Going Digital: A Brief, Recent Flash in the History of Photography
Almost 300 years of imaging science led to the current state of digital tech?suggesting that as impressive as that tech is, we ain't seen nothing yet.
In stores: the Giroux Daguerreotype, the world’s first consumer camera.
Wide-field: Sutton patents a panoramic camera.
Kodak introduces its first consumer camera; $25 buys you 100 exposures.
Kodak’s Brownie brings photography to the people. A British poster advertises the camera for 5 shillings; cost in the U.S. is $1.
The 35mm still camera is developed; the format soon dominates.
The Nikon F sets the modern 35mm SLR standard.
Holography, first proposed in the late 1940s, becomes possible with the invention of the pulsed ruby laser.
The Kodak Instamatic goes on sale. Its new format challenges 35mm.
Instant gratification: Polaroid introduces the 1-step SX-70 (left).
Digital brain: canon’s AE-1 is the first camera with a microprocessor.
Easy snap: Konica
introduces the first point-and-shoot autofocus camera.
Kodak’s Disc Camera offers another alternative to 35mm film; the format flops.
Start the digital revolution: Dycam’s 0.09MP Model 1 is the world’s first consumer digital cam.
Kodak creates A 6MP digital camera for professionals; Consumer 6MP cameras are still 8 years off.
Casio QV-10’s in-camera display lets you see your pictures instantly.
Canon’s Elph (right) is the first Advanced Photo System camera, with unpleasantly grainy results.
Fujifilm announces a 20MP image sensor for pros.
Joseph Nicephore Niepce takes the first photograph, out his window, an
Eadweard Muybridge’s cameras stop time: His multiple-camera shots detail a horse’s motion.
Harold Edgerton develops strobe photography.
Researchers first see a virus when an electron
microscope magnifies the tobacco mosaic strain.
First spy in the sky:
The corona satellite system snaps photos high above the USSR (above).
Small blue ball:
Apollo 8 astronauts take the first image of Earth from the Moon.
After an in-orbit repair, the Hubble Space
Telescope takes its first clear picture (right).
The fastest “picture”: a simulation of electrons moving within an atom, captured in 200 attoseconds.
Johann Heinrich Schulze discovers that a
mixture of chalk and silver nitrate darkens when exposed to light, paving the way for film.
In the first commercial photographic process (above), light splits apart transparent silver bromide molecules (1), forming unbound metallic silver atoms (2)
and releasing bromide ions as a by-product. A chemical bath of developer makes the opaque silver particles grow (3); those particles form the dark regions on a negative (4).
George Eastman and William Walker
devise a roll film holder and flexible film. In modified form, this configuration is used by most nondigital cameras today.
Wire photos: Arthur Korn scans a photo with light and transmits the info
via telegraph wires.
The Lumiere brothers’ Autochrome film uses colored starch grains to create images by filtering light.
Paul Vierkotter invents the modern flashbulb, a magnesium wire encased in glass.
Agfacolor?Neu film uses a silver-based system similar to B&W, but with three layers of film, each treated with dye that absorbs its color complement (above).
The CCD: Light strikes a silicon pixel, creating a charge. A computer reconstructs the image from these charges (above).
Unlike CCDs, which record one color per pixel, a Foveon
detector records three: The silicon senses the colors as light
penetrates to different depths (above).
Organic light-emitting diodes replace LCDs in most cameras.
Show off your pictures on thin electronic paper.
Project your life-size 3-D pictures into the center of a room.
Built-in embedded eyeball camera: Just press a tooth or think a command to snap a photo from your retina.
Compiled by Martha Harbison
Photographs, from top:
Courtesy Eastman Kodak
National Archives/Cartographic Section
Illustrations by Jason Lee