History of Anything

The Camera

~1000 AD

Pinhole camera, or Camera Obscura, projects an upside-down image onto a surface for viewing. The first person to create this camera was an Arab physicist, Alhazen. He created the first of this type of camera after seeing hoe light traveled through a window, using this knowledge he realized that using smaller holes would make a sharper image.


The first somewhat successful photograph from a camera was made by Nicéphore Niépce, using a very small camera that he created himself and a piece of paper with silver chloride, which darkened where light shown. There was no way of removing the unaffected silver chloride, which meant that it was not a permanent picture, inevitably becoming completely dark by the overall light exposed to it needed to see it.


Louis Daguerre kept experimenting and by 1837 had created the first practical photographic process, which he named the daguerreotype and revealed it to the public in 1839. He had treated a silver plated sheet of copper with iodine vapor in order to give it a coating of light sensitive silver iodide. After exposure in the camera, the image was developed by mercury vapor and fixed with a strong solution of ordinary salt.


Collodion dry plates had been available since 1855, but it was not until the creation of the gelatin dry plate in 1871 by Richard Leach Maddox that the wet plate process could be rivaled in speed and quality. The 1878 discovery that heat-ripening a gelatin incredibly increasing its sensitivity finally made , what people called "instantaneous" snapshot exposures practical. for the first time a tripod or other support was no longer needed.


George Eastman started manufacturing paper film in 1885 before changing to celluloid in 1889. His first camera which he called the "Kodak". It was first for sale in 1888. It was a simple box camera with a fixed-focus lens and a single shutter speed, which with its relatively low price appealed to the average customer. It came pre-loaded with film for 100 shots and needed to be sent to a factory for processing.


The first practical reflex camera was the Franke & Heidecke Rolleiflex medium format TLR in 1928. This camera was compact and achieve widespread popularity and its design became popular for both high- and low-end cameras.

A similar revolution in SLR design started in 1833 with the introduction of the Ihagee Exakta, a compact SLR that used 127 rollfilm