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The History of the Camera: When was the camera invented?

When was the camera invented? Long ago the idea to capture images was conceptualized long ago by our original ancestors through cave drawings. 

Despite being rigid and simple, these together would be the first hints of the need for humans to document and record images through drawings and visual art.

The first camera-like form of device is believed to have come about in the 5th century. It was called the camera obscura. However, not until the 16th century did it become popular after the addition of mirrors and lenses that improved the overall image brightness.

The device was basically used for viewing solar eclipses without hurting bright rays from the sun. 

Other artists used it as a drawing device by tracing through the bright projected image. After the camera obscura, there came a lot of inventions and advancements on it that moved closer to what we have today as the modern camera.

So When was the camera invented?

When was the camera invented

When was the camera invented? 

Despite many attempts over the century, it was not until 1816 that Joseph Nicéphore Niépce was able to capture the first still image with a camera.

The process was long and tedious and was not too clear. After a couple of years in 1839, Louis Daguerre came up with the first commercially viable device with a faster processor and more clear image.

According to a lot of the camera and photography enthusiasts, 1839 can be said to be the year the camera was invented. However, a lot was still yet to be done to arrive at a modern camera.

When were digital cameras invented?

In 1975, Kodak’s engineer Steve Sasson came up with the first digital camera. The camera was primitive and featured only 0.01 megapixels of images. 

That has since improved with mobile phones even having up to 12 megapixels. The camera had its own share of problems. It was slow and only produced black-and-white images.

The next break for digital cameras came in 1991 when Nikon came up with Nikon F3. Despite access by the public, the camera was not so popular because people did not really see the need for a personal camera.

From around 1994 and 1995 the situation changed and digital cameras became commonplace among the general public. Finally, the internet was greatly improved around this time making photo sharing possible. 

This in turn has propelled the photography and camera industry to its current status. Nowadays almost every mobile phone comes with its own set of digital cameras, one for selfies at the front and another at the back.

When was the first video camera invented?

The first sort of video camera device was first patented in 1888. It was a 16-lens movie camera device built and patented by Louis Le Prince. However, this was a far reach compared to current video cameras.

Only 3 years later in 1891, the first functioning camera that had one compact housing was patented. This device was called the Kinetograph. It was not until the 1900s that the first commercial mass-market camera devices came to be. That is why we have some grainy footage available of world war 1 that took place between 1914 and 1918.

These could only shoot in black and white. It was not until the 1950s that the first color video cameras were created. After that, we have experienced a series of improvements up to today we have Full HD and 4K quality display cameras.

The packaging of cameras has also changed with cameras coming either as separate devices or as accessories on tablets and mobile phones.

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Sources:

  1. When Was the First Video Camera Invented? A Brief Illustrated Historical Overview
  2. The History of the Camera