• The Story Behind- The Camera

By Knowledge Tribe

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Don’t we all just love taking pictures…mostly of ourselves, of course.

How do we keep memories, or remember important events from our lives? Photographs; that’s right!

From birthdays to weddings to even the hashtag morning rides…we love to capture them all. And what helps us do that? Cameras! So, let’s get started on the history of cameras.

In 1500, the first pinhole camera, the Camera Obscura, was created by Ibn Al-Haytham. In this apparatus, light passes through a small hole to strike a reflective surface on which a coloured image is projected. In 1839, Louis Daguerre created and launched the Daguerreotype, a device that captured images on a silver copper plate…super expensive though.

Image: A photograph taken with a Daguerreotype. Image source: pinterest.com

In 1840, Alexander Walcott’s mirror camera became popular. It made photography cheaper and faster by using paper for printing. But, it took five minutes for a person to be photographed using this device. FIVE minutes in front of a camera. James Smith took 168 selfies in three minutes. BEAT THAT, WALCOTT! With all due respect, of course.

Fast forward to 1888, when George Eastman— yes, the Eastman Colours guy— patented the Kodak roll-film camera. By 1900, he had launched the famous Kodak Brownie. It was the first mass-marketed camera. And no, it is not named after a gooey brownie. The year 1900 also saw the advent of the Reise-Camera, a travel camera that was much desired because of its small size and foldability.

In 1948, the Polaroid Camera was invented by Edwin Land. It was a camera that could print a picture within a minute. It wasn’t as cute as the polaroid cameras of today, but I guess it did the magic. By 1978, the first autofocus camera named Jasupin, was introduced by Konica. By 1981, the world’s first digital electronic still camera called the Sony Mavica was introduced, heralding the magnificent era of digital photography. In 1991, Kodak released the first professional digital camera system with a 1.3-megapixel sensor. Between the years 1994 and 1996, varied brands introduced digital cameras for mass usage.

Image: George Eastman’s Kodak roll-film camera. Image source: americanhistory.si.edu

Image: Edwin Land with the Polaroid SX-70 camera.Image source: acs.org

More recently, in 2000, we had the first camera phones! The first commercially successful camera phone could capture an image in 0.3-megapixel. I cry with 12 megapixels. Oh, the struggle. In 2005, Canon launched a consumer DSLR. Way too many people have that now.

And with that, we have the story behind the camera and its evolution over the centuries. Currently, we are at a stage where we buy phones based on the quality of the camera in it, and the features that it comes with. What a revolutionary phase of humanity! Every phone has a camera, and almost everyone needs a camera, be it for the multiple selfies or for last minute photographing of notes that we know we are never going to look at. I guess it is safe to say that they are a ‘bare necessity’ these days.

Is there any other invention or creation that you would like to read of? Do write to us! Watch this space for more of The Story Behind a whole bunch of cool things.


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