The History of Digital Photography

Posted by Erika Widayanti Lestari

Photography has gone a long way from the early attempts at capturing images using the camera obscura to today’s digital photography. However, photography’s development has never been as fast as the development seen today in the digital age.

Digital photography began with the concept of digitizing images for the use of astronauts when having missions on planets. A company called Texas Instruments also designed a filmless analog camera in 1972, but it was never produced.

However, the first digital camera was built by Steven Sasson of Kodak three years later. Unlike the compact cameras of today, Sasson’s creation was a bulky eight-pound camera which took 23 seconds to capture an image to a cassette and another 23 seconds to play it back on a television screen. The first image had a resolution of 0.01
megapixels but it was a start.

There were other attempts at building digital cameras but it was only in the late 1980s when the first true digital camera was created. The Fuji DS-1P was built in 1988 but it was never mass-marketed.

The 1990s saw the rise of commercially-available digital cameras. They were, however, pricey at first and had very low image resolutions. But later developments led to more consumer-friendly prices and better resolutions.

Today, digital photography has crossed-over to different gadgets aside from the digital camera. Most cellular phones and PDAs now have cameras built in to them. Some even have resolutions as big as 5 megapixels. But unlike professional digital cameras, phone cameras can only save pictures in a compressed JPG format.