October 7, 2005 2005 marks the 30th anniversary of the one of the hottest consumer electronic products in the world today – the digital camera. In 1975, the world’s first digital photograph was taken at a Kodak lab in Rochester, NY, USA, in an event that preceded the Compact Disc, the Personal Computer and the Internet. In 1974 Steven Sasson, an engineer at Kodak’s Applied Electronics Research Centre, was tasked with devising an “electronic handheld still camera”. The following year his first working prototype – weighing 8.5 pounds, powered by 16 AA batteries and recording images on a cassette – took the first ever digital still camera photograph. That’s Steve, the world’s first digital camera and the world’s first ever digital photograph at right.
“When I took the first digital image in 1975, I had no idea of the impact it would have on the world of photography,” enthuses Sasson, who still works for Kodak today. “Kodak’s flair for fostering innovation allowed us to continue developing our vision of digital imaging, which has come to fruition through the advent of the PC and the Internet. Kodak has continued to push the limits of the technology, ensuring that we stay at the cutting edge of photographic innovation.”
Sasson predicted the digital revolution more than 15 years ahead of time. He knew that digital imaging would be huge, but not until technology in the computer environment had caught up. Now that has happened, digital imaging has revolutionised photography. Digital cameras’ instant results have generated mass consumer appeal to the degree that digital images are now used in everyday communications at home and at work. In 2004, the 74 million digital cameras sold worldwide outstripped film camera sales for the first time. Forty billion digital snapshots will be taken in 2005.
Kodak’s 125th anniversary year is also a year of digital milestones. In addition to the 30th anniversary of the world’s first digital camera prototype and announcement of the world’s first wireless camera, the company is also celebrating its 15th year in digital document scanners, and the 10th anniversary of the first Kodak-branded consumer digital camera.