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

 |  Image 8 of 11

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11
  • 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.

  • My own first extensive hands-on experience using a digital camera would have to wait almost four years after that, until early 1998, when I had the chance to review a Nikon Coolpix 900. The Coolpix 900 was a 1.25-megapixel point-and-shoot with a 2-inch LCD, a 3x optical zoom (38-115mm), and a funky swiveling body design (priced at $899 in 1998).

Topics: Hardware, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories


1 comment
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • 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.