Willard Boyle and George Smith. When it All Began

Willard Boyle and George Smith. When it All Began

The heart of all digital cameras is the CCD or charge-coupled device. This image sensor was invented by Willard Boyle and George Smith in October 17, 1969. The invention took place at Bell Labs but it wasn’t really intended for digital cameras. The CCD was designed for creating a semiconductor memory that will be used on computers. Aside from this, Boyle and Smith also wanted to develop a camera for video phones. Did you know that the CCDs basic structure was sketched within an hour only? The inventors were able to define the operation concept and applications of the CCD in one hour. However, it was only in the year 1970 when the CCD was introduced in the market. By 1975, Boyle and Smith demonstrated the CCD camera which can create quality images for television.

The CCD technology is not only limited to broadcasting but it is also used in video applications, security monitoring, endoscopies, and videoconferencing. Light patterns were turned into useful info through the CCD technology. Barcode readers, still cameras, image scanners, copying machines, and facsimile machines all employ this technology.

The very first digital camera was released by Sony Corporation in 1981. The product was named Mavica or Magnetic Video Camera. Images were recorded on a compact floppy disc as magnetic impulses. Two CCD chips were used to capture the images on the floppy disk. The chips recorded luminance and chrominance info separately. The camera boasts of 720,000 pixels (less than 1 mega pixel). You can store the images in field or frame mode. If you choose the field mode, the pictures are recorded in a single track and so you can store about 50 images on the disc but if you choose the frame mode, you can only store 25 images since the pictures are recorded in two tracks. MVC-5000 provided quality images in the 1980s. In order to print out the images, you will need to attach a video reader that is connected to a color printer or television monitor. The Mavica can’t be considered as a digital camera since it was a video camera but this started the whole concept of digital photography.

Mavica looked like a disc box rather than a camera because it was really bulky. After the introduction of Mavica in the market, other companies were also interested in creating a true digi cam.

Digital cameras don’t use films but image sensors to store images. The silicon chips are fingernail-sized which contains photo sites or photosensitive diodes.

By 1986, Kodak was able to produce a mega pixel sensor which records 1.4 mega pixels. The camera can create 5×7 quality photos. The following year, Kodak introduced products that can record, store, manipulate, transmit, and print video images. The Photo CD System by Kodak was developed in 1990. In 1991, a professional digital camera (Nikon F-3) was released by Kodak which attracted many photo journalists. The camera offers 1.3 mega pixels.

After that, many other camera manufacturers emerged. Another Hi-band digital camera released in the market was XapShot. This camera comes with self timer, flash, and rechargeable battery. If you purchase this camera, you will also be required to purchase a kit which contained a computer interface card, battery, and floppy disc. XapShot also had an American version which can send signals to TV/VCR for recording or playback of images. A special kind of video card should be connected to the XapShot so that you can work with the images using your MAC. Later on, the camera can already work with PhotoShop.

Prior to the release of XapShot, Dycam Model 1 was introduced by Logitech. This camera can take black and white pictures and you can store about 32 images. Dycam used 1MB of RAM and 376 by 240 CCD. It followed the TIFF format and had 8mm fixed-focus lens, built in flash, and shutter speed (1/30 – 1/1000). You can transfer the images by connecting the digital camera to the pc.

In 1994, Apple released QuickTake100 and it was the very first consumer-level digital camera. It worked well with home computers and it offered 640 by 480 pixels CCD.

From then on, more and more digital camera models were released in the market. Today, there are many reputable brands of digital cameras that you can choose from.


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