Sunday, January 15, 2012

The first digital camera I ever saw...

I am definitely dating myself by doing this---but the first digital camera I ever saw was when I was in journalism school in the early 90s. It was a bulky contraption that actually took a 3.5 floppy disk (remember those? We were so fascinated with them because they were "hard" and so much smaller than those even older TRULY floppy disks that were like a small 45 rpm record...but I digress...)

The camera actually recorded the image on the disk. Then you could eject the disk in a similar way to the Macs at that time.

And it cost roughly $3,000 to $5,000.

Our professor said that newspapers everywhere would be turning toward digital cameras. That soon film would be obsolete. That we would no longer have to work in the black-and-white darkroom, our hands covered in chemicals (that I later wonder did God-only-knows-what to us), struggling to get the perfect contrast and "fix" the photo print before deadline.

And doing color in a darkroom? Forget that. Temperature of chemicals could easily cause the picture to tint red or yellow, and while spending too much time in a poorly ventilated darkroom is never a good idea (Disclaimer: our darkroom was well-ventilated at the journalism school, but one at an internship I had one summer was NOT), the worst that could happen for black and white development was maybe a bit of nausea, a feeling like you'd been on a bad carousel. But chemicals in color development were more corrosive.  Burning stuff. That's why the drug stores had a machine that regulated all the developing chemicals' temperature, etc.

Digital cameras? I remember thinking, that'll never happen. Like a newspaper (or even myself, for that matter) is ever going to pay $5k for a camera. Come on.

I think my last digital camera cost $40.

Anyway, this is a cool article that talks about the demise of film, the need for innovation, and the first huge, honking digital camera ever invented...and it also asks the question: can we be victims of our own innovation?
The First Digital Camera

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