A photographic film producer develops the world’s first fully digital camera and 9 different cameras that were a “first” in their own special way.


Did you know that Fujifilm developed the world’s first digital camera? In 1988 at the Photokina trade fair in Germany, Fujifilm announced the FUJIX DS-1P, the world’s first camera to save data to a semiconductor memory card. Taken for granted today, this method of storage was revolutionary for its time and was a Fujifilm original. With its then-impressive 2 megabytes of SRAM, the semiconductor memory card could hold 5 to 10 photographs’ worth of data.

FujiFirstDigitalCamera02aFujifilm was one of the first companies to envision the digital era, and to engage in digital camera R&D. In the 1970s, Fujifilm began developing CCD (charge-coupled device) technology, which a digital camera requires to convert visible light into an electric signal. In the 1980s, Fujifilm was already researching and developing digital imaging technologies. In 1988, Fujifilm developed the FUJIX DS-1P, the world’s first fully digital camera, and in 1989, it began sales of the FUJIX DS-X, the world’s first commercially produced digital camera.

FujiFirstDigitalCamera02bread the story at: fujifilm

FujiFirstDigitalCamera02cFujix DS-1P, 1988, 0.4MP 2/3″ CCD, F5.6 fixed focus 16mm / F4 with flash, 1/2,000s to 1/60s, 105 x 75 x 50mm, 500 grams, 2MB re-usable SRAM memory card

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9 different cameras that were a “first” in their own special way.
1. McCord & Westphal Digital Camera (1971-1973)
First digital silicon pixel array field operational camera. Invented and built by Thomas B. McCord (MIT) and James A. Westphal (CalTech) in 1971. Paper published and patented in 1972. A photometer-digitizer system with A/D converter that stored images on a digital tape. Tethered to an electronics rack. Handheld no. Marketed no.
2. Kodak Prototype Electronic Still Camera (1975)
First hand-held silicon pixel array (CCD) camera. Conceived by Steven Sasson of Kodak Eastman. Started in late 1974, finished by December of 1975. All electronic still camera that recorded a digital representation of the output of a single frame of the CCD on a digital tape. First ever built hand-held CCD still camera. Handheld yes. Marketed no.
3. University of Calgary All-Sky Imager (1977?)
First all-sky digital monitoring system for auroral studies. Designed and constructed at the University of Calgary. Handheld no. Marketed no.
4. Pointing Products FS-2505 Digital Freeze Frame Camera (1984)
First commercially sold video camera with a built-in “freeze frame” capability using solid state digital memory. Handheld yes. Marketed yes.
5. Kodak / Videk Megaplus (1986)
First megapixel class digital camera. Developed and manufactured by Kodak. Sold by Videk. Built in 1986. Hi-res CCD camera with external processing unit. Digital camera but not a stand-alone product (tethered to a digital processing unit). Handheld no. Marketed yes.
6. MegaVision Tessera System (1987)
First commercially available professional digital camera. Tethered system. Developed and manufactured by MegaVision. Built in 1986, on sale in 1987, first regular use in 1989. Handheld no. Marketed yes.
7. Kodak Electro Optical Camera (EO) (1987)
First hand held marketed digital camera. Developed by Kodak’s FSD Division engineer Jim McGarvey for a federal contractor. It was the first megapixel digital camera from Kodak. Handheld yes. Marketed yes (government customer).
8. Fujix DS-1P (1988)
First consumer friendly pocket sized digital camera. Developed jointly with Toshiba. Manufactured by Fuji in 1987, introduced in 1988. It utilized IC cards for storage (SRAM). First consumer digital camera. Handheld yes. Marketed no (distributed to other camera manufacturers though).
9. Fujix DS-X / Toshiba IMC-100 (1989)
First marketed consumer friendly pocket sized digital cameras ever. Developed jointly with Toshiba. Manufactured by Fuji and Toshiba in 1988, introduced and marketed in 1989. It utilized IC cards for storage (SRAM). First consumer digital cameras marketed. Handheld yes. Marketed yes (only in Japan I assume).

Tesseramore at: digicammuseum

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