I wonder if the inventor of the digital camera knew just how much he changed the photography industry.
The film industry has gone by the wayside, although, I still have several film cameras and old rolls of film! Gone are the days when a person took their film roll into the store to get developed, or developed it themselves with all the chemicals, developer and technique that went with it.
The first digital camera (see the image below) was invented by Steven Sasson when he worked at Eastman Kodak in 1975. Remember Kodak? The camera weighed 8 pounds and was only 0.01Megapixels! (think about today's cameras-some are at 45 megapixels!) Think about it, though, 44 years ago there were no cellphones, no internet and most TV's were still black and white. Computers were also HUGE, not small and thin like today's models! Since Kodak had about 90% of the film market at the time, they saw this digital "thing" as a competitor to their own film products and chose not to pursue the development of it.
Does anyone remember Super 8 movies and their cameras? I have a large box of super 8 movies from my childhood stored in a box under my stairs. I am not sure if I could even find a projector to watch them! But, this first digital camera was created using parts of the super 8 movie cameras, about a half dozen custom circuit boards and used a CCD sensor which shot black and white. The images captured went from the sensor to a temporary memory area and then proceeded to record on image to a digital cassette tape. The entire process took a long time!
30 images was all that was stored on the cassette. That number was chosen by Steven as it was between 24 and 36 exposures, which is what film rolls held. Can you imagine? Just 30 images. Nowadays, hundreds and sometimes thousands of images are stored in memory cards!
It took another 15 years before the first digital camera was actually produced in a way to sell to the general public. And soon after, Adobe Photoshop 1 was introduced!
Digital cameras certainly changed the photography industry. Many large camera stores, labs, and companies went bankrupt because film was becoming obsolete. The main camera companies had to adapt to this change, too, so they stopped producing film cameras and focused on developing digital ones. With film, a photographer had 12, 24 or 36 chances to get it right. He or she needed to know how to get a proper exposure because the camera could not do it for you like the digital cameras we have now can. A photographer had to get it right because he or she could not look at the back of the camera to check.
Fast forward many years and we have cameras that shoot at 10 frames per second, are 50 megapixels, and can record video.
Digital cameras have certainly come a long way.
I used to think I would never switch to a digital camera having shot with film for so many years. But, in 2009 I made the switch and have not looked back. I still like to photograph with film, though. It is a timeless wonder, for sure.
And, believe it or not, there are camera stores around today! Not all have gone by the wayside! Check out ProCam in Aurora, IL, and Detroit, MI, plus these two I found in Chicago-Dodd Camera and Central Camera. So, if you are ever in Aurora, Chicago or Detroit, visit these stores and see all the great equipment that you can buy to start in the photography industry!
Are you ready to update your headshot with a digital camera?