Pre-Digital Photography Infographic: The Evolution of the Camera

While many inventors are considered to have developed the first photographic camera, photography appears to have had its earliest start in the thick of the Middle Ages (1000 AD) when a man named Alhazen rigged the first pinhole camera, which we now call the Camera Obscura. From there, all the way to the 1981 Sony Mavica film camera, this infographic will take you on a journey through time to show you the colorful evolution of the photographic camera throughout history:

evolution camera history short infographic photographic camera camera obscura daguerreotype alhazen

The history of the photographic camera. (Via Click to see full size.)

Have you ever owned any of these cameras? Are you still using any of them? We would love to hear about how they handle!

In case you’re curious, the very first digital camera was developed by an Eastman Kodak engineer named Steve Sasson in December 1975. The groundbreaking camera boasted a megapixel count of 0.1, weighed a whopping 8 pounds, and required 23 seconds to record a single image!

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5 responses to “Pre-Digital Photography Infographic: The Evolution of the Camera”

  1. Marcy says:

    I have a Kodak Series II from somewhere around 1936 – it was my grandfather’s. I shot with it in the mid-1960s when I was young, and did not know the value or how to really use a camera. I had not used it in years, and recently I bought film and tested it. It still works! I needs to be cleaned, and the film is only 8 pictures per role, black and white, so i probably won’t use it much. It is certainly cool to have and shoot occasionally.

  2. Cathy Stagg says:

    I used to work in a photographic shop in the late 1960s and 70s. We were allowed to use any of the second hand cameras so I tried everything from Minox (James Bond type spy camera) to Hasselblad, which was the camera chosen to take the pictures on the moon. The Leicas were regarded as top of the range. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic, point and press camera. I graduated to a Pentax through the lens reflex and had a selection lenses. My next one, which I still have, was the Olympus OM1, which I chose because it was so small and light.
    My first digital camera had 5 megapixels and now most phones have more than that.
    My current camera is a Canon G1X, which I love because of the flip out screen.
    Digital is so much cheaper than film but it makes you lazy. When you paid for every shot, you took a lot of care before pressing the shutter, no shotgun style shooting.

  3. Daniel Kalbach says:

    I got my first camera from my grandmother in 1948. It’s a Baby Brownie, and I still have it. I still use a 1939 Leica III, a 1949 Graphic View, a Linhof Technika and my dad’s old Rollieflex. I bought a Nikon F in 1964, and have taken thousands of photos with it over the past half-century.

    I still take a lot of photos on film, but of course digital is to me OK for “snapshots”.. The problem to me is that digital cameras become “obsolete” every time someone comes out with a better sensor. With film, the newer offerings from Fuji, Ilford etc. breathe new life into my ancient “hardware”. and that truly “beckons” me..

  4. Alfred says:

    I had received from my father, two folder film cameras with rollfilm :
    1-1955 Zeiss Ikonta Baby => picture 31*41 mm, 1/25, 1/50, 1/75s, B, T, rollfilm (lost or stolen during a moving in 1979)
    2-1959 Agfa Standard with Agfa Anastigmat 6.3/130mm, 1/2, 1/5, 1/25 1/50, 1/100, B, T => pictures 62*108mm on rollfilm.
    With booth camera I learned to photography & between 1962 to 1967 B&W developing & enlarging
    The first camera I bought in 1964 was a SLR : Nikkormat FT with Nikkor 2/50 mm & Nikon BR2 for macro
    In 1965 Nikon extension tubes & a Gitzo tripod
    In 1967 Novoflex bellow with Novoflex 4.0 135mm
    In 1984 : Nikon FA vith Vivitar 2.8 28mm & Nikkor 4.0 70-210mm
    My first digital camcorder was a Canon MVX4i (video & pictures with maxi 4.0 Mp)
    In 2012 Nikon D5100 with Sigma 2.8-4.0 17-70mm & 4.0-5.6 70-300mm

    I had also a Foca 24*36 & a Kodak Instamatic

  5. Wendy says:

    I started (serious) photography with a Regula IE (Ca 1955) that showed up an an auction box–“never ready” leather case, broken lightmeter on the broken strap. Curious thing, the film plate was corrugated, so I can always tell which negatives came out of the Regula. Taught me a lot, though, alternatives to tripods, why you don’t push the lens to its limits, “sunny 16” rule, why you leave a “no man’s land” around the edge if you can. I ended up accumulating, I think, nine 35mm before getting my D60 (including a Horizont panoramic and a Russian medical half-frame), plus a Holga. Recently, my aunt went into a nursing home, so now I’m figuring out her Polaroid Spectra (my first instant camera).

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