The digital camera is nearly 40 years old: here’s the very first one

An Eastman Kodak engineer named Steve Sasson invented the first digital camera in 1975:

In a Kodak blog post written in 2007, Sasson explains how it was constructed:

It had a lens that we took from a used parts bin from the Super 8 movie camera production line downstairs from our little lab on the second floor in Bldg 4. On the side of our portable contraption, we shoehorned in a portable digital cassette instrumentation recorder. Add to that 16 nickel cadmium batteries, a highly temperamental new type of CCD imaging area array, an a/d converter implementation stolen from a digital voltmeter application, several dozen digital and analog circuits all wired together on approximately half a dozen circuit boards, and you have our interpretation of what a portable all electronic still camera might look like.

Here are some specs: The 8 pound camera recorded 0.01 megapixel black and white photos to a cassette tape. The first photograph took 23 seconds to create.


To play back images, data was read from the tape and then displayed on a television set:

Today’s most affordable state-of-the-art camera, the Canon PowerShot SX150 IS, by comparison has the following specs:

• 12x Wide-Angle Optical Zoom and 28mm lens with Optical Image Stabilizer

• 14.1 Megapixel Image Sensor and DIGIC 4 Image Processor

• 720p HD Video in Stereo Sound

• Large 3.0-Inch Wide LCD Viewing Screen

• Movie Digest Mode Records Video Clps Before Shoting a Photo

• 12x wide-angle optical zoom

At Amazon, all of this technology can be purchased for less than $ 100.

Doug Ross @ Journal