Digital photography in 1991 (photos)

Digital photography in 1991 (photos)

Summary: ZDNet's 20th anniversary: A walk through digital cameras over the years, all the way back to 1991.

TOPICS: Hardware, Mobility

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  • The APS format gave rise to the Canon Elph line of ultracompact cameras (which would go on to dominate the digital point-and-shoot category for years), as well as the APS-C image sensor format used in many digital SLRs today.

  • 1991 was also the year Kodak started development on the Photo CD, a system for digitizing and storing photo negatives or transparencies on a CD-ROM (comprising a Kodak scanner with a CD writer and Sun Sparc minicomputer). Launched in 1992, the Photo CD could hold 100 photos and gained some initial traction with professional photographers by offering a cheaper, high-quality alternative to pricey drum scans. Consumer adoption was also promising at first, but the proprietary file format of Photo CDs was eventually surpassed by the growing popularity of the industry-standard JPEG format, which allowed for smaller file sizes with similar image quality. Kodak eventually abandoned the format without publishing the technical specifications, leaving photographers who'd embraced Photo CDs in the lurch (though a third party was able to reverse engineer the format, enabling various open source decoders).

  • Only three years after the 1.3-megapixel Kodak DCS 100 was launched (with a $20,000 price tag), came one of the first consumer-oriented digital cameras, the Apple QuickTake 100, a 1-pound, 0.3-megapixel point-and-shoot launched in May 1994 for $749.

Topics: Hardware, Mobility

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  • RE: Digital photography in 1991 (photos)

    My first digital was the Fuji MX-100 from 1997. I still have it and it still works although I now have to find a USB cable for it. :-) I also had the floppy adapter for smart media memory cards.