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The history of the digital camera

By Jakob Jelling

The technology behind the digital camera directly relates to and evolved from the identical machinery that recorded television pictures. In the year 1951, the first video tape recorder (VTR) retrieved and transported live images from television cameras by adapting the information into electrical pulses (known as digital signals) and saving the information inside magnetic tapes. By 1956 the VTR technology became perfect and became very common in use in the television media industry. Similar to these, the video cameras as well as digital cameras makes use of a Charged Coupled Device to detect light color and intensity.

Coming a few years down the lane, in the 1960's NASA converted analog signals to digital signals with their space probes to map the surface of the moon that was sending digital images back to earth. Even spy satellites used by many governments of different countries used this same technology for digital photography. This was a somewhat real implementation in the area of digital technology and digital camera technology as well. However the real birth of a technology is when it reaches out to the hands of the common man! In the year 1972, a film free electronic camera was invented and patented by Texas Instruments. In the year 1981 however, Sony revealed its pride, The Sony Mavica electronic still camera, the first commercial electronic camera. In this camera the images were taken and stored inside a mini disc and then transferred into a video-reader that was in turn connected to the monitor of a television or to a color printer. Yet, in its primitive stages this was not totally a perfect digital camera, it was like video camera capturing only video freeze-frames. But most importantly it had a revolutionary effect upon the market for such devices.

Ever since the 1970's Kodak has been upon the prowl for inventing several solid-state image sensors. For example, the first mega pixel sensor in 1986 and the Photo CD system in the year 1990. The first few digital cameras developed for the consumer-level market that communicated with a computer using serial cables were the Apple QuickTake 100 camera (released in February 17, 1994), the Kodak DC40 camera (released in March 28, 1995), the Casio QV-11 with LCD monitor (released in 1995), and Sony's Cyber-Shot Digital Still Camera (released in 1996). The "DYCAM MODEL 1" (Logitech FotoMan) was released in 1990. This "Dycam Model 1" B&W dig cam was the world's first entirely digital consumer-used camera. It could store 32 compressed images on a 1MB RAM. To discuss a few more are DA VINCI - in the year 1993. RICOH RDC-1 in the year 1995. This camera RDC-1 was the first digital camera to offering both still & moving photography as well as sound recording. Next comes the SONY Cyber shot DSC-MD1 - in the year 1997. And finally the FUJI In-Printer Camera in the year 1998 through 2000 is the world's first digital camera with an integral printer.

This brief analysis of the history regarding the history and evolution of digital cameras can act for any interested person, as a foundation towards the sea of knowledge and interesting materials that remains unexplored in the present and future of digital camera and digital photography. After all, history serves as the pedestal to a new tomorrow and a great future! So is the case for digital camera.

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