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Reflection of Light by Prisms
Many optical instruments use prisms to reflect light (by total internal reflection).
Cameras and binoculars are two common examples.
Prism have certain advantages compared with mirrors.
1. The efficiency of the internal reflection is very high.
2. For a mirror to be useful in an optical instrument, the reflecting surface should be on the front of the support, usually a piece glass. This makes it susceptible to corrosion and accidental damage.
 
When light is reflected internally by a 45 prism as shown below, inversion takes place.
Two such prisms are used in "prismatic binoculars" (as shown in the next diagram) in order to produce an image which is "the same way round" and "the same way up" as the object.
This system also has the advantage of including a longer optical path in a given length of instrument.
This allows for greater magnification (see angular magnification of an astronomical telescope)
 
 
For pentaprisms in optics, see here.
 
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