The Evolution of Digital Camera

01 Feb

From theoretical starts in space travel to today’s multi-megapixel creatures, the digital camera has come a ways. We present pictures of a number of the landmarks on the way.

The Beginnings

The history of the digital camera started with Eugene F. Lally of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was thinking about how to use a mosaic detector to get digital images when he was not coming up with methods to create artificial gravity. His 1961 thought was to shoot photographs of stars and the planets while going through space, to be able to help create the astronauts’ standing. Sadly, as with Texas Instrument worker Willis Adcock’s filmless camera (US patent 4,057,830) in 1972, the technology had yet to catch up with the theory.

The camera usually acknowledged as the very first digital still snapper was a model (US patent 4,131,919) developed by Eastman Kodak engineer Steven Sasson in 1975. He cobbled together some Motorola components with a Kodak film camera lens and some just devised Fairchild CCD electronic detectors.

The resultant camera, pictured above on its first trip to Europe lately, weighed almost 4kg and was the extent of a big toaster. Black and white pictures were recorded on a digital cassette tape, and screening them needed Sasson and his co-workers to also create a special display.

The resolution proved to be a ground-breaking .01 megapixels and it took 23 seconds to record the first digital picture. Talk about shutter lag.

Some consider that Kodak missed a trick by not developing this technical breakthrough, with picture continuing butter and their bread. The following step in the procedure would come from elsewhere.

Digital Camera Photography & The VTR

In 1951, the very first video tape recorder (VTR) recorded live pictures from television cameras by converting the info into electric impulses (digital) and saving the info onto magnetic tape.

Bing Crosby lab’s (the research team financed by Crosby and headed by engineer John Mullin) created the first early VTR and by 1956, VTR technology was perfected (the VR1000 devised by Charles P. Ginsburg and the Ampex Corporation) and in common use by the television business. Both television/video cameras and digital camera use a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) to feel light colour and intensity.

Digital Photography and Science

During the 1960s, NASA converted from using analogue to digital signals with their space probes to map the surface of the moon (sending digital images back to world). Computer technology was also improving at this time and NASA used computers to boost the pictures the space probes were sending.

Digital imaging also had another authorities use in the time that being spy satellites. Authorities use of digital technology helped improve the science of digital imaging, but, the private sector also made important contributions.

Texas Instruments patented a picture-less electronic camera in 1972, the first to achieve that. In August 1981, Sony released the Sony Mavica the camera that was the first commercial electronic camera, electronic still camera. Pictures were recorded onto a mini disc after which place into a video reader which was linked to a television monitor or color printer.


But, the early Mavica can’t be considered a digital camera that was real although it began the digicam revolution. It ended up being a video camera that shot video freeze frames.


Since the mid-1970s, Kodak has devised several solid state image sensors that “converted light to digital images” for professional and home consumer use. In 1986, Kodak scientists devised the world’s first-megapixel sensor, capable of recording 1.4 million pixels that could make a 5×7-inch digital photo-quality print. In 1987, Kodak released seven products for recording, storing, transmitting, manipulating and printing electronic still video pictures. In 1990, Kodak developed the Photo CD system and proposed “the first global standard for defining colour in the electronic environment of computers and computer peripherals.” In 1991, Kodak released the first professional digicam system (DCS), aimed at photojournalists. It ended up being a Nikon F-3 camera equipped by Kodak with a 1.3-megapixel sensor.

When the corporation couldn’t react as fast as some other programmers of digital photography in the 1990s and early 2000s although Kodak was responsible for the early development of digital photography, it was mostly killed by its own creation. Sasson personally considered that digital camera would have to attain a resolution of at least two million pixels before they were actually accepted as a feasible alternative to picture photography, and Kodak chose to concentrate on continuing to sell its popular movie products rather than develop digital photography merchandises to compete against its own movie variations.

Nikon QV-1000C

The Nikon QV-1000C was and made history in 1989 as the first filmless camera to be utilized for journalism a video camera. AP photographer Ron Edmond used the camera to cover the inauguration of George H.W. Bush, and his pictures became some of the first “digital” pictures printed in the media. In 1991, for just a little price comparison, the QV 1000C sold for a little over $20k.

The Fujix DS-1P and Dycam Model 1

Fujix DS-1P (1989). Resolution: 0.4MP

Dycam Model 1 (1990). Resolution: 376 by 240 pixels (0.09MP), 256 levels of grey.
The Fujix DS-1P was the first commercial digicam in the world. Digital files were written by it to solid-state memory cards but was accessible only in Japan for a short time. The Dycam was the first digital camera sold in America.

Digital Cameras for Consumer

The very first digital cameras for the consumer-level market that operated with a home computer by means of a serial cable were the Apple QuickTake 100 camera (February 17 , 1994), the Kodak DC40 camera (March 28, 1995), the Casio QV-11 (with LCD monitor, late 1995), and Sony’s Cyber-Shot Digital Still Camera (1996).


Nevertheless, Kodak entered into an aggressive co-marketing campaign to promote the DC40 and to help introduce the thought of digital photography to the people. Microsoft, as well as Kinko’s and Kodak both, collaborated to create digital image-making kiosks and applications workstations which enabled customers to make photos and Photo CD Cds and add digital images to files. IBM and Kodak collaborated in making a web-based network picture exchange. Hewlett Packard was the first firm to generate color inkjet printers that complemented the new digicam pictures.

Present Technologies

Relevant imaging technologies and digital cameras continue to be among a plurality of businesses from all around the globe in a period of robust development. This previous week on IPWatchdog, our Businesses We Follow string paid focus to digital photography inventions from Nikon and Canon, two of the present leaders in this field. We’re looking at the broader world of digital photography development to discover more innovation that might be of great interest to our readers, now.

We found various patents in this area which have lately been given to Samsung, a worldwide leader in electronic device development. An intriguing facial recognition technology for the creation of sharper facial pictures by digital cameras is revealed in U.S. Patent No. 8786760, which is titled Digital Photographing Equipment and System Using Face Recognition Function. Assigned to Samsung Electronics Co., this patent protects a digital camera included in a face recognition unit for identifying a plurality of faces, and an autofocus place establishing a unit to create autofocus zones for multiple groups of faces.