follow on twitter


History of digital cameras

When exactly digital cameras were invented is a matter of debate. Like chemical based photography the precise point at which digital photography was invented is open to interpretation. Was it the drum scanner constructed by Russell A Kirsch and his colleagues at the National Bureau of standards in the 1950s that recorded visual information on a raster grid?

Tracing an image electronically: Scanner constructed by Russell A Kirsch and his colleagues 1950s.
One of the first digital images. The image was scanned forma photograph by a BNS mechanical drum scanner then processed by a SEAC computer and displayed on an oscilloscope.


Was it the digital imaging techniques that NASA used to correct imperfections, that ran as trace lines caused by transmission static, from images of the Luna surface sent back by Ranger 7 in 1964?


Was it in the late 1980s when Canon, Nikon and Sony introduced compact, high quality, still-video cameras that recorded images directly on miniature floppy disk and provided an alternative to the silver film processes?

CANON RC-760 - 1987. Still video camera. 600,000 pixel CCD. USA Today began covering special events with the Canon RC-760 camera in 1987.


Development of the technology continued until during the late 1990s, digital cameras exploded into the consumer and professional market. Within as few as 3 years they grew from about 3-5% to 97% of the market. The consumer was bombarded with a plethora of new terms and figures. Mega pixels, CCD. . processors, Raw files, etc.

The development of the digital camera continues with seamless integration into other electronic devices such as phones, computers etc. To attempt to keep abreast with the current developments would be a full time occupation.


However, there are there are some things that remain constant. For instance - many of the optical principles that apply to film cameras also hold true for digital.


Want to learn more? - do a workshop or one on one with Lloyd Godman