(DIGICAMHISTORY.COM IS A REGISTERED U.S. TRADEMARK)

The first ever, and still by far the most complete history of early digital photography on the web


WELCOME!

      DigiCam History Dot Com is a non-profit, educational site provided for the free use of all digital camera enthusiasts.  Visitors, including manufacturers, are encouraged to submit topics or photos concerning the historical development of consumer digicams for inclusion on this site as well as  corrections, and/or additional information (please provide sources such as URLs that can be easily verified, or arrange to mail hard copies of articles, photocopies of book pages, etc...)

Rodger L. Carter

Our 13th Anniversary!

5 Sep 2001 - 5 Sep 2014

Now averaging 7.5 million hits per year



My choice for the next U.S. president - Condoleezza Rice.  She's brilliant, highly experienced, highly knowledgeable,
AND
she's tough as nails!


ATTENTION:  Best new digicam history site to hit the web in more than a dozen years - digicammuseum.com by D. van Hall.  If you have any interest in digital photography history at all, it is a must-visit site - GO THERE!

http://www.digicammuseum.com/history.html

E-mail:  Click on name above or send to dch@digicamhistory.com


Click on images below to see attached photos

                              

 Ohio Swim                   Man on the Moon                                  MX Underground Missile Test Project              ICBM Minuteman II Launch Control Facility

    

         Not quite like pulling a tooth                                         Click here if you dare




Current inflation adjusted value of original MSRPs of cameras in the DigiCamHistory.Com collection


HELP WANTED!  Click here to assist in identifying unknown digicams.

Articles:
Telephoto Figure of Merit: Explanation and Uses.   This article originally appeared in the June/July 2000 issue of MAV! online magazine.  It discusses a simple formula for determining the telephoto capabilities of various digicams.

F-Stops Defined (F-stops simplified). This article appeared in the April / May 2000 issue of MAV! online magazine.  It provides an explanation of f-stops, how they were derived and why they are used.

Inexpensive Macro Photography.  This article discusses how to achieve excellent close-up photos with readily available, inexpensive equipment.

Cameras: If you are looking for a particular camera click on the "FINDER" page in the below table.  It will take you to the page of any camera listed.

THE AMERICAN CONNECTION: U.S. technology and research was the driving force behind the development of today's digital photography. Click on the blue lettering to see a list of more than fifty major American contributions leading to the digital cameras now used throughout the world.


The blue ribbon next to the camera indicates a technological or other digicam first.

The above rectangle indicates that an item is included in the DigiCamHistory.Com museum collection.

(If you have a camera that does not have the yellow rectangle beside it, feel free to donate!)

Please visit www.cyclomobile.com to read about my grandfather, Earl M. Morley, a 20th Century inventor.

1800s
1900 - 1920
1920s
1930s
1940s
1950s
1960s
1970s
1980-83
1984-85
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995 A-C
1995 D-Z
1996 A-C
1996 D-N
1996 O-R
1996 S-Z
 1997 A-D
1997 E-H
1997 I-O
 1997 P-Q
 1997 R-S
1997 T-Z
1998 A-D
1998 E-F
1998 G-K
1998 L-N
1998 O-P
1998 Q-R
1998 S
1998 T-Z
1999+
   

None Such
Look Alikes
Useful Info
History Sites
FINDER

A word about dates.  When known, the earliest applicable date is shown.  This is usually the date of introduction, announcement, or when the camera first appeared at one of the various technical shows.  Dates shown on other web sites are usually the market introduction dates in a particular country and sometimes fall into the following calendar year.

CAMERA OBSCURA - 1490. Leonardo da Vinci wrote the first detailed description of camera obscura in his Atlantic Codex, a 1,286 page collection of drawings and writings. The principle of camera obscura involves punching a hole in a dark box and putting a piece of light-sensitive material on the other side thereby providing a photograph. The first picture of a pinhole camera obscura is a drawing by Gemma Frisus' De Radio, an astronomer (above photo on the left). He used the pinhole in his darkened room to study the solar eclipse of 1544. Viist the web site of Stewart Lewis Woodruff at users.rcn.com/ stewoody/quote.htm and learn how to build and use pinhole cameras (camera obscuras).

www.boston.com/.../ Galleries/DaVinciGadgets?pg=4


1800s


FIRST PERMANENT CAMERA PHOTOGRAPHS - 1825-26.  Photographic history has recently been rewritten following the discovery of what is now considered to be the world's oldest photograph.  The image, a reproduction of a 17th century Dutch print, predates by one year Frenchman Nic�pce's previous heliogravure of the view from his window at Le Gras, regarded until now as the earliest surviving photographic image.

In the early 1800s, Joseph Nicephore Niepce experimented with lithography at his home near Chalon, France.  Nicephore explored light-sensitive varnishes, trying to find a coating that would record drawings after exposure to light.  In 1816, he took photos using a camera and paper sensitized with silver chloride.  He had some success, but was dissatisfied because the images were reversed (negatives) and could not be made permanent.  He had tried to produce a positive print, but was unable to do so.  He did find that nitric acid helped to preserve images for a while, but would not prevent eventual fading.  Niepce's breakthrough came in 1822 when he made a permanent image using a camera obscura.  After exposing coated pewter plates to a camera image, he used the vapors from heated iodine crystals to darken the silver and heighten contrast.  The method would later inspire Louis Daguerre's successful mercury vapor development process.  Within a few years the two inventors would become partners.  Niepce was able to produce a copy of an engraving by passing light through the original photo onto a piece of glass coated with bitumen of Judea, a type of asphalt.  Light hardens bitumen of Judea, so when Niepce washed the plate with solvent only the unexposed portions were removed, leaving a permanent image on the plate.  He named this process a���€š�š����€š��€œheliography or sun-writing.  He made numerous heliographs during the next several years and continued his attempts to produce a permanent camera image.  In 1825, he was successful.


Oldest known photos, 1825 and 1826.  Click on images for enlarged views.

The first image is a reproduction of a 17th century Dutch engraving showing a man leading a horse.  The photograph was sold at Sotheby's in Paris on March 21, 2002, to the French National Library for  $443,000.  The Niepce correspondence that accompanied the print gave a step-by-step account of how Niepce made his discovery. The print is the only surviving testament to Niepce's achievement in the summer of 1825 using light alone to make a plate from which an image could be printed.

The world's second oldest known permanent camera image, bitumen on pewter, is a view taken from Niepce's second floor window.  The exposure took approximately eight hours.  The third image was reportedly also made in 1826.

Additional information concerning Joseph Niepce can be found at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/world/europe/1885093.stm

http://www.artsjournal.com/archives/zvisual%20arts%2003-02.htm
http://www.photogallery.it/storia/icrono.html
http://www.olinda.com/Art/art_lectures.htm
http://www.olinda.com/Art/Beginnings/early_photography.htm
http://www.chez.com/photoimage/niepceet.htm

WILLIAM HENRY FOX TALBOT FIRST NEGATIVE - 1835.   The inventor of calotype process, the precursor to most photographic processes of the 19th and 20th centuries. He was also a noted photographer who made major contributions to the development of photography as an artistic medium. His work in the 1850s on photo-mechanical reproduction led to the creation of the photoglyphic engraving process, the precursor to photogravure. Talbot is also remembered as the holder of a patent which, some say, affected the early development of commercial photography in Britain.

Talbot's original contributions included the concept of a negative from which many positive prints can be made (although the terms negative and positive were coined by Herschel).   Talbot's negative/positive process eventually succeeded as the basis for almost all 19th and 20th century photography. The daguerreotype, although stunningly beautiful, was rarely used by photographers after 1860, and had died as a commercial process by 1865.

The photograph on the left is of Talbot in 1864 by John Moffat. The photo on the right is a print from a Talbot negative, the oldest known negative in existence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Fox_Talbot

 



FIRST PRODUCTION CAMERA - 1839.  Daguerrotype cameras of 1839 produced by Giroux in Paris.  They weighed 120 pounds each and cost 400 Francs (about $50).  See the George Eastman Photography Collections Online for much additional information concerning this camera as well as excellent photos and detailed information regarding many other early cameras.  http://www.geh.org/
 


BAIN'S TELEGRAPH - FIRST FACSIMILE (FAX) - 1843.  In 1843, Scotsman Alexander Bain patented a design for a mechanical device which used a stylus attached to an electromagnetic pendulum to send typed words over a telegraph line.  The first commercial fax service was opened between Paris and Lyon, France, in 1865.  Popularity of facsimile machines increased significantly in 1906 and thereafter when they were employed for transmitting newspaper photos.  For many interesting photographs and a complete history of facsimile machines see
http://www.hffax.de/html/hauptteil_faxhistory.htm 

 

SHELLAC CONDUCTING ROLLER - 1847. Frederick Bakewell, England, improved upon Bain's design by using a clock mechanism and was the first to demonstrate a facsimile transmission.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Bakewell

 

PHOTOGRAPHY - 1850.  The complete photographist kit as found in an 1850 catalog.  Kit  in this case would mean a horse-drawn wagon!).  Estimate for a complete Daguerreotype Apparatus, suitable for the professional photographist, consisting of a large-sized camera and compound lens for large views, portraits, and groups; small size camera, with large aperture and short focus combination of lenses, for taking portraits up to 4 inches by 3 inches in dull weather; polishing lathe, with series of circular buffs; three hand buffs; set of metal plate holders and supports; heating stand; large bromine and iodine apparatus and set of frames; set of plate boxes to hold two dozen each; table stand for camera and rollers; adjusting chair, with head rest; adjusting head rest, with heavy iron foot for full-length portraits, &c.; large mercury box for the different sized plates; lantern, with yellow glass shade; metal still and worm tub for obtaining distilled water; a large and small gilding stand; stoneware barrel and cock for holding distilled water; porcelain dishes; filtering stand; funnels and filtering paper; spirit lamps; set of daguerreotype colours and brushes, and flexible India-rubber bottle; glass measures; two painted back grounds, &c., with a full supply of all the necessary chemicals, polishing materials, &c., complete, Wills, Camfield and Deirdre.  History of Photography: Techniques and Equipment.  Exeter Books.  New York.  1980.   Page 13.

 

PONTI MEGALETOSCOPIO - 1859.  The interesting device, built by Carlo Ponti, allowed the owner to view his photographs in black and white in the daytime and in color at night. This was accomplished by coloring the back of photographs and then viewing them when lit from behind during darkness (one wonders why they didn't just color the front of the photographs rather than build such and elaborate device). The model shown is unique in that almost all other similar models made by Ponti were of plain design while the above model was inlaid with ivory as was the photo storage stand. This model was in the Thurman Naylor Collection and on 19 October 2007 was auctioned off for $42,500. http://shutterbug.com/features/0906treasure/

PANTELEGRAPH - 1861. Giovanni Caselli, Italy, developed the first commercial fax machine, sending meassages between Paris and Lyon France.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Caselli

       

BUSINESS CARD - 1880s. Photographer's business card, 1800s style. Advertisement on the front, sample print on the back. Some business cards at that time were a little larger than today's credit-card sized models. This one is 4 x 6.5 inches.
 


ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL - 1880s.   Bell proposed an optical system for transmitting telephone signals without wires.  Additional information concerning Alexander Graham Bell can be found at: http://www.iath.virginia.edu/albell/homepage.
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/bellhtml/bellhome.html

 


PAUL NIPKOW - 1884.  Nipkow, a German inventor, developed and patented the world's first electromechanical television system, however, he had no method of amplifying the very weak signals (produced by a selenium cell) needed to build a workable receiver.  Nipkow used a rotating disk to send pictures over a wire in 1884.  This early idea of "cable television" was abandoned as impractical since the receiving screen couldn't be any bigger than one square inch!  Additional information concerning Paul Nipkow can be found at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Gotlieb_Nipkow

 

FIRST KODAK PATENT - 1888.  Copy of the first page of George Eastman's first patented camera design. Eastman coined the slogan, 'you press the button, we do the rest,' when he introduced the Kodak camera in 1888 and within a year it became a well-known phrase.

http://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/kodakHistory/eastmanTheMan.shtml




BOUTAN-CHAUFFOUR FLASH BULB - 1893.  The first flash bulb was designed by Frenchman Chauffour for use by underwater photographer Louis Boutan.  It contained magnesium inside a glass bulb filled with oxygen under pressure.  A platinum wire heated by passing an electric current through it ignited the magnesium.  Additional information concerning Louis Boutan can be found at:

http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/1249/Twentieth-Century-Photographic-Lighting.html
 

AMSTUTZ ELECTRO-ARTROGRAPH - 1895.  The cover story of a Scientific American issue described the Amstutz Electro-Artrograph which could scan photographs and transmit them over wire.  Illustrations showed a photograph, drawings of the devices on route to the destination, and the photo as reproduced by a receiving device. Drawings of transmitter and receiver shown above.  Scientific American, April 1985, page 12. "Digital Deal: Anniversaries Everywhere for Everything," Don Sutherland, Photo Trade News, August 2000.
 
 


THE CATHODE RAY TUBE (CRT) - 1897.   Electronic television is based on the development of the cathode ray tube (the picture tube found in modern television sets).  Cathode rays were first identified in 1859 by Julius Plucker, a German mathematician and physicist, but it was not until 1878 before William Crookes, a British chemist, would confirm the existence of cathode rays by building a tube that displayed them.  English physicist Ambrose Flemming, working with Crookes' tube, would discover that cathode rays could be deflected and focused.  This was accomplished by wrapping the tube with wire and passing an electric current through it creating a magnetic field.  In 1897, German physicist Karl Braun developed the first cathode ray oscilloscope.  Braun illuminated the cathode rays by placing fluorescent materials at the end of the tube.  As time passed these developments would be applied to the scanning system for today's television.  Additional information concerning the cathode ray tube can be found at:
http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blcathoderaytube.htm
 


POULSEN TELEGRAPHONE - 1898.  On December 1st 1898, Valdemar Poulsen filed a patent in Denmark for the Telegraphone, the first device in history to use magnetic sound recording.  An extract from his patent reads: "The invention based upon the fact that when a body made of magnetisable material is touched at different points and at different times by an electromagnet included in a telephonic or telegraphic circuit, its parts are subject to such varied magnetic influences that conversely by the action of the magnetisable body upon the electromagnet the same sounds or signals are subsequently given out in the telephone or recording instrument as those which previously caused the magnetic action upon the magnetisable body."  At the 1900 Paris Exposition Poulsen recorded the voice of Emperor Franz Joseph, creating what is believed to be the earliest surviving magnetic recording.  Additional information concerning Valdemar Poulsen can be found at:

http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist/poulsen.html
http://toutelatsf.free.fr/poulsen.htm

1800s
 

1800s
1900 - 1920
1920s
1930s
1940s
1950s
1960s
1970s
1980-83
1984-85
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995 A-C
1995 D-Z
1996 A-C
1996 D-N
1996 O-R
1996 S-Z
 1997 A-D
1997 E-H
1997 I-O
 1997 P-Q
 1997 R-S
1997 T-Z
1998 A-D
1998 E-F
1998 G-K
1998 L-N
1998 O-P
1998 Q-R
1998 S
1998 T-Z
1999+
   

None Such
Look Alikes
Useful Info
History Sites
FINDER