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  • Writer's pictureTimothy Philip

Let's Get Digital

From film to digital & smaller sizes; how cameras have evolved, and where they are going.

Like most technology, new innovations are usually made for the purpose of government or scientific use. The same is to be said about digital cameras. We all know film cameras came along far before they went digital, but did you know the first idea for getting digital images was presented for NASA? The invention was later used for spying satellites! (read here)

In 1975, Kodak became the first developer of a digital camera, although the camera produced weighed was nearly 9 pounds and took 23 seconds to take a picture! So they then decided to focus more on their photographic film instead. During the 80s, Sony and Canon came out with their own versions of a digital camera but each had poor image quality. This dragged on into the 90s where advancements in camera sensors helped cameras capture better images.

It wasn't until the mid-2000s when digital cameras became mainstream in both the consumer market (think cell phones) and the film industry. RED Digital Cinema announced their first digital cinema camera at NAB Show in 2006. Their product was groundbreaking at the time, where movies were once (and some still are) only shot using film, RED helped lower the cost of productions and bring 4K digital resolution into them as well. Other film companies soon followed! And well Kodak, they were left behind and went into bankruptcy.

Today digital cameras are used everywhere from webcams to cell phones, drones to motion pictures. World-renown cinematographer Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, 1917) now uses digital cameras majority of the time when shooting "films", read here. And we see how great of pictures and videos cell phones can take, or even the tiny GoPro. Technology has helped for better imagery from even smaller components. The future of digital cameras is bright!

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