Monday, February 27, 2012

The History and Development of the Camera Part 2 - by Raymond and Andrea Parmalee

From their beginning, cameras have had many uses. The ability to record an image has endless uses, especially in today’s world of technology. Consider a world without photographs. Think about how boring our websites and blogs would be without pictures. Think of how time consuming it would be to hand draw each item in your Etsy store! Or simply to have no picture at all to give your potential client a visual of what you have described to them. A picture is worth 1,000 words and so much more.

In part one we touched briefly on the development of the camera from its inception to the invention of film and the beginning of mass production and sales in the early 1900s. Not much changed over the next 50+ years. There were many unique camera designs that were created during this time; however the basic components of the camera remained virtually unchanged until the 1960s. Major camera manufactures started patenting and producing cameras that featured new technology such as auto focus. The first mass-produced autofocus camera was the Konica C35 AF, a simple point and shoot model released in 1977 (retrieved from on February 22, 2012). Cameras started to boast features such as auto film advancement and automatic shutter speeds. These new developments made the use, ease and speed of the camera much more noticed and appreciated by professionals and hobbyists alike.

Poppies: Taken with a 1980's professional grade camera

In 1975 Kodak engineer Steven Sasson invented the first digital still camera (retrieved from on February 22, 2012). For the next sixteen years work was done to further develop the technology for digital photography. The Eastman Kodak Company offered professional photographers the first digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera in 1991 for $20,000 (Gustavson, 2009).

Kodak DCS: First Digital Camera

The first digital camera was quite cumbersome consisting of a camera body, fitted with a module, a power winder and a separate digital storage unit (Gustavson, 2009). There was a drive to create more user friendly, cost effective digital cameras to market to the masses. In 1997 the Kodak DC210 was the first truly digital consumer camera to be introduced to the market. As technology was moving forward in leaps and bounds, consumers were enjoying the technology of digital photography while many professional film photographers were reluctant to take that jump into the unknown. In the mean time, the cell phone was also becoming a popular means of communication and Nokia was working on the addition of the digital camera to the cell phone. The Nokia 7650 cell phone/digital camera sold for around $600 when first released to the American public in 2002 (Gustavson, 2009). Now the digital camera was more accessible than ever before.

Nokia 7650: First cell
phone with digital

Lillies: taken with Nokia 7650
Duck: Taken with an entry level DSLR (2008)

Today’s digital camera retails between $100 and $50,000. A memory card that can hold several hundred or even thousand photographs can be purchased for a few dollars. A basic digital camera can capture contest winning photographs. Internationally known professional photographers can purchase camera bodies and lenses that can capture amazing color and detail with a quality that can fetch thousands of dollars per print. As photographers ourselves, we have learned the value in owning different lens. There are hundreds of different lenses on the market today; each has its own purpose. A little less than two hundred years ago capturing a permanent image was not more than a fleeting thought; what will the future of photography hold? Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (took the first permanent photograph) would be speechless if introduced to even the basic camera of today. We are excitedly waiting to see what technology has in store for the future of photography.

Engine: Taken with a Samsung Galaxy S 4G Cell Phone (2011)
Waterfall: Taken with 2012 Canon 7D
with 24-70 mm L series lens
Rose: Taken with 2012 Canon 7D
with macro lens

This was written by Raymond and Angela Parmalee and published on their behalf.

To view more of thier work visit:
Thier profile on Etsy: Raymond and Andrea Parmalee
Thier photography shop on Etsy: P5Photography

References:Gustavson, T. (2009). Camera: A history of photography from Daguerreotype to Digital. New York/London: Sterling Innovation

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

Photograph References:

Nokia 7650 cell phone/digital camera:
Lily Taken with Nokia 7650:
Engine: P5 Photography (Raymond and Andrea Parmalee)
Poppies: P5 Photography (Raymond and Andrea Parmalee)
Duck: P5 Photography (Raymond and Andrea Parmalee)
Rose: P5 Photography (Raymond and Andrea Parmalee)
Waterfall: P5 Photography (Raymond and Andrea Parmalee)
Kodak DCS:

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