17 August 2022

L'évolution de l'appareil photo

Lakeprod Blog Evolution Appareil Photo

The origins of photography

The history of photography may seem quite modern, yet the first discoveries that allowed the democratization of photography date back to antiquity! A look back at the history of photography.

The darkroom of Mo Ti

Mo Ti was a philosopher in the 5th century B.C. and discovered that if light was reproduced through a very small hole, the image was reversed when it came out. He noted this discovery as a precursor to the invention of the darkroom centuries later.

The pinhole of Aristotle

In the same way, Aristotle experimented with the concept of the darkroom and the pinhole. Indeed, he introduced the fact of making light pass in a dark room through a small hole. He thus obtained an inverted image on the opposite wall. He used this process to observe a solar eclipse. It was incredibly avant-garde since it is considered that it took place in -350 approximately.

The camera obscura of Leonardo da Vinci

Aristotle’s pre-photographic concept was later taken up by Leonardo da Vinci in 1515 with the camera obscura or black box. He took up with precision the work of his predecessors and suggested that this invention could allow artists to better reproduce landscapes. This is really the starting point of photography since until the 19th century, this is the means used by “photographers” to capture moments. There is no logic of printing or chemical processes, but simply a layer of the landscape through this camera obscura.

The lens of Girolamo Cardano

In 1540, the Italian scientist Girolamo Cardano brought precision to the camera obscura by discovering the use of the glass lens. He placed the lens at the pinhole, which helped to improve the projection. This was the discovery of what would later be called a lens. Thanks to this technique, painters were able to paint landscapes with a much more precise sharpness.

The first real photographs

It is from the 19th century that notable inventions in photography began to appear: it is the appearance of chemical processes that allowed a real advance.

The heliograph of Niepce

Still using a black box, the idea is to fix an image, in other words it is heliography. The technique that Nicéphore Niepce used is to use a tin plate sensitized with bitumen with a darkroom. He let the image reflect on the plate and waited between 10 and 20 hours for the image to fix itself on the plate thanks to a chemical process. It is the first time in history that an image is fixed on a support and that we can really talk about photography. This happened in 1827.

The daguerreotype of Louis Daguerre

Some 10 years later, Louis Daguerre created and marketed what will be considered the first photographic camera. Still using the black box concept, Daguerre used a copper plate covered with a layer of silver nitrate exposed to Iodine vapors. This is the process that we know today as silver photography.

The trichromy

In the 60’s, it is the color which makes its appearance timidly thanks to the superposition of three negatives of optical primary colors. It is one of the discoveries that is at the origin of the color television by the way.

Portable and electromechanical cameras

One of the crucial inventions to photography that we know today is the portability of cameras that allow to photograph an absolutely exceptional number of images. This also allowed the creation of a new profession: photojournalist.

The Kodak

In 1888, the first portable camera was created by Georges Eastman with the brand Kodak. The inventor had the idea of integrating a film instead of sensitive plates which were neither practical nor precise. The camera must simply be developed in a workshop to receive the photographs, the negative and the camera recharged, which is a revolutionary idea in the photo industry.

The Brownie - Kodak

After the success of its first camera, the Kodak company launches a simple and inexpensive camera humorously named the brownie. It is a cardboard box with a lens that costs only 1 dollar, so the cameras gradually begin to be known by a wider audience.

The Leica 1 and the first photographs by Robert Capa

Oskar Barnack, an engineer at Leitz, created a lightweight yet sturdy camera called the Leica 1. Barnack introduced a new type of film with 35mm film more commonly used in the film industry. It was with this camera that the famous photographer Robert Capa took his wartime photo reports in the 1930s, photographs that have marked generations and are still studied in history classes.

Color Film - Kodak

For the first time a color negative film is commercialized, in 1942. It is then possible thanks to Kodak to develop its photographs in color in the same way that it is done in and already in black and white. This invention will quickly lead to a democratization of photography and the use of color.

The democratization of cameras

A great innovation was still missing in the cameras: the instant photographs. It was an unattainable dream until then to be able to take pictures on the spot without having to develop them. Then came 1948.

The Polaroid

Edwin Herbert Land, an American scientist passionate about photography, launched in 1948 the first instant camera named Polaroid 95 Land Camera. What makes the specificity of the polaroid paper and which allows the instantaneousness of the photos is the presence of a fixer of light as well as a developer. This makes the development step unnecessary, and this was very appreciated by the general public.

The first single lens reflex camera

In the same year, the Hasselbad 1600F model was launched. It is a camera characterized by the presence of a single lens that allows both shooting and viewing through the use of movable mirrors. This is the camera that was used to capture the first photos of the Moon in Apollo 11.

The first camera with a flash

In 1960, as the electronic components are more and more miniaturized, the engineers include a discharge lamp with a capacitor which allows an immediate flash and much better than those used before. This is the beginning of taking pictures at night or when the light is low, which is a small revolution.

Digital photography

The digital era in photography is the one we know now, from the first digital cameras to the use of smartphones, here is a chronological and historical summary.

The first electronic camera

It is once again Kodak which launches the first prototype of digital camera. It weighs 3.6kg at the time which is very heavy, but the camera is able to capture many pixels which is already a success. However, the quality is not there for this model. We are in 1975.

The first digital SLR camera

In 2001, the brand Canon launches the first digital SLR camera, intended mainly for professional photographers with an excellent resolution and a quality much better than the previous versions. It happens then a huge passage of professionals and individuals to digital.

Photo and iPhone

The first iPhone is released in 2007, it democratizes photography on smartphone thanks to its quality which is a first on a cell phone. It is then called photophone.

First 3D camera

In 2011, the Fujifilm brand launches a 3D camera with an auto-stereoscopic screen that does not even require the use of 3D glasses as can be done in the cinema. It’s a rather futuristic invention that has won over many users, especially for its photo quality.

Today, smartphones are almost like cameras, even if we feel a real tendency to go back to the roots with the return of the polaroid and disposable cameras that provide a totally different feeling and rendering than what we create on our phone’s interface.

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