Today, cameras have become so popular that, there may be hardly a person who don’t have a camera. We all carry cameras in our smartphones that are always ready to take shots when we want. You are lucky that you are living in a time where we all carry cameras for photography. But Photography, as you know it today was not cheap and common in the past century. Because cameras were not available in shape as we know it today.

The Pinhole Camera

History of the camera goes back to 11th century, a time known as the golden era of Muslims. When a muslim arab Ibn-Al-Haytham, who was expert in optics invented the camera known as Pinhole camera or camera obscura. This camera was a wooden box, dark from inside with a small hole in it. When light passed through the hole it formed an inverted image inside the box. But, this camera couldn’t preserve the image.

Working of the Pinhole Camera

Image Preserving Camera

Nicephore-Niepce Camera

Camera Obscura was used by artists for tracing the shape of the image, which was formed with light. When the Nicephore Niepce developed a paper that was coated with silver chloride, which when exposed to light, it reacted with light and darkened. He placed this paper inside the camera obscura and the image formed on this light sensitive paper. This was the world’s first photograph that was made using the light in the year 1827. These photographs took about 8 hours to form on the paper and were not permanent, they turned dark when exposed to light.

Permanent Photograph

Daguerreotype Camera

Louis Daguerre partnered with Nicephore Niepce and started working on the way to permanently preserve the image. But, Nicephore Niepce died in 1833 and the further experiments were made Louis Daguerre along with the Niepce’s son.

In the year 1839, Daguerre found an effective process for photography, which he named after himself “Daguerreotype. The images formed with this process were longer lasting and were not affected by light.

Hand-held Cameras

Early Handheld Camera

After the invention of dry plates (a glass plate coated with dried gelatin emulsion), which reduced the time of image formation. The photographers were no longer limited to studios, they used hand-held cameras that were developed at that time to go anywhere to take images. The dry plates were replaced by the flexible roll film made by George Eastman which produced the negatives (photograph used to develop multiple positive photographs) in his camera named the “Kodak”.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

The era of digital cameras was started when the technology needed to make them became available. Fuji DS-1P was a first true digital camera made in the year 1988. It had 2 MB SRAM for storing a digital image until the image was transferred to the computer. But, this model never went commercially. The first commercially available digital camera was DS-X by Fuji, sold at the end of 1988.

Today, we all use digital cameras in smartphones and we rarely see any old model camera with a roll film except in the technology museums.

Cite this Page

Abdul Wahab, "Camera," in science4fun - Learn Science with Experiments and Topics, August 31, 2018,

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