Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

How Digital Cameras have changed us…..

Hi I am just back from my trip to Laos, pictures to come soon.

The first thing that caught my attention that I just had to bring to you was this fascinating article By Tom de Castella on the BBC website  It tells the history of digital photography and the impact it has had on the way we take pictures, how we interact with our surroundings, how we record our lives and everything we see and finally how phones with cameras have become an absolute game changer.

“Photography firm Kodak has run into hard times, with critics suggesting it has failed to effectively adapt to digital. But four decades ago Kodak was credited with building the first digital camera, an innovation that has changed the world.

The first was a box the size of a small coffee machine with a cassette stuck to the side.

Little did anyone know when it took its first image in 1975 that this Heath Robinson-esque prototype would nearly obliterate the market for camera film and turn us all into potential Robert Doisneaus or Henri Cartier-Bressons, recording everything from the banal to the beautiful on our mobile phones.

Steven Sasson invented that boxy first digital camera for Kodak. But the company has struggled to fully profit from its invention, and with its share price plunging last year there has been growing disquiet about the company’s prospects.”

Steve Sasson shows off the digital camera he invented for Kodak

Kodak DC290 (pictured above, 1999)

A camera that combined superior sensor resolution and low price. It showed the benefits of linking a camera and a computer. The camera allowed scripts to be created so that instructions would appear on the camera’s screen – such as “now photograph the bathroom” for estate agents. It was a glimpse into the future.

Canon EOS 300D (2003)

The first digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera that cost less than 1000 euros (£830). At the time amateurs, and many professionals too, could only afford digital compact cameras or what were called “bridge cameras” – models with long range zooms that couldn’t come off the body. This marked the beginning of the fall in the price of proper digital cameras.

Nikon D90 (2008)

The first digital SLR camera to feature video recording. While compact cameras could make movies for some time, the quality was poor and the lenses not very good. In the D90, amateurs could make professional quality films.

Nikon D3 (2007)

One of the biggest problems with digital cameras was that pictures taken in dim lighting were filled with millions of tiny coloured speckled dots – noise. The D3 introduced the ability to shoot in almost completely dark conditions with almost no visible noise.

Apple iPhone (2007)

It doesn’t have the best camera of any mobile phone but it is certainly the most popular. Picture sharing websites, Facebook and Twitter are dominated by pictures taken and shared via the iPhone.

Read more here

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