History of Photography
- 1727: Johann H. Schulze proved that light darkens silver salts
- 1826: Joseph Nicephore Niepce, a French physicist makes the 1st permanent
- 1830: the daguerreotype of Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre - developed using
mercury vapor, using salt as a fixative.
- 1839: daguerreotype process becomes popular but required exposures of
10min or more, thus portraits mainly taken with eyes closed.
- 1839: William H. F. Talbot from Britain said that he had invented the
first negative/positive system that was called photography. This process
used light sensitive paper that was coated with salt and silver nitrate. Sir John
Herschel suggested using hypo as a fixer and use of the terms
"photography', "negative', and "positive';
- 1839: Photography became a reality, following work by William Hyde
Wollaston on the camera obscura
- 1841: the calotype of William Henry Fox Talbot, later called Talbotype
- 1841: Joseph Petzval of Vienna designed a portrait lens with a fast
aperture. Previously, lenses made for daguerreotype cameras were best suited
for landscape photography. Petzval's lens transmitted 16x more light and allowed portraits to be taken ten
times faster, and the photograph was less likely to be blurred.
- 1851: Frederick Scott Archer (1813--57) invented the superior wet plate (collodion)
- 1856: photographers started using metal plates instead of glass to hold
the collodion - plates were called ferrotypes & later tintypes.
- 1869: celluloid 1st manufactured.
- 1871: the dry plate process - a British physician, Richard Lotz Maddox,
replaced collodion with gelatin. Gelatin could dry the plate without harming
the silver salts. No longer would a photographer have to carry around a
darkroom with him.
- late 1870's: gelatin emulsion light sensitivity improved so that exposures
could be shortened to 1/25th of a second which at last freed them from using
- 1885: Eastman's coated
- 1886: early lenses gave poor images, remedied by the introduction, in
1886, of new types of optical glass, after research in Jena by Carl Zeiss
and Ernst Abbe.
- 1887: celluloid film;
- 1888: the Kodak Brownie box camera developed which was to bring
photography to the masses.
- 1889: Kodak substituted a celluloid base for the paper making printing
much more easier & made photography an international hobby.
- 1890: 1st moving picture shows;
- 1895: motion picture camera;
- 1902: Paul Rudolph developed the Zeiss Tessar lens, considered the most
popular ever created.
- 1905: 1st regular cinema;
- 1906: Auguste and Louis Lumière introduced Autochrome plates, the first
practical colour materials.
- 1909: 1st newsreels on film;
- 1912: cloud-chamber photographs detect protons &
- pre-WWI - professional photographers touch up their negatives & prints
to create a more painted/artistic image to differentiate them from the
"snapshot photographers" and to give them credibility in the art
- US photography-based campaign uses photographs of working children to
finally force the US Govt to ban child labour.
- 1915: US photographer, Paul Strand creates a new photography genre -
Straight Photography - photographs of reality relying on the eye of the
photographer to see and compose images and avoidance of touching up of
- WWI: US govt. use photography in the war as propaganda and to improve
morale of its soldiers.
- 1918: Paul Rudolph produced the Plasmat lens, which may be the finest
camera lens ever made.
- 1919: christian sChad discovers camera less photography creating
- 1920's: photographs start to replace drawings in advertising as people
thought the camera would not lie - but photographers took photos to convey a
desire and not just the reality of the product.
- 1920's: photography creates the media celebrity as images of celebrities
are made available to the masses who could then develop a virtual, fantasy
intimate relationship with the image. Sports stars became superstars, such
as Babe Ruth who was the 1st sports star to make millions selling his image
for advertising. Later millions across the world would mourn the premature
death of Rudolph Valentino.
- 1930's: photography used in science expand our senses:
- demonstrated the existence of the positron, discovered pluto and
proved the universe was expanding.
- demonstrated what actually happens in fast motion - do all 4 horses
legs leave the ground at once, how do birds fly?
- 1932: Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham co-found the
"f/64" group of photographers who use large format cameras for
landscapes and becomes an important forum for strand's straight photography
- 1930's: Dorothea Lange social documentary photography
- 1939: Katharine B. Blodgett developed techniques for thin-coating lenses
with soap film to remove reflection and improve light transmission, paving
the way fro single coated and multi-coated lenses.
- 1941: Ansel Adams creates his famous "Zone System" for light
- 1941: Yousuf Karsh's famous portrait of Winston Churchill
- 1948: Polaroid sells its 1st instant camera
The SLR camera:
- 1936: IHAGEE KAMERAWERK, Dresden produce the world's first commercially
successful SLR camera Kine Exacta
(production ceased in 1949) see here,
and as the less expensive, entry level Exa,
versions of which were produced until 1966. Interestingly, the reflex
mirror was the shutter, but this limited shutter speed range and thus the
design was replaced by focal plane shutter in the Exa II.
- 1937: the Minolta Flex is the first double-lens reflex camera manufactured
- 1939: 1st 35mm commercial SLRs - KW's Praktiflex (renamed Praktica
in 1949) and Kine-Exacta
- post-WWII: KW (Kamera-Werkstätten Guthe & Thorsch
Dresden) and Zeiss Ikon in East Germany co-produce 1st pentaprism SLR
but disputes result in the west using the Contax trademark, and the east
using Pentacon (Pentaprism Contax) which later marketed the Practiflex,
Praktica and Contax brands.
- Hasselblad introduces its V-system medium format SLR system with its
1600F followed by the more refined 1000F
- after having produced excellent lenses since 1937, Nikon produce their
1st camera, the Nikon Model 1 while their Model M rangefinder camera followed in
- 1950: Nikon introduce their classic Nikon S series rangefinder cameras
which were instrumental in them getting worldwide acceptance as a `camera
manufacturer although it took some years against the competition from Leica
- 1952: Pentax Asahiflex I is the first Japanese 35mm SLR camera. It has a
cloth curtain focal plain shutter and shutter speeds range from 1/20 to
1/500 sec. (plus Bulb).
- Until the introduction of the Pentax Asahiflex II, professional
photographers prefer 35mm rangefinder cameras over SLRs. One of the main
reasons that SLR cameras do not yet gain popularity is because of the
"mirror blackout" problem. When the shutter release is
pressed, the mirror swings up to allow the film to capture the image.
The mirror remains in this up position and has to be manually brought
down. This "lag" means that rapid shooting is not possible
with a SLR. The Asahiflex II has the world's first instant return
mirror system. Soon, all SLRs also has one and the popularity of
SLRs among professional photographers soars.
- the revolutionary Hasselblad V-system 500C medium format SLR
with central leaf shutters and flash sync at all shutter speeds
- Another coup by Pentax with the use of a pentaprism in the
viewfinder of the Asahi Pentax SLR. Before that, you held your camera at
waist level and looked straight down into an open viewfinder. The
pentaprism allows eye-level viewing and provides an upright and
laterally correct image. It is also the first time that the name Pentax
(PENTAprism refleX) is used on a camera.
- 1958: The Minolta SR-2 is Minolta's first SLR camera.
- 1959: the commercial rise of the SLR camera
- Pentax K with a semi-automatic diaphragm.
- Nikon introduces its 1st 35mm SLR, the classic Nikon F
- Canon introduces its 1st 35mm SLR, the Flex (Canonflex)
- 1960: Pentax III with a fully automatic diaphragm.
- 1962: NASA takes a Hasselblad into space. The Canonflex RM is Japan's 2nd
SLR to have inbuilt light meter.
- Pentax Spotmatic with the world's first TTL (through-the-lens)
exposure metering system. Instead of using their separate exposure
meters to take light readings, then dialing the settings into their
cameras, photographers can now let the camera's internal exposure meter
take the reading through the lens (i.e. using the same light that is
going to strike the film).
- Canon FL mount lenses which use stopped-down AE mode and the FX and FP
- 1965: the motor-operated Hasselblad 500 EL
- Pentax Nocta with infrared focusing system. The Pentax Spotmatic Motor
Drive allows professional photographers to shoot 250 continuous frames.
- The Minolta SR-T101 SLR camera features through-the-lens (TTL) light
- Armstrong and co. leave 12 Hasselblad camera bodies on the moon
- Pentax 6x7 medium-format professional camera. The Pentax Auto
110 is selected by NASA for use in its Constellation observation
rocket. Compact and lightweight Pentax MV and Pentax ME Super offer full
range of features at affordable prices.
- Hasselblad introduce its 500cm
6x6 SLR with interchangeable focusing screens
- Canon introduces the new FD breech-lock mount series of lens and its
matching manual SLR, the classic Canon F-1
- Nikon releases its classic Nikon F2
- Pentax ES with the world's first TTL automatic exposure control.
Up to this point, the only exposure mode is Manual. The Pentax ES added
Aperture Priority mode. The photographer selects an aperture, and the
camera selects an electronically controlled shutter speed for proper
exposure. Pentax also introduces the Super-Multi Coating (SMC)
system for the Asahi Optical Takumar lens series. The SMC system
reduces lens flare and ghost images. Spotmatic SP500 introduced.
- Leica was widely recognized as producing the best 35mm rangefinder
cameras; Nikon and Canon were battling it out to claim SLR supremacy;
and Minolta, Yashica, Contax, and Rollei were serious contenders right
behind the top dogs.
- It is in this hugely competitive mix that a small SLR was introduced.
The introduction of the Olympus M-1 (later renamed OM-1), with its
compact size, full lens system and uncompromising quality, turned the
world of 35mm cameras upside down. Overnight, there was a new contender
-- and it created a space all its own. The other camera manufacturers
scrambled to come up with viable competition, but it would be some years
before they would catch up.
- The Olympus OM-1 was (about 35%) smaller and lighter, and simply
beautiful. It also came with a full lens system rivalling that of Nikon
and Canon. Overnight, the Olympus legend was born.
- Pentax Spotmatic F with an open aperture TTL light metering system.
- 1974: Olympus OM1-MD with motor drive capability.
- Olympus OM-2 SLR is world's 1st TTL flash metering camera and the 1st
aperture priority AE Olympus SLR
- The Pentax K series is introduced, all with bayonet lens mounts. The
series includes the Pentax K2 with fully automatic exposure, the Pentax
KX with a needle matching indicator for the TTL light measuring system,
and the Pentax KM, with a TTL light measuring system.
- Canon introduces the Canon AE-1 revolutionising the camera world by
using a built-in micro CPU
- Pentax introduces the Pentax MX SLR camera, at that time the
world's smallest and lightest SLR camera ever put on sale.
- Leica and Minolta introduce the Leica R3.
- Zenza Bronica introduce their ETR 6x4.5cm SLR
- 1977: Nikon introduces its AI modification to the F-mount and 5 new
cameras to use this
- 1978: the Canon A-1, another modern classic, featured multi-mode AE
control & awesome system compatibility
- Nikon introduces its Series E lenses, a budget lens using the AI F
- Olympus OM-1n, OM-2n, OM-10
- Nikon F3
- Pentax ME-F, the world's first through-the-lens (TTL) SLR Autofocus
camera is introduced.
- Pentax LX is introduced as the finest quality Pentax at the time.
- Canon release the Canon New F-1 to replace the 1971 Canon F-1, the
only 2 Canon SLR's being able to work without batteries and the AE-1P, a
programmed AE version of the AE-1
- Nikon FG offered programmed AE mode
- Minolta X-700 SLR.
- Nikon abandons backward compatibility for non-AI F mount lenses with
its FM and FE series cameras using the newer AI-S F mount lenses
- Mamiya RZ67
- Canon introduce its T-series with its entry level T50 having
programmed AE and built-in motor winder, still using the FD mount
- Olympus OM-3, OM-2Spot, OM-4, OM-20, OM-30
- Pentax produces the world's first multi-mode medium format camera, the
Pentax 645. Incorporating the most up-to-date SLR technology and
with a compact design, the Pentax 645 with its 6x4.5cm of image area
offers seven exposure modes: programmed automatic, aperture priority
automatic, shutter-priority automatic, metered manual automatic, TTL
auto flash, programmed auto flash and leaf-shutter lens. The 645
features fast-access electronic push-button controls and is uniquely
designed for hand-held, eye-level shooting.
- 1985: the auto-focus 35mm SLR and the eventual rise of the Canon EOS
- Minolta shocks the world with the 1st truly body-integrated auto-focus
SLR camera - the Maxxum 7000
- Nikon introduce their AF lenses to match its F501 camera with
- Olympus OM-707 SLR with built-in auto-focus; Olympus OM-40
- Pentax A3000 was the world's first 35mm SLR camera to utilize the DX
film sensing system.
- 1986: Canon introduces its T90 with TTL flash, built-in motor drive, 7
programmed AE modes, spot metering but it lived only 1 year due to
competition from the new auto-focus SLR's, signaling the end of the manual
focus FD-mount lenses.
- 1987: Olympus OM-4Ti
- Nikon F4 F mount camera; Olympus OM-101;
- Hasselblad revamps its 6x6 SLR
line up introducing the 503CX, 553ELX, 2003FCW and 903SWC cameras,
adding TTL flash metering.
- Zenza Bronica introduce their ETRSi 6x4.5cm SLR adding TTL flash
- 1989: Canon introduces its EOS-1 to match its new EF auto-focus lenses
which were not backwardly compatible with its FD lenses, but the EOS
technology proved to be the best in the market and made Canon the market
- 1990: Canon's T60, a budget priced FD-mount is the last of the T-series
and the FD mount cameras.
- 1991: Hasselblad introduce their
200 series 6x6 SLRs.
- 1992: The F90x was the first Nikon to incorporate a distance chip set with
specific D-type Nikkor lenses to provide exposure calculation based on
distance during flash exposure.
- 1993: Mamiya RZ67 II;
- 1995: Olympus OM-3ti; Mamiya 7 6x7 rangefinder;
- 1995: Nikon F5 was the first to use distance chip set for ambient light
metering with the 3D color matrix metering system.
- 1997: Mamiya finally add TTL flash metering to its 645 series with the 645
- 1998: Canon's 1st EOS-based digital SLR as well as its EOS-3 35mm SLR
- 1998: Hasselblad's XPan, a rangefinder camera, uses 35mm film to produce
either standard 35mm photos or panorama photos with image width 24x65mm
equivalent to a 6x7 camera
- 1999: Mamiya add auto-focus to their 645 series with the 645AF; Mamiya 7II
- 3 megapixel cameras introduced < $A2000
- Hasselblad's H system 645
format SLR's with auto-focus based on the H-1 introduced
- 2002: the digital SLR comes of age
- 4 megapixel cameras introduced < $A2000
- Canon D60 and Nikon D100 6mp
- Canon 1Ds 11 megapixel SLR but costs > $10,000
- Canon 10D 6mp
- Olympus stops making accessories for its OM-series film cameras &
creates a new digital system based on the new four-thirds standard and
its 5mp E-1 digital SLR.
- Canon introduces a sub-$A2000 6 megapixel SLR - Canon Digital Rebel
- Nikon D2H
- prosumer 8 megapixel cameras introduced < $A2000
- Mamiya add direct support for digital backs in their 645 series with
- Hasselblad's H system 645
format SLR's with auto-focus becomes fully digital with the H1D
- Nikon D70 6mp
- Canon 1D Mark II
- Olympus C8080WZ - 8mp non-SLR
- Canon 1Ds Mark II, 20D 8mp
- Nikon D2X
- Olympus E-300 8mp
- ramifications of the substantial conversion of professional and most
consumers to digital from film:
- Kodak decides to close down many of its photo processing plants,
including Melbourne, Australia
- Ilford re-emerges after bankruptcy in 2004, saved by a management
- AgfaPhoto GmbH files for bankruptcy
- Kodak announces it will stop making B&W photo paper.
- Canon 350XT Digital Rebel 8mp
- Nikon D2Hs 4mp, D70s 6mp, D50 6mp
- Canon 5D - 11mp full frame for ~$A5500
- Canon 1D Mark IIN 8mp
- Olympus E-500 8mp
- Aptus introduce 33.9 & 28 megapixel digital backs
- Kodak medium format sensors - 39 and 31.6 megapixels which will be
used in Phase One digital backs
- Sony introduces world 1st digital camera with APC-size sensor and live
LCD preview - its 10mpixel DCS-R1 with fixed 24-120mm zoom lens.
- Sony's memory stick capacity hits 4Gb and 8Gb.
- Nikon stops making film cameras except for their top end model, the
F6, and their manual focus model, the FM10. Nikon is also stopping
production of their manual focus lenses and accessories, and all large
format and enlarger lenses.
- Konica Minolta ceases production of cameras and photo accessories with
rights to use their technology sold to Sony who produce a digital SLR with lens mount compatible with legacy Konica/Minolta
- Olympus introduces it 720SW point and shoot digital camera with 3x
zoom, dust-proof, shock-proof to 1.5m drops and waterproof to 3m.
- Olympus introduces 1st live preview digital SLR, the E-330 with live
- entry-level digital SLRs produced with 10mpixel sensors including:
- Nikon upgrades entry-level SLR to the D80
- Canon add dust protection to their digital SLR, the 10mp 400D
- Olympus creates the smallest, lightest - the E-400.
- Seitz announce high end scanning sensor digitals - a 160mpixel
panoramic (the 6x17) and a 470mpixel 360deg D3 which use large format
- Sandisk 12Gb and 16Gb Extreme III CF memory cards as well as faster
Extreme IV cards.
- Leica acquires Sinar and develops their digital rangefinder camera
- Hasselblad announce the H3D medium format digital camera but will no
longer be compatible with 3rd party backs.
- Olympus add live preview and CCD-shift image stabilisers to their new
10mp dSLRs - the E410, E510
and then their pro model, the E3,
with its articulated LCD, new fast AF system using twin cross-hair
sensors and weatherproof enough to pour a bottle of water on it!
- Canon adds live preview and dust protection to its new 10mp 1.3x crop
10fps 1D Mark III dSLR for
$A6400, and to its new21mp full frame model, the 1DsMIII
- Nikon finally produces a full
frame dSLR, the 14mp Nikon D3
- Kodak ceases production of its infrared film.
- Sony announce a 25mp full frame sensor
- Polaroid announces it will cease production of Polaroid film and
licence it to other manufacturers.
- medium format
- initially used Nikkor lenses
- see Canon
- see also: Olympus OM system
- Olympus registered as a trademark in 1921, initially making
- makes its first commercial camera in 1936
- Japan's 1st 35mm camera with lens shutter introduced 1948 - the
- company is renamed Olympus Optical in 1949 & lists on Tokyo Stock
- Olympus introduced the world's first wide-angle lens-shutter camera in
1955 with the Olympus Wide.
- 1958 was the year that Olympus developed the world's first
lens-shutter camera with interchangeable lenses - the Olympus Ace.
- the Olympus Pen half-frame camera 1959
- the world's 1st half-frame SLR - the Pen F 1963
- The Olympus Pen EM in 1965 was the world's first camera equipped with
motorized film winding and rewinding.
- the OM series is launched in 1973 with the classic OM-1 a fully manual
SLR not requiring batteries which revolutionised the camera world with
its compactness and quietness.
- OM-2 SLR is world's 1st TTL flash metering camera
- The introduction of the Olympus XA in 1979 brought the sliding lens
barrier to the world of cameras, securely covering the lens when it is
closed to protect it from dust and scratches. The sliding lens barrier
made it easier to do so as well since you no longer had to attach the
lens cap after each use or worry about losing it.
- OM-30 SLR in 1982
- The idea of the all-weather compact camera culminated in 1986 with the
Olympus AF-1, letting people take and enjoy their pictures under a
variety of weather conditions such as rain and snow. OM-707 SLR with