BREMSON / CAMERZ MODEL 10 - Circa 1970. Reference the 1950s page. The Lustre-Pak, a wooden camera, was made by Bremson Photo Industries, Kansas City, Missouri for the purpose of taking high school yearbook photos. The above camera is a later version of their cameras which were rented to photographers, but with the difference that the it was manufactured by Photo-Control Corporation of Minneapolis, MN, for Bremson. Like the previous wood version, the above camera is entirely manual except for the shutter which also has an electronic release. Both used 35mm film and both used a string to allow the photographer to properly judge the distance to the subject, and like Bremson, Photo-Control Corporation is no longer in existence. Both the old and new version are extremely rare, especially in the near mint condition of the above sample. At the time of this writing, one seller had the lens portion without magazine "on sale" for $399.
CCD VIDEO CAMERA - 1970. In 1970 Bell Labs
researchers constructed the world's first solid-state video camera using a CCD
as the imaging device.
YASHICA ELECTRO 35 GS- 1970. The Yashica Electro 35 GS is a coupled-rangefinder, leaf-shuttered 35mm camera with aperture-priority automatic exposure. The Electro 35 GS/GT was released in 1970 by Yashica. The lens is a Color-Yashinon DX 1:1.7 f=45mm lens made in Japan and is identical to the one on the Electro G that precedes it and the GSN that follows it.
CCD Wafer CCD Construction Assembled CCD
EIGHT-INCH FLOPPY DISKETTE - 1970. IBM invented the eight-inch floppy diskette and its drive to improve the distirbution of microcode patches and diagnostics. It was first used in 1971 on the IBM System/370 Model 145. The eight-inch floppy won rave reviews for its reusability, portability, and inexpensive high-density storage capability. Now it would take a hundred thousand of those original eight-inch floppies (80 KB each) to store the same data that many digicamers routinely place onto their 8-GB Compact Flash card. Later versions of the eight-inch floppy had a capacity of about 256 KB (information thanks to David Fiedler).
FIRST COMMERCIAL SSTV CAMERA AND MONITOR - 1970. Robot Research, Inc. produces the first commercial version of the slow scan TV HAM radio image transmission devices originally developed by Copthorne McDonald in 1957. The company's first products were the 70A monitor (left) and 80A camera (center). Robot Research still produces SSTV equipment today and their products are used by many HAM operators. The Kenwood handheld VC-H1 is also popular for amateur radio transmission of images (see 1998). Products of both companies can frequently be found on eBay.
INTEL 4004 MICRO PROCESSOR - 1971. In November, 1971, Intel publicly introduced the world's first single chip microprocessor, the Intel 4004, invented by Intel engineers Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stan Mazor (left to right above). The 4004 contained 2250 transistors on a single chip.
DIGITAL CAMERA PATENT - Louis A. Lopes and Owen F. Thomas - 1971.
A digital camera capable of forming a picture of pattern of objects
either radiating or reflecting energy, which includes an oscillator
which can generate a ping-type or continuous-wave signal, which may be
amplified and if the target is not self-radiant, transmitted to a
stationary illuminator, which "illuminates" the target. The target
reflects or radiates energy to a rectangular array or matrix of
transducer elements, each of which corresponds to an element of the
object observed, and each of which is connected to an analog-to-digital
converter and then to a digital computer, or to logical circuitry
arranged to form a digital computation. The computer determines the
phase and amplitude from each element at a frequency of interest,
stores the values in an ordered array corresponding to the transducer
array, and performs the mathematical operation known as a
two-dimensional finite Fourier transform on the values to produce a new
array of values in complex notation. A similar array of absolute values
derived from the complex values, when fed into a printer, forms a
pictorial representation of the target which corresponds to the
intensities of the signal sources of the various parts of the target.
MCCORD/WESTPHAL DIGITAL ASTRONOMY PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT - 1971. Dr. Roger Clark submitted information concerning the use of equipment in 1971 and thereafter to produce digitized photographs of the moon and other astronomical objects. The camera head involved in the operation consisted of a silicon target of a vidicon tube which was scanned by an electron beam thereby producing an electrical signal that was then digitized and stored on tape. The electronics and tape recorder were mounted in a 53-cm electronics rack and the camera was attached to the rack by a cable.
This raises an interesting question, when should a photography system be described as digital photography? That is, if a series of independent components are used to first capture an analog image and then convert it into a digital image, should such a system be described as a digital camera? Where exactly do we draw the line between analog photography and digital photography? In general, this may not be a question of consequence except when the matter of who developed the first digital camera arises. I am not qualified to be the arbiter in such matters, so I merely present the material and viewers can come to their own conclusions.
To make matters a little more confused, I refer viewers to the bottom of my 1900-1920 page and the Bartlane Transmisson System. That system converted black and white photos into digits representing several shades of gray, and then transmitted the data via punched tape where the photos were then reconstructed on the other end. Strictly speaking, that system was a form of digital photography and could fairly be called the first instance of digital photography, or at least digital scanning.
The schematic shown above of the camera head is from a thesis by Jay Stuart Kunin which describes the McCord/Westphal project in detail.
Dr. Clark has a great deal of instructional material on his home page, so much so that it serves as a complete one stop location for everything having to do with digital photography.
After reading the material submitted by Dr. Clark, perhaps you would like to express your own opinion as what is a digital camera and who should get the credit for the first such camera.
The first Digital Camera: 1971, by Dr. Rodger N. Clark
Home Page, Dr. Roger N. Clark
THE FIRST E-MAIL - 1971. QWERTYUIOP, these letters (or something similar) made up the first message to be sent electronically over e-mail. If the letters looks familiar, it's because they make up the top row of the standard keyboard. The person responsible for the first e-mail was Ray Tomlinson, a computer engineer. Tomlinson was employed by Bolt Beranek and Newman, a company contracted by the United States Defense Department in 1968 to build ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet. Before the first message could be sent Tomlinson needed to come up with an address. He chose the @ symbol to distinguish addresses to mailboxes in a local machine and messages that were to be sent out onto the network. Tomlinson says that he chose the @ symbol because it wasn't a person's name and for it's symbolic meaning, at; someone@someplace. The first two machines to communicate via email were actually sitting right next to each other, both connected to the ARPANET. At that time, computers communicated through a separate computer on the ARPANET network. This was where the transfer of "QWERTYUIOP" took place. Within two years seventy-five percent of ARPANET traffic was e-mail.
Canon Canonet 28 - 1971-76. Lens f/2.8 40 mm. Shutter 1/30 - 1/620 sec. MSRP with case $64 US (about $345 in 2010 dollars). It was purchased on eBay in excellent condition for $10.
FUJICA ST701 - 1971. The Fujica ST701 was the first camera using a silicon photo-cell receptor coupled to a field effect transistor (FET) circuit for light metering. The FET photo cell provided higher sensitivity, instantaneous response and more precise measurement of light compared to Cadmium-Sullfide (CdS) photo-cells used by other cameras at that time. The mercury batteries (1.35 volts) originally sold with the ST701 are no longer available. Owners should replace the old batterie with zinc/air cells of 1.35 volts such as Everready 675. Do not use alkaline cells of 1.55-1.6 volts because they will not work in the ST701. It may be necessary to to wrap the new batteries with tape or paper as they will probably be smaller in diameter than the original batteries. The ST701's f/1.8, 55 mm lens is considered to be of very good quality. The ST701 was also available with a chrome top in addition to the black top shown above. The above camera with f/1.8, 55 mm lens and case was purchased on eBay in very good to excellent condiiton for $10.
ONE-STEP INSTANT PHOTOGRAPHY, Polaroid SX-70 - 1972. The Polaroid SX-70 Land camera is introduced - the first fully automatic, motorized, folding, single lens reflex camera which ejected self-developing, self-timing instant color prints. Many consider the SX-70 to be Dr. Land's masterpiece. Original MSRP $180. The above kit in very good to excellent condition was obtained on eBay for $49, however, some vendors are currently (fall, 2010) askng as much as $390 for the same item. There are a great many SX-70s available on eBay, so be selective in your choice.
FIRST U.S. ELECTRONIC PHOTOGRAPHY SYSTEM PATENT - 1972. Texas Instruments patented a film-less electronic camera. Inventor: Willis A. Adcock; (Dallas, TX). Assignee: Texas Instruments Incorporated (Dallas, TX). Filed: June 27, 1972 and again on October 29, 1976 and June 23, 1977. Abstract : "A completely electronic system for recording and subsequently displaying still life pictures includes an optical-electronic transducer for generating electronic signals responsive to an optical image. The signals are stored and subsequently applied to a visual display. Means are provided for applying the signals at a scan rate synchronized with the scan rate of the display to effect a stationary display of the optical image. Preferably, the display is a conventional television set."
Schematic Diagram of Willis Adcock's Electronic Photography System
Proposed Camera Designs (Note Tape Drives), and Portion of CCD Sensor Design
The computerized patent office filing system only extended back to 1975 at the time of this posting, however, the refilings made in 1976 and 1977 are essentially the same as the original 1972 application and can be viewed in their entirety, including drawings, by doing a patent search. To perform this search, go to the patent office's web site shown below and select "Patents" in the drop-down menu. When the patents' page appears, select "Quick Search." On the quick search page place the patent number in the "Term 1" box and select "Patent Number" in the "Field 1" (4,057,830 or 4,163,256) box. In the "Select years" box select "All years" and press the search button. To view the patent drawings, which are TIFF images, you must first download TIFF plug-ins which are free.
For PCs use:
AlternaTIFF: http://www.alternatiff.com/(tested: IE, Netscape, Opera)
interneTIFF: http://www.innomage.com/interneTIFF.html(tested: IE, Netscape)
For the Apple Macintosh�, Apple's freely distributed Quicktime version 4.1 or later works, but does not provide printing capability. It is available from the Apple Web site at: http://www.apple.com/software/.
For Linux�, a plug-in called "Plugger" works with Netscape Communicator�. It is available at: http://fredrik.hubbe.net/
The U.S. Patent Office web site is at: http://www.uspto.gov
Date reference: http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bldigitalcamera.htm
RCA PROTOTYPE CCD TV CAMERA - 1972. The
camea used a CCD from Bell Labs with 32 x 44 pixels. For more
detailed information on this and much other early digital technology
see the excellent web site below by D. van Hall.
YASHICA ELECTRO 35 GSN- 1970.
The design of the Yashica Electro GSN essentially goes back to the
first Electro 35 rangefinder released in 1965 and was not changed until
the end of the production of the GSN in 1987. Its size is comparable to
that of the Konica Auto S2 and the elder Minolta Hi-Matic models 7S, 9,
and 11. It had a fast 1:1.7 45mm lens. There is a similar black
finished model called Electro 35 GTN.
COMMERCIAL CCD - 1973. Fairchild Imaging successfully
developed and produced the first commercial charge coupled device in 1973 with
a size of 100 x 100 pixels. In 1974,
the above Fairchild CCD and an 8-inch telescope were used by james R. Janesick to produce the first astronomical
CCD image (see James R. Janesick below). It was also used in the world's first known operational
electronic CCD still image camera which was constructed by Steve Sasson of Kodak
(see farther down on this web page).
FAIRCHILD MV-100 - 1973. The Fairchild MV-100 had the same 100 x 100 pixel CCD as the below MV-101 and was the first commercially available CCD. For more detailed information concenring the Fairchild cameras and other early digital technolgy see D. van Hall's excellent site below.
FAIRCHILD MV-101 - 1973. The MV-101 was about 76mm in diameter
48mmin length (without lens). The 100x100 pixel CCD was developed by
Fairchild and was the first CCD to be marketed (1) . The Fairchild MV-101 was used to perform Procter & Gamble
inspections (2) and was also used in the world's first still
image digital camera hand-built by Steve Sasson of Kodak - see article
below: KODAK PROTOTYPE CCD DIGITAL CAMERA - 1975. MSRP $4,000 (3) .
See 1981 page, UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY FAIRCHILD ALL-SKY CCD CAMERA - 1981, for use of the Fairchild CCD by the University of Calgary in their All-Sky camera. Television
(1) Applications of
interline-Transfer CCD Arrays, Kenneth A. Hoagland,
1976 (Fairchild Corp.), page 154 (This article is available on the
Internet as a PDF document:
(2) From Presentation by K. W. White, Electronic Imaging International Conference, 1993. The
article by K. W. White discussing the use of the Fairchild MV-101
camera to perform Procter & Gamble product inspections is no longer
available on the web, but may be purchased from the German National
Library of Science and Technology
(3) TV Technology On Display in New York: by Stephen Traiman. Lincoln Center. "Pocket-sized solid-state camera shown by Farichild" (MV-101 CCD-charge coupled device at $4,000). Billboard, 8 February 1975, page 47.
JAMES R. JANESICK AND THE FIRST
ASTRONOMICAL CCD IMAGE - 1974.
Using a Fairchild 100 x 100 pixel CCD (see 1973 above) and an 8-inch
telescope, an amateur astronomer, James Janesick, took the first ever
CCD astronomical image, a photo of the moon's craters (to the left of
the blue ribbon). He modulated the Z-input of his Heath Kit
oscilloscope with the analog video generated by the CCD and binary TTL
counters to generate and X-Y raster. He then took a picture
of the scopes screen using Tri-X photographic film with a Nikon
camera. Pictures are from a book
entitled Scientific Charge-Coupled Devices, James R. Janesick, 2001,
page 10, Figure 1.2(b) and page 12 Figure 1.3(a).
THEN AND NOW. The two camera components (CCD camera and support equipment) on the left were part of the first traveling CCD camera and system used to introduce (and sell) the CCD to astronomers at major observatories (who at the time were all using photographic film). The heavy 28 pound card cage at the bottom of the rack had a "whopping" 400 x 400 x 16 bits of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) (i.e., 5.12 M-bits = 0.64 M-bytes) required to slowly dump CCD data onto a Cipher tape drive. The custom memory cost JPL nearly $200,000! In comparison the memory stick on the right is a new Kingston 1 Tera-byte (one trillion bytes) memory flash drive card which costs today (2015) ~ $879 with much lower prices expected. Dividing 1 TB by 0.64 MB yields 1.56 M time more memory capacity with unbelieveable lower cost - that's what I call improvement!
ANYONE? The photo on the left is of a collection of early CCDs
tested by Jim Janesick and Tom Elliott (vidicon tubes used before
the CCD are located in the upper right hand corner). The first photo on
the right of the 'CCD table' is a very early developmental 1 x 128
Fairchild CCD; the first CCD tested at JPL. The second photo is
the first commercially available 1 x 500 pixel linear CCD. Both imagers
were 'quickly' surpassed by the 100 x 100 area array CCD. The
largest CCD on the table is a 9000 x 7000 x 12 um pixel CCD
fabricated by JPL/Phillips Lab in the mid eighties (see picture below).
Yep, there were many developmental steps (and ~ 40 years) between that
first commercial CCD and the amazing imaging technology we have today
(photos by James R. Janesick).
Books available on Amazon and elswhere by James R. Janesick
MORE ON JAMES R. JANESICK:
Janesick was a young research engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., in the early 1970s, where he worked on the imaging system for the Hubble space telescope. At the time, engineers were actually considering putting film in the telescope's cameras and sending astronauts to retrieve it, or using old-fashioned vidicon camera tubes. The fact that CCDs were 100 times as sensitive as either film or camera tubes, Janesick says, led them to quickly sweep through the field of astronomy and completely dominate scientific imaging today.
In addition to the above books, Janesick has authored or co-authored a number of articles concerning CCD and CMOS devices and currenlty teaches courses on that topic at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He served as Director, Advanced Sensors Group at the Sarnoff Corporation. Prior to that he was with Conexant Systems Inc., developing CMOS imaging arrays for commercial applications. He was technology director of Pixel Vision, Inc. for five years, developing high-speed backside-illuminated CCDs for scientific and cinema cameras. Prior to this, he was with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 22 years, where as group leader he designed scientific ground and flight-based imaging systems. He has authored 75 publications and has contributed to many NASA Tech Briefs and patents for various CCD and CMOS innovations. Mr. Janesick received NASA medals for Exceptional Engineering Achievement (1982 and 1992) and was the recipient of the SPIE (a not-for-profit international professional society for optics and photonics technology) Educator Award (2004) and was SPIE/IS&T Imaging Scientist of the Year (2007).
Taking the first astronomical CCD photo ever would
assure one's place in history, but that first acorn of accomplishment
has since grown into a mighty oak of scientific and astronomical
achievements that the young amateur astronomer of that time could hardly have
forseen. Would that we had many more like him.
FIRST CCD CELESTIAL IMAGE, THE PLANET URANUS - 1975.
A JPL camera system based on a 400 x 400 x 15 um pixel Texas
Instruments CCD was used on the Kuiper 61- inch Telescope at Mt.
Lemmon to capture the first professional CCD images of Uranus and
Saturn shown below. At that time Voyager had not reached these planets
and scientists (most notably Brad Smith) wanted to know the diameter of
planet Uranus better before the spacecraft passed by. The dark region
in the center of Uranus corresponds to methane bands close to the
southern pole (at that time the axis of Uranus was almost perfectly
pointed at the sun). These were the first CCD images taken
beyond the moon. The photo on the right is of Janesick as a young man
and the CCD camera system used at Mt Lemmon to take early CCD
astronomical images. Photos are from Scientific Charge-Coupled Devices, James R.
Janesick, 2001, page 10 Figure 1.2(b) and page 12 Figure 1.3(a).
First CCD image of Saturn - 1975.
FIRST COLOR PHOTO FROM THE SURFACE OF MARS - 1976 Taken by the Viking I Lander , July 21, 1976. Lander camera shown on the right.
VIKING I ORIBITER PHOTOS -
1976. The primary Viking instrument on the orbiter
consisted of two vidicon cameras for imaging (shown above). The Viking
vidicon tube design presented above is a storage type tube imager where
incoming photons generate charge within the front face
photoconductor. Quickly thereafter the photoconductor is then
scanned by a beam of low-velocity electrons. The fluctuating x-y
scanning beam current is amplified and displayed on a TV monitor to
reproduces the scene that was imaged. The image stored on the
photoconductor is automatically erased by the beam of electrons
(Vidicon photo taken by James Janesick).
orbiter generated tens of thousands of images. The photo on the
left is the famous face image that caused so much public discussion
early on. The middle photo is of Mars' moon Phobos and the one
on the right is of Mars' Dromore crater showing clear evidence that
water once existed on Mars. The two orbiter spacecraft were
deliberately placed in orbits around Mars where they would remain in
space for at least fifty years to kill off any stray microbes to avoid
contaminating the planet as the search for life on Mars continues to
this day. As far as we know the orbiters still continue to circle the
Four SoloHi CMOS imagers butted together for a 3840(V) x 4096 (H) x 10 um pixel format. Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager (SoloHI) spacecraft observing the sun at close range.
Work is now going on toward a 10k x 10k imager (100-megapixel).
Solar Probe Plus will come even closer than SoloHi for
For more on James Janesick, CCD technology and use of CCDs in space click here
CCD FABRICATION - 1974. Dr. Gil Amelio conceives a fabrication process that allows CCDs to be produced on a conventional wafer fabrication line.
SONY AVC-3250 - 1974. The AVC-3250 was used in many schools and corporate video studios of the time. Two thirds-inch vidicon tube for pickup, detachable four-inch CRT viewfinder for aiming. Lens: f 1.8, 12.5mm - 75mm. 6 to 1 zoom. This camera and others in the series were the work horses of their day. For those interested, a fine collection may be established sticking just to video cameras. See the web site below for an idea of items available. The above camera with two lenses and case with accessoiries, all in excellent conditon, were purchased on eBay for just $76.
Shown below is the Akai VC-115 studio videocamera which was used for much the same purposes as the Sony AVC-3250.
TEAC HC-100 - 1974. Shown above is a TEAC video camera similar to the Akai VC-115 , the HC-100. For those collectors looking for a specialty area, early vidoe cameras and camcorders are plentiful in excellent condition and at bargain basement prices. This HC-100 in with fitted cased was obtained on eBay for only $20.
KODAK XL 340 - 1974. One of the many amateur movie cameras marketed by Kodak over the years that can now be purchased by the collector in excellent condition very inexpensively . Film: Super 8 cartridge. Shutter: 9, 18 frames per second. Lens: Manual focus Ektar 9-21mm f/1.2
MAMIA RB67 PRO S - 1974. Medium foremat (6 x 7 cm) camera. The RB67 had a rotating back which enabled photographs to be taken in either landscape or portrait orientation without rotating the camera, a very valuable feature for studio cameras mounted on heavy tripods. . The RB67 soon became widely used by professional studio photographers. In 1995 Kodak marketed the Kodak 463c (color) and 465m (monotone) digital backs for the RB67.
POLAROID / USI INC. M500 PASSPORT / ID SYSTEM - 1975. Polaroid
has marketed a great many different instant photo products over the
years, many of which are not known to the general public because they
were sold for industrial/scientific or medical purposes. Some of
these appear on eBay from time-to-time. The M500 ID system kit
contained a camera capable of taking four instant photos at one time,
four of the same photo, two photos of two, or four different
photos. The camera had a built-in flash and variable exposure
system. This early model kit included the Polaroid M500
mountable camera, mounting stand, photo die cutter, heat laminator,
supplies and carrying case. The system was produced in
conjunction with USI Inc., a producer of laminating products and other
office equipment. This particular sample appears to have had
little or no use as all items in the set are in mint condition.
The stand appears to have never been removed from its stow-away
position and the carrying case does not have the usual scratches and
abrasions normally present indicating that it has been moved
SATCOM 1 - 1975. SATCOM 1, America's first commercially available geo-stationary satellite was placed into orbit by a Delta rocket December 12, 1975. Geo-stationary means that the satellite was placed at a distance above the earth's surface and over the equator where it would revolve around the earth within the exact same time period that it takes for the earth to rotate on its axis (synchronous orbit). This causes the satellite to stay continually above the same point over the earth's surface so that satellite receivers do not have to follow a moving satellite. It also means that spy satellites can view the same area of the earth's surface twenty-four hours a day.
BAYER COLOR FILTER ARRAY - 1975. Bryce
Bayer invented the color filter array that bears his name (the Bayer
filter), which is incorporated into nearly every digital camera and
camera phone on the market today. Described in U.S. Patent 3,971,065,
"Color Imaging Array," filed in 1975, color filters are arranged in a
checkerboard pattern to best match how people perceive images, and
provide a highly detailed color image. The Bayer Filter enables a
single CCD or CMOS image sensor to capture color images that otherwise
would require three separate sensors attached to a color beam splitter
- a solution that would be large and expensive. The red, green, and
blue colors of the Bayer filter are fabricated on top of the
light-sensitive pixels as the image sensor is manufactured, a process
pioneered by Kodak. The drawing on the right of Mr. Bayer's photo
is from his notebokk where he first describes the Bayer system color
BETAMAX - 1975. Sony introduced Betamax videotape, the first successful consumer videocassette. The first Betamax product released in the United States, the combination LV-1901 TV/VCR floor model, appeared in November 1975 priced at $2295. The one hour Betamax cartridges were considerably smaller than the earlier U-matic cartridges, and the system derived its name from the resemblance of the tape path inside the mechanism to the Greek letter "Beta" The LV-1901 contained a 19" color TV and the SL-6200 VCR, which went on sale in Japan on May 10, 1975. The LV-1901 shown above is on display at the American Museum of the Moving Image along with many other vintage TV and video products. Click on image of the LV-1901 to see an enlarged view.
FIRST CCD FLATBED SCANNER TO READ TEXT WRITTEN IN ANY NORMAL FONT- 1975. Invented by Kurzweil of Computer Products using the first integrated chip. Ray Kurzweil and his team at Kurzweil Computer Products created the Kurzweil Reading Machine and the first omni-font OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology. They did this work in support of individuals who are blind. The world's first commercially viable flatbed scanner was developed later in 1984 by Samir Lehaff of Eskofot inDenmark (information provided by Ron Tussy of The Imerge Group).
ALTAIR 8800 HOME COMPUTER - 1975. The Mits Corporation introduced the first popular home computer, the Altair. The Altair computer kit sold for about $400 and began the personal computer revolution.
POLAROID ELECTRIC ZIP CAMERA- 1975-78. One of the less expensive Polaroids with an MSRP of $21.95 (about $89 in 2010 dollars). It was available in red, white, blue or black.
WHO INVENTED DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY? This question is often seen on web sites, but as shown by the material presented on this and previous pages, the correct answer is NO ONE. It has been a steady progression over time involving many persons, some who are noted on this and other sites, but much work has also been done by a multitude of anonymous engineers working for varius companies throughout the world. As noted below, Steve Sasson is given credit for construction of the first working, single unit digital camera that could be held in one's hands, but his work depended upon the efforts of many others. Some would like to arbitrarily give credit for the invention of digital photography to one person or another who envisioned such a device, but if that is to be the criteria, the credit for almost every known invention would have to go to various science fiction writers who "envisioned" such devices long before they were ever built. "Envisioning" such devices without detailed explanations of how they would actually be constructed, such as is required for patents, does not qualify in the minds of most as making one an inventor of such devices.
KODAK PROTOTYPE CCD DIGITAL CAMERA - 1975. A Kodak engineer, Steve J. Sasson, holds a camera he constructed, the world's first known still image digital camera. The camera used the newly developed Fairchild black and white 100 X 100 Pixel (.01 megapixel) CCD as an image sensor and required 23 seconds to record a single image onto digital cassette tape (photo shown on the right). The camera weighed 8 1/2 pounds. Rochester (NY) Democrat & Chronicle, page 8D, October 16, 2001.
HITACHI (SHIBA) SHIBADEN FP-100 - 1975. WHO INVENTED DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY? Example of a professional model closed circuit studio TV camera of the era. Lens:Shibaden Fujinon TV zoom 1:1.8, F=20-100mm. Shiba Electric merged with Hitachi Electric in 1973 to form Shinsei Hitachi Electronics.
MINOLTA SR-T 200 - 1975. Lens Minolta Rokkor f/2 50 mm. Shutter 1-1/1000 sec plus B. The above camera in near mint condition was obtained on eBay for $20 although Mckeown's indicates a price range of $100-$150.
CANON 110ED, Vivitar 600 - 1975, 1976. The Canon 110ED and Vivitar 600 were two of many 110 cameras marketed by Canon, Vivitar and others during the 70's. Canon: lens f2/ 25mm. Shutter: 8 - 1/500sec. Vivitar: f8 24mm. Shutter 1/250 sec only.
VIVITAR 220-SL - 1976. What will $25 get you these days? How about a Vivitar 220-SL 35 mm camera, a 50 mm lens, a 200 mm lens, a 2X tele adapter, and a flash, all in near mint condition. Unfortunately, the camera did not come with a manual. An original manual cost an additional $28.90, more than all the equipment previously mentioned!
KEYSTONE XL200 - 1976-80. The XL200 had a fixed-focus f/1.1 lens with 9-18mm zoom. Exposure was by CdS photocell on Super 8 film. Original MSRP was around $122, which would be about $493 in 2012 dollars. All cameras have a story to tell, but unless you happen to know the previous owner you generally receive only the camera itself with no idea of its previous history. This case is a lttle different. The box contained the gift card shown above telling us a little bit about who it was purchased for and by whom. The outer envelope says mom and dad. The gift card tells us that this fairly expensive camera was intended to cover several occasions: Father's Day, Mother's Day, and someone's birthday; and was presumably given by their children, Nancy, Tim and Kim. If Nancy, Tim or Kim happens to come across this web site, be assured that your thoughtfull gift now has a happy home and will be well cared for indefinitely into the future.
KODAK ANALYST - 1975. If you like to collect unusual cameras there are many available, often quite inexpensively. For example, the Kodak Analyst Super 8 shown below is a Super 8 movie camera with one unusal feature - it has a timer which allows the user to take time lapse photographs rather than movies. The Analyst appears on eBay fairly frequently and can be purchased in excellent condition for about $30.
FIRST PHOTO FROM ANOTHER PLANET, VENERA-9 - 1975. On October 20, 1975 The Soviet lander Venera-9 transmitted the above panorama from Venus.
KH-11 RECONNAISSANCE SATELLITE - 1976. The KH-11, referenced by the codenames Crystal and Kennan , also commonly known as Big Bird, was a type of reconnaissance satellite launched by the American National Reconnaissance Office from December 1976 to October 2005. Manufactured by Lockheed, the KH-11 was the first American spy satellite to utilize electro-optical digital imaging, and create a real-time optical observation capability. It is believed to resemble the Hubble Space Telescope in size and shape, as the satellites were shipped in similar containers. Using a powerful 2.3-meter mirror, the theoretical ground resolution with no atmospheric degradation would be approximately 6 inches. Data was transmitted through the United States military's Satellite Data System relay network. Shown above is a leaked KH-11 photo showing the Nikolaiev 444 shipyard in the Black Sea taken in 1984.
CANON AE-1 - 1976. First 35mm camera with built-in microprocessor (CPU - central processing unit). TTL Cds meter. About $630 with f1.4 lens. That would be about $2,549 in 2012 dollars. Click on image for enlarged view.
PETRI FT 1000 - 1976. Previously Kuribayashi, the Petri company went bankrupt in 1977. Those manufactured under the Kuribayashi name are quite rare and highly sought after in Japan. The above camera with three lenses, all in excellent condition, and an original manual were purchased on eBay for a winning bid of $10.
MINOLTA ZOOM SLR - 1976. First 110mm SLR camera. 25-50mm, f/4.5-f/16 zoom lens.
5.25-INCH FLOPPY DISK - 1976. In 1976 Shugart Associates began production of 5.25 disk drives, believed to be the first standard computer medium that was not promulgated by IBM. On the right is something rarely seen these days outside of a museum - an unopened package of 5 1/4-inch floppies. Package kindly donated by our good friends, Ruth and Ken Schumacher.
VHS - 1976. JVC
introduced VHS (video home system),
the most successful of all home video formats. It was introduced as a
Sony Betamax. � inch, 250 lines of resolution. Maximum
length of tape was 180 minutes in SP mode, 540 minutes in EP mode.
JVC HR-3300 - 1976. The first VHS home video cassette recorder was introduced in Japan by Japan Victor Corporation in September of 1976. In April of 1976 JVC had demonstrated a VHS prototype to Sony, but Sony considered VHS to be a copy of Beta and refused to adopt the VHS design. VHS eventually replaced Sony's Betamax design in the comsumer market although Beta is stilled used for non-consmer products.
SONY SL-7200 - 1976. The first stand-alone Sony Betamax VCR in the United States, the SL-7200, came on the market in February 1976 priced at $1295. This unit sold much better than the previous TV/VCR combo LV-1901. The external clock to turn the unit on and off at preset times was an optional accessory. The clock was placed externally at the request of Sony chairman Akio Morita. Upon seeing a prototype unit in a lab with an internal clock, he insisted that the clock be external so that if the clock malfunctioned it could be repaired without requiring that the entire VCR be brought into a service center. http://www.cedmagic.com/history/betamax-sl-7200-1976.html
APPLE I - 1977. Apple introduced its first home computer, the Apple I. The Apple I was based on the MOStek 6502 chip, whereas most other kit computers were built from the Intel 8080. The Apple I was sold through several small retailers and included only the circuit board. Users bought the workings and built their own case. A tape-interface was sold separately. The Apple I's initial cost was $666.66. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the most famous members of the Homebrew Computer Club, designed the Apple I in 1976. Many leaders in mainline computer companies like IBM and Digital did not believe that personal computers were powerful enough to have a market. Sales of the Apple I and other PC's that followed proved them wrong. Click on image to see enlarged view. http://photo2.si.edu/infoage/infoage.html
APPLE II- 1977.
The first Apple II's were shipped in June 1977 and retailed for $1298
each. The Apple II was the first computer with a color display, and it
had the BASIC programming language built-in, so it was ready-to-run
right out of the box. The Apple II could be considered the first
CASI PHOTO SYSTEM - 1977. The CASI was intended to be used for the making of portraits, the first commercial use of such a system. It required the use of a TV camera, computer and printer. The company, Computer Amusement Systems Inc., is still in business. June 1984 Popular Science, page 129. Photo and information provided by Mike Mozart, JeepersMedia. http://www.youtube.com/user/JeepersMedia
KONICA C35-AF - 1977. Konica introduced the C35-AF, the world's first compact point-and-shoot autofocus camera. It used two mirrors, one of which pivoted as the lens changed focus. Image contrast was greatest when the two images merged on the focusing sensor. At that time a solenoid stopped the moving lens at the appropriate focus distance. Hexanon 38mm f/2.8 lens. Shutter 1/6- - 1/250 second. Built-in flash and motor drive
ROLLEI 35T - 1978. When the Rollei 35 was first introduced in 1966, it was the world's smallest mass produced full frame 35 mm camera. It could fit in a shirt pocket (H = 2.57inches, W = 4 inches, D = 1.5 inches). High quality all metal construction and high quality optics led to its great success. The lens collapsed and receded into the body. Front mounted f-stop and shutter speed controls were linked to a match needle" metering system. In order to make use of all available space the hot shoe flash mount was positioned on the bottom of the camera. Other oddities included a left hand film advance and a completely removable back for film loading. Various models have been produced with the SE model being the most advanced. Originally made in Germany, some production was done in Singapore.
RCA BW003 - 1978. An
example of an early consumer video camera. The B-003 was a 2/3 inch
vidicon camera that was intended to compliment early VHS machines and
allow the consumer to shoot home movies. The viewfinder is a simple
peep sight with a reticule marked for either a 25mm or a 12.5mm lens
for close-up and/or wide angle shooting. The microphone was built into
the front of the camera. Many such early video cameras are available to
the collector very inexpensively. The one shown above was purchased on
eBay in excellent condition with manual, converter and cables for $20. MSRP about $400 ($1,300 in 2015).
KODAK TELE-EKTRA - 1978. Kodak's version of an inexpensive 110 camera. Many manufacturers produced 110 cameras during this time period and they make an interesting collection in and of themselves. They take up very little space and most are very inexpensive. The above camera in excellent condition with manual and a box of vintage flashbulbs was purchased for $3.00.
Kodak Instant Cameras - 1976-86. In October 1985, after nine years of patent litigation with Polaroid, Kodak was banned from making and selling instant cameras and film. The ban took effect January 1986, at which time Kodak announced a trade-in program. The owners of 16.5 million cameras were given the chance to trade in their cameras for a share of Kodak common stock, a new camera, or $50 worth of Kodak merchandise. By June of 1986, several class action lawsuits had been filed against Kodak by instant camera owners. The final settlement called for owners to return the camera's nameplate for a refund of cash and credits. The numerous Kodak Instant cameras without nameplates have virtually no collector or commercial value. Some Kodak instant cameras have the following names: Champ, Colorburst, EK, Handle, Happy Times, Kodamatic, Partyflash, Party Star, Partytime, Pleaser, Trimprint. Shown above left to right: Colorburst 100 (1978-80) MSRP $45, two Colorburst 200 (1978-80), MSRP $59.50, EK4 (1976-78), MSRP $53.50, The Handle (1977-79), MSRP $39.95, and The Handle2 (1979-81), MSRP $40.
POLAROID SONAR ONESTEP PRONTO - 1978. The Sonar Onestep was one of the rather unique cameras that Polaroid produced using high frequency sound waves to operate the autofocus system. That is, it determined the distance to the subject in somewhat the same way as a bat does, by emitting high frequency sounds that bounces back to the camera, but which cannot be heard by human ears.
NOVELTIES - One area where one can collect a great many photography items without spending a lot of money and without requiring a lot of storage space. The types of camera novelties available on eBay is almost unlimited: cuff links, cups, clothing, toys, office accessories, decorative items, fake cameras, storage containers, etc. Several are shown below.
COCA-COLA CHRISTMAS EDITION CAN CAMERA - 1970s. One of many can cameras made in the late 70s and early 80s. A 110 camera was fitted inside. Most can cameras were made by Eiko. With few exceptions, all of Eiko's cameras were "can cameras", that is, cameras built into a tin can. These were often sold or given away as promotions by soda and beer manufacturers. Various models were made from 1977 to 1983, but they all included a 110 camera hidden inside a can with a variety of nameplates. Many came from countries other than the U.S. and all were awkward to use.
FISHER PRICE GO TO THE ZOO CAMERA TOY - 1973. Each time the yellow button is pushed the flash cube rotates and a different zoo animal appears in the viewer.
MICKEY MOUSE CAMERA - 1975 . The first version of this camera used the right ear as a shutter release. Later versions had the shutter release on the side of the head. Date of the first version varies depending on the source, anywhere from the 50's to the 70's.
MODERN VIDEO DISC - 1978. Philips and Sony collaborated to make digital imagery a reality. Sound and images were digitally recorded and imprinted as micro-pits on a disc. A laser then optically scanned the information and converted it into pictures and sound on a home TV. Pioneer made use of the format as Karaoke Entertainment which made the format popular in commercial circles of Asia. Discs and players are readily available on eBay. Lewis M. Branscom, Confessions of a Technophile, 1995, page 130
FIRST OPTICAL DISC PLAYER- 1978. MCA DiscoVision and Philips worked together to introduce the new system, with MCA focusing on disc mastering and replication and Philips manufacturing and distributing the playback system through its Magnavox line of electronics. In december of 1978 MCA discs and Magnavox VH-8000 players went on sale in three Atlanta Georgia stores at $749 for the player. The technology later resulted in today's CDs.
SONY HVC-1000 - 1979. The HVC-1000 is an example of an early Beta video camera. Originally, the HVC-1000 required an adapter to record to Beta recorders. Later, it could record directly to the Sony SL-2000 and SL-2500 of 1982. The Sony BC-300 battery charger shown on the right was for NP-11 batteries used in Betamovie camcorders. It's somewhat unique in that it held three batteries and charged them sequentially one at a time. User could select the order of charging. Once a battery was charged it could be removed while the remainder continued to charge. Sony information provided by Jack Carter, Sony technician. The above camera with fitted hard case was purchased in excellent condition for only $9.99. MSRP $1,329.
RCA CC002 - 1979. A
semi-professional closed circuit video camera of the type used by
various schools and universities. For those looking for a specialized
area of collecting these types of video cameras are often available on
eBay at a fraction of their original cost. The camera above in
excellent condition in its original box was obtained for only $44.
Although not apparent in the above photo, the CC002 is significanlty
bigger and heavier than the typical home video camera of the same era. MSRP $850, about $2,700 in 2015
DIGITAL AUDIO TAPE SYSTEM - 1979. Sony introduces digital recording tape. CBS Records International is the first major record company headquarted in the United States to take delivery of Sony's new PCM-1600 (pulse code modulation) digital audio processor and editing equipment.
DURST M600 - 1979. Typical enlarger of the kind used during the era when many photography hobbyists developed and printed photos in their own home photo lab.
SONY TPS-L2 WALKMAN - 1979. Sony introduced the Walkman TPS-L2 personal stereo. A midnight-blue-and-silver with high quality sound, the TPS-L2 debuted in July 1979. Called the Soundabout in the United States, it didn't record or come with a speaker, but two could listen at once through a pair of headphone jacks, and an orange button called the Hotline let the owner talk over the music. MSRP $200. http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2004/07/early_music_sha.shtml
IN ASTRONOMY - 1979. An RCA 320 x 512-pixel
liquid nitrogen cooled CCD system began operation on a 1-meter telescope at
Kitt Peak National Observatory. Observations quickly demonstrated its
superiority over photographic plates. CCDs are best for high-resolution
imaging -- this is where they really come into their own. Because of the
dim light associated with large image scales, the relatively poor sensitivity
of photographic emulsions just cannot compete. CCD cameras are excellent
at imaging small planetary nebulae, and they can render thousands of obscure
galaxies as spectacular, exotic objects.
Kitt Peak National Observatory Orion Nebula (Click for large view.)
RESPONSE 300 SYSTEM - 1979. Scitex, an Israel-based company, marketed the Response 300 System which created full-color separations and allowed the operator to change image details or combine images. The Scitex Response 300 represented the first generally available technology that allowed treatment of a graphic arts page as a data file that could be electronically manipulated as a complete entity. Prior to that time, electronics and computers had seen use in graphic arts, but only to process data on the fly, without storage and without the ability to edit, change and manipulate complete page images. The U.S. topographic map at left was created using the Scitex Response 300 System. Click on image for enlarged view.
NIKON EM - 1979. The EM was intended to compete in the price range of the Canon AE-1 and Olympus OM-10. The above camera in near mint condition with two lenses, a flash and a very nice camera bag was obtained on eBay for $36.
ELIJA EUGENE CAMPBELL - 1979. In 1979, Elijah Eugen Campbell of New Zealand designed an electronic still camera, but was unable to interest any of the major electronics manufactures. In 1981, Sony demonstrated the MAVICA still video camera which, in effect, obviated the need for Campbell to continue with his project.