דכותב

Minchat Yitzchak (Responsa of R. Yitzchak Weiss), 3:20

The Keren LeDavid wrote that it is obvious that making a picture by photograph would be a Torah violation as a form of "writing."

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