DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY - THE AMERICAN CONNECTION

Although many of today's digital cameras are produced in the far east, engineers and companies within the United States were the driving force behind the development of digital photography and still are a significant presence today:

1960 - First Laser. The first operable laser was constructed by Theodore Maiman while employed at Hughes Research of Malibu, California. The laser was later used in some digital cameras to record images onto CDs.

1961 - First Videodisk. David Paul Gregg first envisioned the Videodisk in 1958 and later patented it in 1961.

1963 - First Videodisk Camera. D. Gregg, an inventor at Stanford University, created a crude forerunner to digital photography, the videodisk camera.

1964 - First Electronic Camera Photo of Mars. In July of 1964 NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, received electronic signals from video cameras on board the Mariner 4 (IV) spacecraft on its way to Mars.

1966 - First Earth Photo from Vicinity of The Moon. The world's first view of Earth taken by a spacecraft from the vicinity of the Moon. The photo was electronically transmitted to Earth by the United States Lunar Orbiter I and received at the NASA tracking station at Robledo De Chavela near Madrid, Spain.

1967 - First Floppy Disk Drive. The floppy disk drive (FDD) was invented at IBM by Alan Shugart. The floppy drive was later used in some digital cameras as the image recording device.

1968 - First Solid State imager Patent. U.S. Patent #3,540,011, filed September 6, 1968, granted November 10, 1970:   "A flat screen target for receiving and storing an optical image composed of an array of photosensitive diode elements."   Designers: Edward H. Stupp, Pieter G. Cath and Zsolt Szilagyi, research engineers and physicists at Philips Labs in Briarcliff Manor, New York.

1969 - First Charged Coupled Device (CCD). Willard Boyle and George Smith of Bell Labs originate the basic design for the CCD.

1969 - First photographs to Earth from The Moon. In July of 1969 the crew of the lunar lander, Eagle, transmitted TV images of the astronauts and of the earth as seen from the moon.

1970 - First CCD Video Camera. In 1970, Bell Labs researchers constructed the world's first solid-state video camera using a CCD as the imaging device.

1972 - First Electronic Photography System Patent. Texas Instruments patented a filmless electronic camera. Inventor:   Willis A. Adcock; filed June 27, 1972.

1973 - First Commercial CCD. Fairchild Imaging successfully developed and produced the first commercial charge-coupled device (CCD) with a size of 100 x 100 pixels.

1974 - First CCD Fabrication Process. Dr. Gil Amelio conceives a fabrication process that allowed CCDs to be produced on a conventional wafer fabrication line.

1974 - First Astronomical CCD Image. A Fairchild 100 x 100 pixel CCD and an 8-inch telescope produced the first astronomical CCD image, a photo of the moon.

1975 - Bayer Color Filter Array.   Bryce Bayer invented the Bayer color filter array which is now used in most digital cameras and camera phones today.

1975 - First CCD Flatbed Text Reading Scanner. Ray Kurzweil and his team at Kurzweil Computer Products created the Kurzweil Reading Machine and the first omni-font optical character recognition technology in support of individuals who are blind.

1975 - First Home Computer. The Mits Corporation of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, introduced the first popular home computer, the Altair.

1975 - First Prototype Digital Still Camera. Steve J. Sasson, a Kodak engineer, constructed the world's first known operational digital still image camera. The camera utilized the Fairchild 100 x 100 pixel CCD.

1976 - First Photo from Mars.   On August 30, 1976, Viking 1 landed on Mars and transmitted a photo of Chryse Planitia with its 6-bit scanning camera.

1976 - First Commercial CCD Video Camera. Fairchild Imaging produced the the Fairchild MV-101, 100 x 100 pixel, CCD camera which was used at Proctor & Gamble for product inspections.

1977 - First Computerized Portrait System.   Developed by Computer Amusement Systems, Inc. of New York City.

1978 - First Consumer Optical Discs.   MCA DiscoVision released the first consumer optical discs along with the Philips Magnavox VH-8000 player in 1978 in Atlanta, Georgia.   This technology later led to today's CDs.

1979 - First CCD for Continuous Astronomical Use. An RCA 320 x 512 pixel liquid nitrogen cooled CCD system began operation on a 1-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Observations quickly demonstrated its superiority over photographic plates.

1981 - First CCD in an Operational Camera Built for Practical Use. In 1981 the University of Calgary Canada, ASI Science Team constructed the first operational digital camera to provide digital data concerning auroras using Fairchild's 100 x 100 pixel CCD.

1982 - First Scanner Image Tranmission. Kodak demonstrated scanner image transmission.   

1985 - First Digital imaging Processor. In 1985 the Pixar Corporation of Emeryville, California introduced the world's first digital imaging processor.

1986 - First One Megapixel CCD. Kodak developed a CCD of 1.4 megapixel capacity.

1986 - First Computer Video Digitizer for Home Computers. The NewTek Corporation of San Antonio, California produced the Digi-View video digitizer designed to run on the Amiga 1000 computer. The Digitizer produced still digital images from video with up to 640 x 200 pixels.

1986 - First Commercial Digital Camera.   MegaVision of Santa Barbara California introduced a 2000-line camera system called the Tessera, the very first digital camera to be used in commercial photographic applications.

1987 - First Megapixel Digital Camera. Videk, a Kodak venture company, began selling the Megaplus, the world's first megapixel camera using Kodak's 1.4 million pixel CCD.

1988 - First VHS Digital Camera. Polaroid introduced the HiRes digital camera which used VHS as the digital recording medium.

1988 - First Nano-second Images. The Polaroid imaging system was used in the Hadland Photonics high-speed SV-553 camera which displayed nano-second ballistic images on a PC monitor.

1989 - First Image Program for Macintosh Computers. The Letraset Corporation of Paramus,New Jersey released Color Studio 1.0, the first professional image manipulation program for Macintosh computers.

1990 - First U.S. Digital Cameras. The first digital cameras sold in the U.S. were the Dycam Model 1 and the Fotoman, both manufactured by the Dycam corporation of Chatsworth, California.

1990 - First Photos from an Orbiting Telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope was provided with several digital cameras to record images of our universe.

1992 - First Digital Camera Back. Leaf marketed the first digital camera back ( Leaf Systems Inc began as an American company).

1994 - First Consumer Digital Camera Less Than $1,000. In 1994 Apple mass-marketed the QuickTake 100 which was produced for Apple by Kodak. The price was $749.

1994 - First Camera Memory Card. In October of 1994 the SanDisk Corporation of Milpitas, California introduced the first available camera memory card, CompactFlash (CF).

1994 - First Digital Vegetation Camera. The Dycam agricultural digital camera (ADC) was tailored for photography in the visible red and near-infrared spectrum. It aided growers in determining crop conditions.

1994 - First Photojournalist Digital Camera. The AP/KODAK NC2000 AND NC2000E were the first professional digital camera marketed specifically for photojournalists.

1994 - First Digital to Exceed Film. On January 15, 1994, Michael Collette, an American electronics engineer, demonstrated a hand-built 140MB 4x5 digital back that significantly exceeded color negative film, color transparency film, and black and white negative film of the same size as to image quality.

1996 - First One-megapixel Camera Under $1,000. The Kodak 1.2 megapixel DC-120 was priced at $799.

1996 - First Photos of Mars from Orbit. The Mars Global Surveyor went into orbit around Mars in September of 1997. It used a digital camera to record detailed images of the surface of Mars.

1996 - First Full Frame Digital Back. Dicomed of Minneapolis, Minnesota, marketed the Dicomed 4000 which not only had the first CCD to exceed the 35mm frame size, but also to exceed the 5.6x5.6cm size of a Hasselblad back.

1996 - First Digital Camera to Use Removable Compact Flash. The KODAK DC-25 was the first digital camera to use removable Compact Flash.

1997 - First CMOS Digital Camera. The SVmini marketed by Sound Vision of Boston, Massachusetts was the first digital camera on the market to use a CMOS imager rather than a CCD.

1999 - Multi-Layer Optical Storage. The C3D Corporation of Longmont, Colorado, demonstrated three-dimensional optical storage.

1999 - First Microdrive Image Storage. IBM introduced microdrive recording media for digital cameras.

1999 - First On-line Photo Printing. The Printroom Corporation of Santa Clara, California begins on-line photo finishing and sharing services.

2001 - First Digital Photography Historical Web Site. DigiCamHistory.Com of Xenia, Ohio begins operation as the world's first web site devoted to the history and development of digital photography.

2002 - First Multi-depth Digital Color Imager. The Foveon Corporation of San Jose California announced their X3 sensor, the first sensor to achieve full color by measuring different colors at different depths within the silicon.

2003 - First Single-use Digital Cameras. Ritz Camera of Irvine, california announces the marketing of single-use digital cameras.

2003 - First Wireless Fidelity Flash Cards. The SanDisk Corporaton of Milpitas, California announces a combined wireless fidelity (WiFi) CompactFlash (CF) and Secure Digital (SD) memory card.

2005 - First Combined Flash Card and Flash Drive. The SanDisk Corporation marketd a Secure Digital (SD) memory card having a hinged portion that allows the card to become a USB 2.0 flash drive.

2007 - First Write-once Memory Card. SanDisk Corporation announced the first ever write-once memory card, having the advantage of low cost and extremely long term storage of 100+ years.

2008 - First 3D Creation Program. Microsoft Corporation announced their Photosynth program which allows 3D photos to be created using several conventional images.

2009: Honory Doctorate for Kodak Engineer.   The University of Rochester conferred an honorary doctorate on Steven Sasson, who invented the first digital camera while working for Eastman Kodak Company.

2009:   American Physicists Receive Nobel Prize.   The two physicists who co-invented the CCD image sensor receive a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics. Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith developed the charge-coupled device in 1969 while working at Bell Laboratories, producing the world's first solid-state video camera a year later.

2009: Kodak Engineer Receives Royal Photographic Award.   Bryce Bayer, inventor of the color filter array used to determine color in virtually every modern digital camera receives the UK Royal Photographic Society's Progress Award.