The Development of Cameras and Film throughout History

  • Camera Obscura

    The earliest known camera, called the camera obscura, was used in ancient times to project images before photographic printing processes were invented. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote the first detailed description of the camera obscura in the 15th century, describing it as a box with a pinhole on one side and a glass screen on the other
  • Improvement on Camera Obscura

    After experiments and research a lens later replaced the pinhole of the camera obscura, resulting in sharper images.
  • First Photograph

    Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce created the first photograph with a camera obscura, titled "View from the Window at Le Gras." Niépce created the image with pewter plates treated with a photosensitive chemical called bitumen. The exposure took eight hours, and the image is still visible today
  • Variety of Printing Treatments

    Camera obscuras continued to be used, with a variety of printing treatments, until the first folding camera was created by Charles Chevalier. Folding cameras were more portable, and they created images on silver-plated copper sheets, called daguerreotypes.
  • Bellows Cameras

    In the mid 1850s bellows cameras were introduced. These allowed for greater focal length and the ability to take close-ups. The wet collodion film process also gained popularity in the early 1850s, and led to the addition of draining channels on cameras to keep film wet.
  • First SLR camera

    University of London photography lecturer Thomas Sutton created the first single lens reflex (SLR) camera in 1860. Sutton's SLR camera incorporated internal mirrors.
  • Twin Lens Reflex Cameras

    Twin lens reflex cameras were introduced in 1881, and featured SLR-style mirrors with two lenses.
  • First Kodak Camera

    In 1888, the George Eastman Company introduced the first Kodak camera, the lightest and simplest camera to date. It sold for $25.
  • UR-Leica

    The UR-Leica was invented by Oskar Barnack and was one of the earliest cameras to use 35 mm film.
  • Leica A

    The Leica A was developed and quickly gained popularity thanks to its portability and lens quality.
  • First Polaroid Camera

    The first Polaroid camera, which produced an image in just 60 seconds, was created by Edwin Land. Polaroid cameras enjoyed quick success thanks to the popularity of their instant images.
  • Kodak Instamatic

    This breakthrough was followed by release of the Kodak Instamatic, the first fully automatic mass-produced camera.
  • 35mm SLRs

    The development of professional and autofocus 35mm SLRs, as well as simple point-and-shoot cameras, took off
  • Sony's Mavica

    Sony's Mavica became the first electronic camera to be commercially available. Instead of film, the Mavica recorded images onto a minidisk.
  • Quicksnap

    The first disposable camera, called the Quicksnap, was created by Fuji.
  • First Digital Camera

    The first truly digital camera was introduced by Kodak and was marketed to professional photojournalists.
  • Apple Quick Take 100

    A few years later, the first mass-market digital camera, the Apple Quick Take 100, was introduced.