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Digital Photography Timeline Part 2--1990's

In the first part of our Digital Photography Timeline we covered the decades of 1960, 1970 and 1980 which laid the groundwork for the rapid advancements in digital photography that would come in the 1990's.

The decade of the 1990's saw many important advancements in the world of digital photography. For example it was during this time that Adobe introduced the first version Photoshop which remains the standard for image editing software still today. Other notable achievements in this decade were the invention and release of the Compact Flash memory storage card as well as the release of the first Digital Single Lens Reflex camera the Nikon D1.

Digital Photography Timeline Part 3--2000 and Beyond

Key dates in the history of digital photography from 1990 to 1999:

  • Adobe Photoshop 11990: Kodak develops the Photo CD system and proposes the first “ worldwide standard for defining color in the digital environment of computers and computer peripherals.”

  • 1990: Adobe release Photoshop 1.0 making it the second digital editing program available for Macintosh computers and an important milestone in the digital photography timeline.

  • 1990: Logitech introduces the Dycam Model I and Fotoman digital cameras. It was a true digital camera capable of capturing 320 x 320 pixel black and white photos. The camera had 1 MB of internal memory that could store up to 32 photos. It had a 8mm fixed-focus lens with a shutter speed range of 1/30 to 1/1000 second. The camera came with a cable to download these photos to a computer and sold for $995.

  • 1991: Another milestone in the digital photography timeline was when Kodak released the first professional digital camera system marketed towards journalists. It used a Nikon F-3 camera film body adapted with a 1.3 megapixel Kodak CCD image sensor. It sold for $13,000.

  • 1991: Fuji releases the DS-100 digital memory card camera. This camera had a 390,000 pixel imager and a 8-24mm F/2 power zoom lens. It recorded images to a digital image card and sold for around $5,000. Fuji also sold a card drive that hooked up to a Macintosh computer via the SCSI port resulting in faster image downloads than the typical serial interface more commonly used. This camera included a version of Adobe PhotoShop that allowed the importing of images to a Macintosh computer.

  • 1992: The National Center for Supercomputing Applications release Mosaic the first internet photograph browser another important event along the digital photography timeline.

  • Apple QuickTake 1001994: Apple releases the QuickTake 100 a color digital camera made by Kodak. With as selling price of $795 this camera was able to capture a 640x480 pixel color image and came with a fixed focus 50mm lens. It used three AAA batteries for power and weighed only one pound. It stored up to 32 images at 320 x 240 pixels or 8 pictures at 640 x 480 resolution and connected to a computer via a serial port.

  • 1994: Olympus introduces the Deltis VC-1100, the world’s first digital camera capable of uploading photos using a modem to another camera or computer. It had a built in zoom lens and an image resolution of 768 x 576 pixels. Selling at about $4,000 this camera was also one of the first cameras to store images on an external PCMCIA card.

  • Kodak Compact Flash Card1994: SanDisk and Kodak released the first CompactFlash Memory Card. Kodak releases a 1 MB version of the card in early 1994 and SanDisk releases 2-24 MB versions of the card later that year. Still widely used today the development of the CompactFlash memory card was an important event in the digital photography timeline.

  • 1995: Ricoh releases the RDC-1 the first digital camera that could also take movies with sound, although the movies were limited to only 10 seconds long. Also in 1995 Casio released the QV-11 which was one of the first digital cameras with an LCD display.

  • 1995: Canon and Kodak jointly released the EOS DCS series of digital cameras intended for professional use. Canon also released the the EF 75-300mm F4-5.6 IS lens. This was the first still camera telephoto lens that had built in image stabilization technology.

  • canon powershot 6001996: The Kodak CD-25 is the first camera to use a Compact Flash card for storage. Canon also started selling its “PowerShot” 600 the first in a long line of “PowerShot” cameras designed for the general user. The Canon “PowerShot” 600 also used a compact flash card to store photos and really marked the beginning of Canon’s full scale start into the digital camera era and a key event on the digital photography timeline.

  • 1996: Sony introduces their first “Cyber-shot” digital camera the DSC-F1. This camera used a .3 megapixel (310,000 pixel) CCD image sensor capable of a resolution of 640x480 pixels. It had 4MB of internal flash memory and could store up to 108 JPEG images. (30 images in fine mode.)

  • Sony MVC FD51997: Was a breakout year with Hitachi coming out with the MP-EG1 the first digital camera that captured movies in the MPEG format. At the same time Sony released the Cyber-shot DSC-MD1 the first digital camera that recorded JPEG images onto a MiniDisc (a small CD). This camera had a 640x480 pixel CCD image sensor and a 37 to 111mm F/2 lens with macro functions. The same year Sony also released its MVC-FD5 the first of its Mavica cameras that allowed users to record JPEG images directly to a standard 3.5 inch floppy disk making it easy for the consumer to transfer the images directly to their computers.

  • 1997: Olympus releases the Camedia D-500L. The D-500L had a 1024 x 768 pixel CCD imager and a 50mm to 150mm F/2.8 lens. It retailed for $799 and was the first non-SLR digital camera to use a TTL (through-the-lens) viewfinder.

  • 1997: The Panasonic Palmcam PV-DC1080 is one of the earliest digital cameras to come with a docking station to link to the computer. This camera had a retail price of $550 and used a 640 x 480 pixel CCD sensor with a 55mm fixed focus lens.

  • Sony MVC FD911998: Sony’s MVC-FD91 was one of the first cameras to use Sony’s Info Lithium batteries. This allowed continuous feedback as to how much battery life was left as well as eliminating the “memory” problem typical of NICAD rechargeable batteries. Like most other Mavica’s this camera stored images on a standard 3.5” floppy disk. It was one of the first cameras to have a 14X zoom lens with built in image stabilization and a key event in the digital photography timeline. With a 37mm to 518mm effective focal length the camera set a new standard for what today would be referred to as “super zoom” cameras. It had a 1024 x 768 pixel CCD sensor and sold for around $700.

  • 1999: Another important point on the digital photography timeline was when started the first photography site on the internet where photos can be uploaded directly from a digital camera.

  • Nikon D11999: Another milestone on the digital photography timeline came when Nikon released the Nikon D1 which was the first DSLR (digital single lens reflex camera). It had a 2.74 megapixel APS-C image sensor weighed about 3.75 lbs. and cost slightly under $6,000. It also used the standard Nikon F-mount lenses which allowed film photographers could use many of the lenses they already owned. Nikon continued using an APS-C image sensor, known as the “DX sensor” in their digital SLR’s from 1999 to 2007.

  • 1999: Nikon also releases two 2 megapixel cameras capable of producing smaller photo quality prints. The Coolpix 900 came with a zoom lens while the Coolpix 700 had a fixed focal length lens.


Tags: Digital Photography Photography Basics