Digital Cameras

Why was the digital camera invented?

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2006-09-07 22:14:36

Digital camera technology is directly related to and evolved

from the same technology that recorded television images. In 1951,

the first video tape recorder (VTR) captured live images from

television cameras by converting the information into electrical

impulses (digital) and saving the information onto magnetic tape.

Bing Crosby laboratories (the research team funded by Crosby and

headed by engineer John Mullin) created the first early VTR and by

1956, VTR technology was perfected (the VR1000 invented by Charles

P. Ginsburg and the Ampex Corporation) and in common use by the

television industry. Both television/video cameras and digital

cameras use a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) to sense light color and

intensity. During the 1960s, NASA converted from using analog to

digital signals with their space probes to map the surface of the

moon (sending digital images back to earth). Computer technology

was also advancing at this time and NASA used computers to enhance

the images that the space probes were sending. Digital imaging also

had another government use at the time that being spy satellites.

Government use of digital technology helped advance the science of

digital imaging, however, the private sector also made significant

contributions. Texas Instruments patented a film-less electronic

camera in 1972, the first to do so. In August, 1981, Sony released

the Sony Mavica electronic still camera, the camera which was the

first commercial electronic camera. Images were recorded onto a

mini disc and then put into a video reader that was connected to a

television monitor or color printer. However, the early Mavica

cannot be considered a true digital camera even though it started

the digital camera revolution. It was a video camera that took

video freeze-frames. Since the mid-1970s, Kodak has invented

several solid-state image sensors that "converted light to digital

pictures" for professional and home consumer use. In 1986, Kodak

scientists invented the world's first megapixel sensor, capable of

recording 1.4 million pixels that could produce a 5x7-inch digital

photo-quality print. In 1987, Kodak released seven products for

recording, storing, manipulating, transmitting and printing

electronic still video images. In 1990, Kodak developed the Photo

CD system and proposed "the first worldwide standard for defining

color in the digital environment of computers and computer

peripherals." In 1991, Kodak released the first professional

digital camera system (DCS), aimed at photojournalists. It was a

Nikon F-3 camera equipped by Kodak with a 1.3 megapixel sensor. The

first digital cameras for the consumer-level market that worked

with a home computer via a serial cable were the Apple QuickTake

100 camera (February 17 , 1994), the Kodak DC40 camera (March 28,

1995), the Casio QV-11 (with LCD monitor, late 1995), and Sony's

Cyber-Shot Digital Still Camera (1996).

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