The Mighty Fallen

The first digital cameraThe photo on the left is one of those iconic images that might one day sit alongside the first Apple computer and the housebrick mobile phones that in a cute and clunky way mark a seismic shift in the way we live.

It is the world’s first digital camera developed in 1975, albeit it a prototype. It had a resolution of 0.01 megapixels, weighed 8lbs and took 23 seconds to download an image to the magnetic tape in the cassette.

Of course the significance was – it didn’t use film.

Okay, so you needed a special playback device that would convert the digitised image to 400 lines on a tv set, and then only in black and white, but the inventors had it made. Except they didn’t.

This was the brainchild of Steven Sasson, an engineer at the Kodak Apparatus Division Research Laboratory who demonstrated his prototype in 1975. The rest should have been history for the company that brought us Kodachrome, the Box Brownie and the Instamatic, but it wasn’t.

The powers that be in the company let the idea slip through their fingers, persisted with the already doomed film camera and has now sunk into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

I find it really sad, that the company founded by such a visionary pioneer as George Eastman who brought photography within the reach of oiks like me should end up this way.

See the Telegraph’s history of Eastman-Kodak in pictures.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

3 comments… Add yours
  • Oik Pudding 4th September 2012

    “oiks like me”… you’re not wrong there! It is amazing that mighty Kodak are now relying almost wholly on their computer printers. How the mighty are fallen and as you say – they could have had the digital revolution by the scruff of its lucrative neck.

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 4th September 2012

    For ‘oik’ read people who can take as many photos as they want with digital and without worrying about the cost of film!

    Reply
  • Chrissy Brand 4th September 2012

    Who’d have thought it? 😉

    Reply

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