The Digital Camera Turns 35

December 14th, 2010 by Benj Edwards

35 Years of the Digital Camera Slideshow at PC World

35 years ago this month, Steve Sasson and his crew at a Kodak laboratory in Rochester, NY tested the world’s first digital camera for the first time. The device only took 100×100 pixel photos, storing them on audio cassette tape.

Sounds like a good excuse to create a slideshow overview of digital camera history, doesn’t it? Mosey on over to PC World and check out what I put together — “35 Years of the Digital Camera.”

8 Responses to “The Digital Camera Turns 35”

  1. Donn Says:

    I had a Nikon Coolpix 100. Would have it still, for posterity, except it got killed by an upended water bottle in my backpack as I hiked Diamondhead in 2001. RIP. My dad still has an old Apple QuickTake.

  2. Benj Edwards Says:

    Very cool, Donn. My first digital camera was a Kodak DC260 in 1998. It was neat for the time, but I was very happy to upgrade.

  3. Andrew Fisher Says:

    At a recent retro gaming event I met someone with a very retro camera – one of the early Kodak models that saved its images to 3.5″ disk. It seemed wholly appropriate.

  4. jdiwnab Says:

    Very interesting read. I find it interesting that, even though I knew cameras where evolving fast (still know, but we are looking back, arn’t we?), I didn’t realize quite how fast. Years of super low res images just getting more compact, then suddenly jumping from 1.3MP up to 35MP in a few years.

    I would have also been interested in seeing a price comparison and maybe some example images of the early camera, if possible. Similar to the Apple II portrait from earlier this week.

  5. Benj Edwards Says:

    Sample images would have been great, if I had the room. I’ve had to simplify my PC World slideshows recently because they’re clamping down on the word count for the captions. As a result, I don’t have room to explain much history. The target is under 50 words/slide now. I used to write 200 words per slide, which really pushed the limits and commonly made my combined caption text much longer than most feature articles on the web. Working for PC World is still great, though.

  6. jdiwnab Says:

    Ah, that explains the very short descriptions. I was wondering why it wasn’t as verbose as your normal articles are. It’s a shame they won’t let you explain more.

  7. the_woz Says:

    I was going to say that the 1981 Sony Mavica was the first commercial digital camera, but according to wikipedia it stored analog NTSC still frames on a floppy disk.

  8. Benj Edwards Says:

    There were many still video cameras — like the Mavica — before digital cameras came along.

    If I had had more room in the captions, I would have explained that the 1988-89 Fujix DS-1P built off of earlier still video cameras by Fujix. Many still video cameras in the mid-late 1980s had optional interfaces to digitize the analog still video frames into computers. The DS-1P was simply the first of those still video cameras to do the digitization on the camera itself rather than in an external device. It stored its photos on a solid state, battery-backed SRAM digital memory card.

    Check out this previous RSOTW for a Canon still video camera:

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