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The Camera

Advancement of the Camera

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Poloroid Instant Camera

Polaroid Instant Camera

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By definition a camera is a lightproof object, with a lens, that captures incoming light and directs the light and resulting image towards film (optical camera) or the imaging device (digital camera).

All camera technology is based on the law of optics first discovered by Aristotle. By the mid-1500s a sketching device for artists, the camera obscura (dark chamber) was common. The camera obscura was a lightproof box with a pinhole (later lens were used) on one side and a translucent screen on the other. This screen was used for tracing by the artists of the inverted image transmitted through the pinhole.

Around 1600, Della Porta reinvented the pinhole camera. Apparently he was the first European to publish any information on the pinhole camera and is sometimes incorrectly credited with its invention.

Johannes Kepler was the first person to coin the phrase Camera Obscura in 1604, and in 1609, Kepler further suggested the use of a lens to improve the image projected by a Camera Obscura.

Daguerreotype Cameras

The earliest cameras used in the daguerreotype process were made by opticians and instrument makers, or sometimes even by the photographers themselves. The most popular cameras utilized a sliding-box design. The lens was placed in the front box. A second, slightly smaller box, slid into the back of the larger box. The focus was controlled by sliding the rear box forward or backwards. A laterally reversed image would be obtained unless the camera was fitted with a mirror or prism to correct this effect. When the sensitized plate was placed in the camera, the lens cap would be removed to start the exposure.

Box Camera

George Eastman. a dry plate manufacturer from Rochester, New York, invented the Kodak camera. For $22.00, an amateur could purchase a camera with enough film for 100 shots. After use, it was sent back to the company, which then processed the film. The ad slogan read, "You press the button, we do the rest." A year later, the delicate paper film was changed to a plastic base, so that photographers could do their own processing.

Eastman's first simple camera in 1888 was a wooden, light-tight box with a simple lens and shutter that was factory-filled with film. The photographer pushed a button to produce a negative. Once the film was used up, the photographer mailed the camera with the film still in it to the Kodak factory where the film was removed from the camera, processed, and printed. The camera was then reloaded with film and returned.

Flashlight Powder

Blitzlichtpulver or flashlight powder was invented in Germany in 1887 by Adolf Miethe and Johannes Gaedicke. Lycopodium powder (the waxy spores from club moss) was used in early flash powder.

Flashbulbs

The first modern photoflash bulb or flashbulb was invented by Austrian, Paul Vierkotter. Vierkotter used magnesium-coated wire in an evacuated glass globe. Magnesium-coated wire was soon replaced by aluminum foil in oxygen. On September 23, 1930, the first commercially available photoflash bulb was patented by German, Johannes Ostermeier. These flashbulbs were named the Vacublitz. General Electric made a flashbulb called the Sashalite.

Filters - Frederick Charles Luther Wratten (1840-1926)

English inventor and manufacturer, Frederick Wratten founded one of the first photographic supply businesses, Wratten and Wainwright in 1878. Wratten and Wainwright manufactured and sold collodion glass plates and gelatin dry plates.

In 1878, Wratten invented the "noodling process" of silver-bromide gelatin emulsions before washing. In 1906, Wratten with the assistance of Dr. C.E. Kenneth Mees (E.C.K Mees) invented and produced the first panchromatic plates in England. Wratten is best known for the photographic filters that he invented and are still named after him - Wratten Filters. Eastman Kodak purchased his company in 1912.

35mm Cameras

As early as 1905, Oskar Barnack had the idea of reducing the format of film negatives and then enlarging the photographs after they had been exposed. As development manager at Leica, he was able to put his theory into practice. He took an instrument for taking exposure samples for cinema film and turned it into the world's first 35 mm camera: the 'Ur-Leica'.

Polaroid or Instant Photos

Polaroid photography was invented by Edwin Herbert Land. Land was the American inventor and physicist whose one-step process for developing and printing photos created instant photography. The first Polaroid camera was sold to the public in November, 1948.

Disposable Camera

Fuji introduced the disposable camera in 1986. We call them disposables but the people who make these cameras want you to know that they're committed to recycling the parts, a message they've attempted to convey by calling their products "single-use cameras."

Digital Camera

In 1984, Canon demonstrated first digital electronic still camera.

Continue >> Reference Material on the History of Photography

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