Timeline of photography technology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following list comprises significant milestones in the development of photography technology.


The oldest surviving camera photograph, by Nicéphore Niépce, 1826 or 1827[1]
View of the Boulevard du Temple, first photograph including a person (on pavement at lower left), by Daguerre, 1838
First durable color photograph, 1861
An 1877 photographic color print on paper by Louis Ducos du Hauron. The irregular edges of the superimposed cyan, red and yellow components can be seen.
Muybridge used high-speed photography to make the first animated image sequences photographed in real-time (1878–1887)

Prior to the 19th century[edit]

  • 1614 – In Septem planetarum terrestrium spagirica recensio,[2] Angelo Sala reported that "Si lapidem lunearem pulveratum ad solem exponas instar atramenti niggerimus" (When you expose powdered silver nitrate to sunlight, it turns black as ink), and also its effect on paper; silver nitrate wrapped in paper for a year turned black.[3]
  • c. 1717[4]Johann Heinrich Schulze makes fleeting sun prints of words by using stencils, sunlight, and a bottled mixture of chalk and silver nitrate in nitric acid, simply as an interesting way to demonstrate that the substance inside the bottle darkens where it is exposed to light.
  • c. 1794 – Elizabeth Fulhame invented the concept of catalysis and discovered photoreduction. She describes catalysis as a process at length in her 1794 book An Essay On Combustion with a View to a New Art of Dying and Painting, wherein the Phlogistic and Antiphlogistic Hypotheses are Proved Erroneous.[5]
  • c. 1800 – Thomas Wedgwood conceives of making permanent pictures of camera images by using a durable surface coated with a light-sensitive chemical. He succeeds only in producing silhouettes and other shadow images, and is unable to make them permanent.

19th century[edit]

  • 1810 – Thomas Johann Seebeck records near-true colours of the solar spectrum on paper sensitised with silver chloride, though is unable to preserve the results, and his report is included in Goethe's Theory of Colours (Zur Farbenlehre).
  • 1816 – Nicéphore Niépce succeeds in making negative photographs of camera images on paper coated with silver chloride, but cannot adequately "fix" them to stop them from darkening all over when exposed to light for viewing.[6]
  • 1822 – Niépce abandons silver halide photography as hopelessly impermanent and tries using thin coatings of Bitumen of Judea on metal and glass. He creates the first fixed, permanent photograph, a copy of an engraving of Pope Pius VII, by contact printing in direct sunlight without a camera or lens. It is later destroyed; the earliest surviving example of his "heliographic process" is from 1825.[1]
  • 1824 – Niépce makes the first durable, light-fast camera photograph, similar to his surviving 1826–1827 photograph on pewter but created on the surface of a lithographic stone.[7] It is destroyed in the course of subsequent experiments.
  • 1826 – Mary Somerville a Scottish science writer and polymath conducted a series of experiments to explore the relationship between light and magnetism and she published her first paper, "The magnetic properties of the violet rays of the solar spectrum", in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.[8]
  • 1826 or 1827 – Niépce makes what is now the earliest surviving photograph from nature,[1] a landscape. It requires an exposure in the camera that lasts at least eight hours and probably several days.
  • 1834 – Hércules Florence, a French-Brazilian painter and the isolate inventor of photography in Brazil, coined the word photographie for his technique, at least four years before John Herschel coined the English word photography.[9]
  • 1835 – Henry Fox Talbot produces durable silver chloride camera negatives on paper and conceives the two-step negative-positive procedure used in most non-electronic photography up to the present.[10]
  • 1839
    • Louis Daguerre publicly introduces his daguerreotype process, which produces highly detailed permanent photographs on silver-plated sheets of copper. At first, it requires several minutes of exposure in the camera, but later improvements reduce the exposure time to a few seconds. Photography suddenly enters the public consciousness and Daguerre's process is soon being used worldwide.
    • Talbot publicly introduces the paper-based process he worked out in 1835, calling it "photogenic drawing", but it requires much longer exposures than the daguerreotype and the results are not as clear and detailed.[10]
    • Hippolyte Bayard presents the first public exhibition of photographs. He claims to have invented a photographic process prior to Daguerre and Talbot.
    • Sarah Anne Bright creates a series of photograms, six of which are known to still exist. These are the earliest surviving photographic images created by a woman.
    • John Herschel introduces hyposulfite of soda (now known as sodium thiosulfate but still nicknamed "hypo") as a highly effective fixer for all silver-based processes. He also makes the first glass negative.
    • Mungo Ponton a Scottish inventor, discovered that dichromates are light sensitive leading to Gum bichromate printing another permanent form of photography and additions for improvements in others including contrast increase with cyanotype, and salt printing.[11]
  • 1841 – Talbot introduces his patented calotype (or "talbotype") paper negative process, an improved version of his earlier process that greatly reduces the required exposure time.[10]
  • 1843 – Anna Atkins Publishes first photobook. British Algae.
  • 1845 – Francis Ronalds invents the first successful camera for continuous recording of the variations in meteorological and geomagnetic parameters over time[12][13]
  • 1848 – Edmond Becquerel makes the first full-color photographs, but they are only laboratory curiosities: an exposure lasting hours or days is required and the colors are so light-sensitive that they sometimes fade right before the viewer's eyes while being examined.
  • 1851 – Introduction of the collodion process by Frederick Scott Archer, used for making glass negatives, ambrotypes and tintypes.
  • 1850s – Combination printing was introduced, probably first suggested by Hippolyte Bayard when he thought of using a separate negative of a properly exposed sky in combination with a proper negative of the landscape or monument documented for the Missions Héliographiques that started in 1851.
  • 1854
  • 1857 – In America David Acheson Woodward patents the solar camera, derived from the earlier solar microscope,[14] using sunlight to make enlargements from glass negatives[15]
  • 1861 – James Clerk Maxwell presents a projected additive color image of a multicolored ribbon, the first demonstration of color photography by the three-color method he suggested in 1855. It uses three separate black-and-white photographs taken and projected through red, green and blue color filters. The projected image is temporary but the set of three "color separations" is the first durable color photograph.
  • 1868 – Louis Ducos du Hauron patents his numerous ideas for color photography based on the three-color principle, including procedures for making subtractive color prints on paper. They are published the following year. Their implementation is not technologically practical at that time, but they anticipate most of the color processes that are later introduced.
  • 1871 – The gelatin emulsion is invented by Richard Maddox.
  • 1873 – Hermann Wilhelm Vogel discovers dye sensitization, allowing the blue-sensitive but otherwise color-blind photographic emulsions then in use to be made sensitive to green, yellow and red light. Technical problems delay the first use of dye sensitization in a commercial product until the mid-1880s; fully panchromatic emulsions are not in common use until the mid-20th century.
  • 1876 – Hurter & Driffield begin systematic evaluation of sensitivity characteristics of photographic emulsions — the science of sensitometry.
  • 1878
    • Heat ripening of gelatin emulsions is discovered. This greatly increases sensitivity and makes possible very short "snapshot" exposures.
    • Eadweard Muybridge uses a row of cameras with trip-wires to make a high-speed photographic analysis of a galloping horse. Each picture is taken in less than the two-thousandth part of a second, and they are taken in sufficiently rapid sequence (about 25 per second) that they constitute a brief real-time "movie" that can be viewed by using a device such as a zoetrope, a photographic "first".
  • 1887 – Celluloid film base introduced.
  • 1888
    • The Kodak n°1 box camera, the first easy-to-use camera, is introduced with the slogan, "You press the button, we do the rest."
    • Louis Le Prince makes Roundhay Garden Scene. It is believed to be the first-ever motion picture on film.
  • 1889 – The first commercially available transparent celluloid roll film is introduced by the Eastman Company,[16] later renamed the Eastman Kodak Company and commonly known as Kodak.
  • 1891
  • 1895 – Auguste and Louis Lumière invent the cinématographe.
  • 1898 – Kodak introduces the Folding Pocket Kodak.
  • 1900 – Kodak introduces their first Brownie, a very inexpensive user-reloadable point-and-shoot box camera.

20th century onwards[edit]

  • 1901 – Kodak introduces the 120 film format.
  • 1902 – Arthur Korn devises practical telephotography technology (reduction of photographic images to signals that can be transmitted by wire to other locations).Wire-Photos are in wide use in Europe by 1910, and transmitted to other continents by 1922.
  • 1907 – The Autochrome plate is introduced. It becomes the first commercially successful color photography product.
  • 1908 – Kinemacolor, a two-color process known as the first commercial "natural color" system for movies, is introduced.
  • 1909 – Kodak announces a 35 mm "safety" motion picture film on an acetate base as an alternative to the highly flammable nitrate base.[16] The motion picture industry discontinues its use after 1911 due to technical imperfections.
  • 1912
    • Vest Pocket Kodak using 127 film.
    • Thomas Edison introduces a short-lived 22 mm home motion picture format using acetate "safety" film manufactured by Kodak.[16]
  • 1913 – Kodak makes 35 mm panchromatic motion picture film available on a bulk special order basis.
  • 1914
  • 1922 – Kodak makes 35 mm panchromatic motion picture film available as a regular stock.[16]
  • 1923
  • 1925 – The Leica introduces the 35 mm format to still photography.
  • 1926 – Kodak introduces its 35 mm Motion Picture Duplicating Film for duplicate negatives. Previously, motion picture studios used a second camera alongside the primary camera to create a duplicate negative.
  • 1932
  • 1934 – The 135 film cartridge is introduced, making 35 mm easy to use for photography.
  • 1935
    • Becky Sharp, the first feature film made in the full-colour "three-strip" version of Technicolor, is released.
    • Introduction of Kodachrome multi-layered color reversal film (16 mm only; 8 mm and 35 mm follow in 1936, sheet film in 1938).[16]
  • 1936
    • Introduction by IHAGEE of the Ihagee Kine Exakta 1, the first 35 mm SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera.
    • Agfacolor Neu (English: New Agfacolor) color reversal film for home movies and slides.
  • 1939
    • Agfacolor negative and positive 35 mm color film stock for professional motion picture use (not for making paper prints).
    • The View-Master 3-D viewer and its "reels" of seven small stereoscopic image pairs on Kodachrome film are introduced.
  • 1942 – Kodacolor, the first color film that yields negatives for making chromogenic color prints on paper. Roll films for snapshot cameras only, 35 mm not available until 1958.
  • 1947
  • 1948
  • 1949 – The Contax S camera is introduced, the first 35 mm SLR camera with a pentaprism eye-level viewfinder.
  • 1952 – Bwana Devil, a low-budget polarized 3-D film, premieres in late November and starts a brief 3-D craze that begins in earnest in 1953 and fades away during 1954.
  • 1954 – Leica M Introduced
Photograph scanned into a digital computer, 1957
Josef H. Neumann: Chemogram Gustav I (C)1974
  • 1974 – Josef H. Neumann created the first Chemograms combining the disciplines painting and photography within the fotographic layer for the first time.
  • 1975 – Bryce Bayer of Kodak develops the Bayer filter mosaic pattern for CCD color image sensors.
  • 1976 – Steadicam becomes available.
  • 1986 – Kodak scientists invent the world's first megapixel sensor.
  • 1987
  • 1990 — Adobe Photoshop 1.0 released on February 19, for Macintosh exclusively.[21][22]
  • 1992 – Photo CD created by Kodak.[23]
  • 1993–95 – The Jet Propulsion Laboratory develops devices using CMOS or active pixel sensors.
  • 1994 – Nikon introduces the first optical-stabilized lens.
  • 1995 – "Kodak DC40 and the Apple QuickTake 100 become the first digital cameras marketed for consumers."[23]
  • 1996 – Eastman Kodak, FujiFilm, AgfaPhoto, and Konica introduce the Advanced Photo System (APS).
  • 1997 – first known publicly shared picture via a cell phone, by Philippe Kahn.
  • 2000 – J-SH04 introduced by J-Phone, the first commercially available mobile phone with a camera that can take and share still pictures.[24]
  • 2005 – AgfaPhoto files for bankruptcy. The production of Agfa brand consumer films ends.
  • 2006 – Dalsa produces a 111 megapixel CCD sensor, the highest resolution at that time.
  • 2008 – Polaroid announces it is discontinuing the production of all instant film products, citing the rise of digital imaging technology.
  • 2009
    • Kodak announces the discontinuance of Kodachrome film.[25]
    • FujiFilm launches world's first digital 3D camera with 3D printing capabilities.[26]
  • 2011 – Lytro releases the first pocket-sized consumer light-field camera, capable of refocusing images after they are taken.
  • 2018 – Kodak resumes the production of Ektachrome film.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The First Photograph – Heliography". Archived from the original on 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2009-09-29. from Helmut Gernsheim's article, "The 150th Anniversary of Photography," History of Photography, Vol. I, No. 1, January 1977: ... In 1822, Niépce coated a glass plate ... The sunlight passing through ... This first permanent example ... was destroyed ... some years later.
  2. ^ Sala, Angelus (1614). Septem planetarum terrestrium spagirica recensio: qua perspicue declaratur ratio nominis hermetici, analogia metallorum cum microcosmo, eorum praeparatio vera & unica, proprietates, & usus medicinales (in Latin). Amsterodami: Apud Wilhelmum Ianssonium. OCLC 34709352. Archived from the original on 2023-07-02. Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  3. ^ Josef Maria Eder (1978), History of photographyPaperback, New York Dover Publications, pp. 22–23, ISBN 978-0-486-23586-8
  4. ^ This date is misreported as 1725 or 1727, an error deriving from the belief that a 1727 publication of Schulze's account of experiments he says he undertook about two years earlier is the original source. In fact, it is a reprint of a 1719 publication and the date of the experiments is therefore circa 1717. The dated contents page of the true original can be seen here Archived 2015-02-21 at the Wayback Machine (retrieved 2015-02-21)
  5. ^ http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/fulhame/combustion/combustion.html Archived 2021-02-24 at the Wayback Machine later publication in America
  6. ^ Niépce House Museum: History of Photography, part 1 Archived 2014-03-08 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  7. ^ Niépce House Museum: History of Photography, part 3 Archived 2014-03-16 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Mary Somerville - Biography". Archived from the original on 2020-07-01. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  9. ^ Boris Kossoy (2004). Hercule Florence: El descubrimiento de la fotografía en Brasil. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. ISBN 968-03-0020-X. Archived from the original on 2023-07-02. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  10. ^ a b c "WHF Talbot: Biography" Archived 2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine, a concise account by widely acknowledged and extensively published Talbot expert Larry J. Schaaf. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  11. ^ https://www.christopherjames-studio.com/GumBichromate3rdEdBookOfAltPro.pdf Archived 2019-10-24 at the Wayback Machine [bare URL PDF]
  12. ^ Ronalds, B.F. (2016). Sir Francis Ronalds: Father of the Electric Telegraph. London: Imperial College Press. ISBN 978-1-78326-917-4.
  13. ^ Ronalds, B.F. (2016). "The Beginnings of Continuous Scientific Recording using Photography: Sir Francis Ronalds' Contribution". European Society for the History of Photography. Archived from the original on 13 June 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  14. ^ Focal encyclopedia of photography : digital imaging, theory and applications, history, and science. Peres, Michael R. (4th ed.). Amsterdam: Focal. 2007. ISBN 978-0-08-047784-8. OCLC 499055803. Archived from the original on 2023-07-02. Retrieved 2021-02-24.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  15. ^ Hannavy, John (2013-12-16). Hannavy, John (ed.). Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography. doi:10.4324/9780203941782. ISBN 9780203941782. Archived from the original on 2023-07-02. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Kodak Chronology of Motion Picture Films 1889 to 1939 Archived 2013-10-15 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  17. ^ Kirsch, Russell A., "Earliest Image Processing", NISTS Museum; SEAC and the Start of Image Processing at the National Bureau of Standards, National Institute of Standards and Technology, archived from the original on 2014-07-19
  18. ^ "FX". Canon Camera Museum. Canon, Inc. Archived from the original on 20 October 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  19. ^ "Peter J.W. Noble, inventor of the image sensor". www.pjwn.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  20. ^ "Developers Look Back on the History of the EOS System – Part 1". Canon Camera Museum. Canon, Inc. Archived from the original on 20 October 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Photoshop: Born from Two Brothers". CrisherEntertainment.com. February 28, 2013. Archived from the original on July 1, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  22. ^ "Adobe Photoshop 1.0 Feb. 1990 - 20 Years of Adobe Photoshop". Graphics Software. About.com. Archived from the original on April 26, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  23. ^ a b Cornell University Library (2003). "Digital Preservation and Technology Timeline". Digital Preservation Management. Archived from the original on 2015-08-06. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  24. ^ "Camera Phones Origins". Archived from the original on 2007-09-08. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
  25. ^ Hsu, Tiffany (23 June 2009). "Kodachrome to be discontinued". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020. Eastman Kodak Co. is discontinuing the storied 74-year-old color film.
  26. ^ "FujiFilm camera". dpreview.com. dpreview. Archived from the original on 2015-09-09.

External links[edit]