September 28, 2010

Digital Camera Uno

What you have here, is the first ever digital camera.

In this blog post over at Kodak, Steve Sasson, the inventor of the digital camera, gives some detail into a phenomena that is so omni-present today.

Built off parts from a Super 8 movie camera, along with a nascent CCD imaging array, the camera used a digital cassette to store the images. It took 23 seconds to complete write the recorded image to the cassette. Thank God for solid state memory eh?

To play it back, a cassette reader contraption tied to a TV set. And the 8-pound camera recorded a - wait for it - 0.01 mega pixel picture. Bad enough to require an up-conversion to display it on a TV. And of course Kodak being Kodak, called it "Film-less Photography". That said, even they weren't that oblivious to the impact this would have on the future of photography. From the post...

"The camera described in this report represents a first attempt demonstrating a photographic system which may, with improvements in technology, substantially impact the way pictures will be taken in the future."

There you go. 1975. First digital camera. And a paltry 0.01 megapixels.

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