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The History of Cameras

The camera obscura was invented all the way back in the 11th century. It projected images (upside-down) onto another surface. Then in 1830s France, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce created the first image that didn’t fade quickly by using a portable camera obscura and a pewter plate coated with bitumen. From there, daguerreotypes (the forerunner to modern film) and emulsion plates or wet plates (often used for portraits) were developed in the latter half of the 1800s. In the 1870s, Richard Maddox created dry plates, which in turn allowed smaller cameras with mechanical shutters to be developed. Originally, photography was only for professionals or the rich due to cost. But in the 1880s, George Eastman developed flexible roll film and started his company, Kodak, which made cameras more accessible to the general public. However, his cameras and film were still quite large compared to 35mm film, which did not become affordable for the general public until the late 1940s. In the 1950s, SLR-style cameras were introduced by Nikon and Asahi (later Pentax); these offered a large amount of control. By the 1960s, Polaroid instant cameras had become popular. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, smart cameras were introduced. And by the early 1990s, Kodak had produced the first advanced digital camera (DSLR). DSLR cameras remain popular today, especially among professionals and serious photographers. Of course, in the modern world, many people also simply use the camera app on their smartphone to take photographs!

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