History of Cameras


The history of cameras is very much linked to the historical development of photography. Probably the oldest predecessor of the camera is the Camera obscura, which was already successfully used by Leonardo da Vinci. The camera obscura was initially a darkened room with a small hole. The size of the sight hole played a decisive role because the light entering through the hole made it possible to image the outside world on the opposite surface. However, this picture was upside down. In later times, the Camera obscura was also developed in a portable design.

The camera is now a very common and easily accessible device. It’s not only about smartphones but also about more “classic” cameras of various types. We can choose from Instax cameras that print us “on the spot” photos. We can have SLR cameras, mirrorless cameras, and digital cameras. You can add different lenses to cameras, and this even further increases the range of possibilities when taking pictures. How did it start? Where did the cameras come from? What were the beginnings of photographic equipment? We will discuss all of this in this article.

First History of Cameras

Susse brothers are considered the inventors of the camera. Their equipment made photographs based on the daguerreotype technique. It was still in the 19th century, precisely in 1839. However, it was only the beginning of the 20th century that brought significant development in the field of image preservation. Interestingly, initially, the size of the print depended on the size of the camera. The bigger picture we wanted to get, the bigger the camera should have been used. The photos also left much to be desired in terms of aesthetic quality and durability – although it must be admitted that they have their charm.

The following years brought the development of photography, both in terms of the equipment itself and the printing techniques. Over the centuries, the cameras have been constantly improved, and over time it has become possible to change the size of the print, regardless of the equipment used. The first cameras were periodical formed in the vicinity of 1925. Twin-lens reflex cameras were invented in 1929. The next step was the introduction of the SLR (1936). The development of cameras has continued over the centuries, and their appearance has evolved, from large, often  huge devices, to today’s compact version, which fits in your pocket.

Camera Year of Manufacture – 1930 to 1934

In 1826, the French aristocrat Abel Niépce de St. Victor succeeded in taking the first picture with the aid of a copper plate coated with asphalt, iodine, and silver. But then it took hours of exposure. Together with his partner, Louis Daguerre, with whom he probably merged in 1829 due to a financial shortage, the two worked hard at this new knowledge.

Unfortunately, the later success of Daguerre through the development of saline, which serves to fix the photographs, Niépce was no longer able to witness. He died only a few years after the successful merger of the two. After years of research, Daguerre made the breakthrough, more by chance, and managed to limit the exposure time of his recordings to a time of about 4 to 15 minutes.

Undoubtedly, one of the pioneers of film development is Kodak, which invented the first film in 1889. The associated camera was developed by George Eastman. At that time, these Kodak cameras were stocked with roll films on the market. Were now all images of the film consumed the customer could send his camera including film to the company and then received after some time, not only his developed images but also the camera with a newly inserted film back.

Cameras are based on the measurement of brightness, which is held in each pixel matrix. The light on the matrix falls through the lens and on this basis the image that we photograph is displayed on the camera’s display. The first digital cameras were invented in 1975 by a Kodak engineer. In the first digit, and more specifically in its prototype, Kodak used elements that were well known at that time. In one device, the lens was connected, a portable tape recorder for analog cassettes, a large number of batteries (up to 16 pieces!), As well as a CCD sensor and digital and analog circuits. The recording of the first digital photos took a long time because the print was saved on the magnetic cassette and was displayed on the computer screen.

Another company that is still familiar to us today when it comes to photography is Agfa. She succeeded in 1936 to bring the first color film to the market. That’s not the end of the development of photography. The world-famous company Canon developed the first camera which had its own sharpening control.

Today we all deal with digital technology. Almost all of us have already stowed some sort of cameras somewhere in the closet at home. Still, many people are unfamiliar with the beginnings of digital technology which dates back to the sixties when David Paul Gregg invented the first video disc camera at Standford University. He is considered the forefather of digital photography. The first digital camera was invented in 1969 by Williard Boyle and George Smith.

Technological Development of Digital Cameras in the 21st Century

The 21st century is the time when digital cameras, SLRs and other such devices develop very quickly. Newer technologies are used in them, which help to improve the quality of the pictures taken and the convenience of use. The end of the 20th century brought a lot of development in the field of digital photography and popularized it thanks to the increasing availability and universality of computers. Thanks to this, it was possible to process and easily store digital photography on computers. The 19th century also includes mobile devices which can take pictures on a whim. What will the next few years bring?

Today, we have hundreds or thousands of photos on computers. We also have a lot of them in the so-called cloud or our social media profiles, even still there are many people using vlogging cameras with a flip screen to get their recordings published in online platforms like YouTube.

Thanks to digital technology, we can not only take more pictures but also do more with these photos.