a digital revolution in the making

Digital photography is a form of photography that uses an array of light sensitive sensors to capture the image focused by the lens, as opposed to an exposure on light sensitive film. The captured image is then stored as a digital file ready for digital processing (colour correction, sizing, cropping, etc.), viewing or printing.

Until the advent of such technology, photographs were made by exposing light sensitive photographic film, and used chemical photographic processing to develop and stabilize the image. By contrast, digital photographs can be displayed, printed, stored, manipulated, transmitted, and archived using digital and computer techniques, without chemical processing.

Digital photography is one of several forms of digital imaging. Digital images are also created by non-photographic equipment such as computer tomography scanners and radio telescopes. Digital images can also be made by scanning conventional photographic images.

first digital camera imageThe first recorded attempt at building a digital camera was in 1975 by Steven Sasson, an engineer at Eastman Kodak. It used the then-new solid-state CCD image sensor chips developed by Fairchild Semiconductor in 1973. The camera weighed 8 pounds (3.6 kg), recorded black and white images to a cassette tape, had a resolution of 0.01 megapixels (10,000 pixels), and took 23 seconds to capture its first image in December 1975. The prototype camera was a technical exercise, not intended for production.

The first true digital camera that recorded images as a computerized file was likely the Fuji DS-1P of 1988, which recorded to a 16 MB internal memory card that used a battery to keep the data in memory. This camera was never marketed in the United States, and has not been confirmed to have shipped even in Japan.

The first commercially available digital camera was the 1990 Dycam Model 1; it also sold as the Logitech Fotoman. It used a CCD image sensor, stored pictures digitally, and connected directly to a computer for download.