Digital Photography

Brief: write 400 words on a Digital invention.

Photography has become a popular hobby for a lot of people since digital cameras have reduced in price and have become easier for people to use. Previously Photography was a specialised area consisting of amateur enthusiasts and professional Photographers.

Digital Cameras started off in the world of television, the first Video Tape Recorder showed live programmes using elecrical impulses (which is digital!) on to magnetic tape. Television and Video cameras used the CCD technology (Charged Coupled Device) which was created by George Smith and Willard Boyle, from Bell Labs, on the 17th October 1969. This image sensor is found in all digital cameras, video cameras, scanners, mobile phone cameras, video telephones (think 1980’s!) as the silicon-based circuitry is so sensitive to light

They wanted to make a new kind of memory device for computers and a solid state camera for video phones – apparently it took an hour to sketch the CCD structure, define it’s concept!

The 1960’s saw the use of digital camera’s at NASA who wanted to map the surface of the moon. These digital images were sent back to earth and computers helped enhance the images. (source:

Governments also used this technology to spy on other countries through the use of satellites. Private companies took this technology and Texas Instruments first patented an electronic camera in 1972, using a mini-discs – but as it was actually a video camera that took freeze-frames it is not officially a digital camera – but did aid the development of the digital cameras now known today.

Kodak have been developing the digital idea since the 1970’s. and first brought out a camera in 1986 (1.4 million pixels) and then went on to bring out the first professional digital camera, the Nikon F-3 with a Kodak 1.3 megapixel sensor was released!

Nikon F3 - the first Digital SLR Camera

Nikon F3 – the first Digital SLR Camera

Nikon F3 – the first Digital SLR Camera

The Apple Quicktake 200 (launched in 1994, available for under $1,000) came next, soon followed by the Kodak DC40 Digital Camera (available from May 1994, to connect to Mac computers, £535). These cameras were more for the commercial market rather than professional use.


Apple Quicktake

Apple Quicktake


Kodak CD40 Digital Camera


APPLE QUICKTAKE 100 Apple's first digital camera - a "serial killer ". by John Henshall

Apple’s first digital camera – a “serial killer “.
by John Henshall

apple Quicktake 200

In the past Photographers had to have access to chemicals, darkrooms in order to develop their images (even more so when glass negs were in use in 1851!) or others who didn’t have access to these resources had to spend money on film and processing.

When Digital Cameras arrived on the scene many people declared that photographic Film has been consigned to the history books…

Photo film, like typewriter ribbon, television antennas, and leaded fuel, has been reconciled to the dusty storage room of history where all once-cutting-edge technology seems eventually to land.
Nick Passmore, Business Week

But as usual with such dramatic statements created only to spark debate,  you usually find that has actually been a resurgence of people going backto film for it’s experimental properties. (I’ve personally started up with 120mm Medium format film, using a Holga – a 1970’s plastic toy camera.

Holga - medium format toy camera

Holga – medium format toy camera

The fact that you have no idea how it’s going to come out makes you think more about what you are looking at, rather just shooting randomly knowing that you can dispose of the images you don’t want with out costing money or time (another aspect of a disposable age perhaps!)

Holga medium format film images taken by Lenny Carter

Holga medium format film images taken by Lenny Carter

Holga medium format film images taken by Lenny Carter

But Digital Camera will continue to rise in dominence due to it’s convienence can’t be beaten for quality, speed and cost (no processing & film costs!) This has opened up the world of photography for many (this includes video cameras – something that was only open to people in the (fast becoming distant past) who could afford such huge complex gadgets!).

Digital images can now be taken with mobile phones, some phones now have 8mp cameras attached, link to, 8mp camera reviews. patents for camera phones go back to the 1960’s! and the first camera photograph was sent the 11th June 11th, 1997, Santa Cruz, CA. The Image taken by Philippe Kahn after his daughter’s birth. See the image here on Wiki.

This type of image taking is already a common every day occurrence – it saves carry lots of different gadgets around, plus the cost of an extra camera, so for the novice image taker does not need to learn any complex techniques in taking photographs – it’s all done for them. I’ve noticed that it’s even possible to buy a tripod for your camera phone! linky

Before people would use up reels of film to get a few images they liked now anyone can take hundreds in the space of an afternoon (I’ve been known to take approx 500 while walking around Paris – rather daunting when it came to sorting them out! I do tend to bracket my shots so I have 3 versions of various exposures)

Digital photography sites like Flickr which was developed by Ludicorp, a Vancouver-based company that launched Flickr in February 2004, have grown to have a huge number of members – rought estimate (found on blog so not sure about it’s validity) is 7.7 million worldwide!

People can ask questions and learn how to take better photographs – you don’t get to see so many images with people’s heads cropped out nowadays (thankfully!)