The history of the camera is long and complex. Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre invented the first photographic device in 1836. George Eastman popularized photographic film in 1885. However, camera like devices appeared years earlier.
The Camera Obscura
The first known instance of people being aware of photography theory was in 5th century China. A Chinese named Mo Ti observed the following effect. When light rays of an illuminated matter are reflected and go through a dark area, it will produce an inverted but otherwise identical copy.
In 1000 AD, Alhazen created the pinhole camera or camera obscura. The history of the camera indicates that the next important discovery was made in 1727. That was when Johann Schulze learned silver nitrate became dim when it was exposed to light.
Then in 1827, Frenchman Joseph Niepce managed to make a photographic image. He used the camera obscura for this task. Although the device had been around for a while, it was only used for illustration.
Niepce called it the sun prints. But they were the descendants of modern photos as they also used light to produce the image. However it took eight hours to produce the image and it eventually faded.
Niepce’s experiment was followed by that of Daguerre. Daguerre played an important role in the history of the camera. The daguerreotype method helped preserved images and took less than half an hour to produce the image. A different type of camera called the calotype was invented by William Talbot in 1840.
By the 1880s, the success of Daguerre and Talbot spurned on other inventors. When gelatin dry plate was invented, it greatly helped in the quality of the output. As technology improved, cameras of all shapes and sizes started coming out.
Eastman Photographic Film
One of the many inventors was George Eastman. In 1885 he began making paper film. Four years later he came out with the celluloid film. Around the same time he started selling a camera which he called Kodak. It would become one of the most well known devices in the history of the camera. It was packaged with a hundred exposures and had fixed focus lens.
In 1900 Eastman came up with the Brownie, from which would emerge the idea of the snapshot camera. It would prove so successful that it became standard well into the 1960s.
But even though convectional cameras were popular, 1948 saw the arrival of the instant camera. The Polaroid Model 95 became famous for being able to make pictures in under a minute. It was made by Edwin Land. Even though it was costly, the camera became a commercial hit. In 1965, a cheaper version called the Polaroid Model 20 Swinger went on sale.
Other companies would also develop the instant camera. By the 1990s and 200s, digital cameras had become commonplace. It could be used with computers and photo enhancing software.
The history of the camera has come a long way since the days of Eastman. Today, technology has made it more powerful and affordable than ever before.