126 Years of Photographic Technology

Today's cameras based upon old Technology

Today's cameras are based upon technology created over a hundred and fifty years ago However those old-fashioned ideas were far removed from the sort of of cameras we use today, they were well advanced in relationship to the materials and technology they had to work with at the time. ✓

Kodak Brownie
Kodak Brownie Target Six

Oskar Barnack
Oskar Barnack the father of 35mm photography

The First Polaroid Camera
The First Polaroid Camera

Logitech FotoMan
Logitech FotoMan

In 1885 George Eastman invented the contemporary photographic film know-how that allowed cameras to be a convenient consumer product. Eastman also invented the initial Kodak camera which jump started the camera industry along with its popularity among the public.

The first Kodak cameras were delivered with the film pre-loaded inside and users had to ship the entire device to Kodak to have their film developed. Kodak would then reinsert new film in the camera and return it to the customer so they could acquire more photos with it. However this method did not last too long before improvements were made.

In February of 1900 George Eastman took advantage of his own invention and designed the Brownie camera. This new Brownie was the first camera with the capability of capturing snapshots while being small enough for photographers to conveniently carry with them. Plus it only cost one dollar and was so easy to use, children could use it. With it's resulting popularity, small size and affordability, the Brownie became the camera families preferred take with them for special occasions and vacations to acquire memories which would last them a lifetime. The Brownie was such a popular camera that stayed in production and sold into the mid 1960s.

Oskar Barnack in 1914 did some experimenting with 35mm movie film. His objective was to produce a 35mm film with the ability to be employed in cameras to acquire still pictures in place of moving pictures. Although he started down this technology path in 1914, the problems that happened when World War I began, stopped further advancements during the next two decades. Several years afterwards, the Kodak Company started looking into this technology again and created a number of advancements that allowed it to be more convenient for the typical consumer to use. Subsequently Kodak created the Retina I which was less expensive than other cameras with similar technology, however it was still cost more than other mass constructed cameras at the time.

While numerous companies were attempting to create improved technology for their existing cameras, In 1948 an upstart with new sort of camera popped on the scene. It was Edwin Land who invented Polaroid photography and founded the Polaroid Corporation to manufacturer his new camera. The Polaroid camera took instant pictures which was attractive to many photography users due to its instant gratification properties. People could shoot a picture using a Polaroid and be looking at their picture in just a few minutes. Although it cost more than the other camera models at the time, it became one of the higher volume selling cameras because people liked seeing their pictures in moments after clicking the shutter. In the beginning it was a novel idea, however it soon turned into a luxury that a lot of people just had to have. However, just like buggy whips, Polaroid soon disappeared.

During recent years, digital technology spilled over to the camera industry. Even though a Texas Instruments digital prototype camera began in 1972. The first commercially produced digital camera was a Dycam 1990 Model 1; it was also marketed as a Logitech Fotoman. The Fotoman employed a CCD sensor, digitally stored images, and attached to a computer directly for download. In 1991, Kodak marketed the first U.S. camera, a Kodak DCS-100, which was the start of a lengthy line of Kodak professional DCS SLR cameras which were partially based upon film camera bodies, most often often Nikons. The image sensor was 1.3 megapixels and carried a price tag of $13,000.

After decades of technological breakthroughs, digital cameras were still costing thousands of dollars. As a consequence, only people with deep pockets and professional photographers and had admission to digital cameras of quality. As megapixel technology and other facets of digital cameras eventually became less costly and started being mass produced and competition increased they eventually became more affordable. Today, you can find a decent DSLR camera for under $500 or a good point and shoot with numerous features and options for less than $300.

Cameras have helped in shaping our history as we can actually view pictures of incidents that have occurred. We are able get a better concept of events by looking through videos and still pictures. The old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" isn't too far off the path that cameras have assisted in creating how we see our environment and the world we live in.

Updated October 20, 2014

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