Included in the industry's product line are still and motion cameras but not video cameras , film, photographic papers and chemicals, and a variety of photography-based technologies like photocopiers and scanners. Important new product introductions in the latter half of the s included digital cameras, which rely on the magnetic storage of images rather than light-sensitive film, and the Advanced Photo System APS format of cameras and film, which streamlined the picture-taking process for amateurs and offered more predictable results than conventional 35mm cameras and film. However, the U. Although imports historically have out-paced exports by a large margin, the value of imports was steadily decreasing in the early s while the value of exports was increasing. Although photographic equipment and supplies first became available to consumers in the s, it wasn't until the s that the industry's sales grew rapidly toward modern proportions.
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The history of the camera begins even before the introduction of photography. The forerunner to the photographic camera was the camera obscura. Camera obscura Latin for "dark room" is the natural optical phenomenon that occurs when an image of a scene at the other side of a screen or for instance a wall is projected through a small hole in that screen and forms an inverted image left to right and upside down on a surface opposite to the opening.
The oldest known record of this principle is a description by Han Chinese philosopher Mozi ca. Mozi correctly asserted that the camera obscura image is inverted because light travels in straight lines from its source.
In the 11th century Arab physicist Ibn al-Haytham Alhazen 's wrote very influential books about optics, including experiments with light through a small opening in a darkened room. The use of a lens in the opening of a wall or closed window shutter of a darkened room to project images used as a drawing aid has been traced back to circa Since the late 17th century portable camera obscura devices in tents and boxes were used as a drawing aid.
Before the invention of photographic processes there was no way to preserve the images produced by these cameras apart from manually tracing them. The earliest cameras were room-sized, with space for one or more people inside; these gradually evolved into more and more compact models. The first camera that was small and portable enough to be practical for photography was envisioned by Johann Zahn in , though it would be almost years before such an application was possible.
Ibn al-Haytham c. Since the late 17th century, portable camera obscura devices in tents and boxes were used as drawing aids.
Before the development of the photographic camera, it had been known for hundreds of years that some substances, such as silver salts, darkened when exposed to sunlight. These images weren't permanent, however, as Wedgwood didn't employ a fixing mechanism. He ultimately failed at his goal of using the process to create fixed images created by a camera obscura. It was made using an 8-hour exposure on pewter coated with bitumen.
He called this process Daguerreotype , and tried unsuccessfully for a couple years to commercialize it. In the s, the English scientist Henry Fox Talbot independently invented a process to fix camera images using silver salts. Within two years, Talbot developed a two-step process for creating photographs on paper, which he called calotypes.
The calotyping process was the first to utilize negative prints, which reverse all values in the photograph — black shows up as white and vice versa. The first photographic camera developed for commercial manufacture was a daguerreotype camera, built by Alphonse Giroux in By sliding the inner box, objects at various distances could be brought to as sharp a focus as desired.
After a satisfactory image had been focused on the screen, the screen was replaced with a sensitized plate. A knurled wheel controlled a copper flap in front of the lens, which functioned as a shutter. The early daguerreotype cameras required long exposure times, which in could be from 5 to 30 minutes. After the introduction of the Giroux daguerreotype camera, other manufacturers quickly produced improved variations. Chevalier's camera had a hinged bed, allowing for half of the bed to fold onto the back of the nested box.
In addition to having increased portability, the camera had a faster lens, bringing exposure times down to 3 minutes, and a prism at the front of the lens, which allowed the image to be laterally correct. The Nouvel Appareil Gaudin camera had a metal disc with three differently-sized holes mounted on the front of the lens. Rotating to a different hole effectively provided variable f-stops, allowing different amounts of light into the camera.
Its design was the most widely used for portraits until Carl Zeiss introduced the anastigmat lens in The American-box camera had beveled edges at the front and rear, and an opening in the rear where the formed image could be viewed on ground glass.
The top of the camera had hinged doors for placing photographic plates. Inside there was one available slot for distant objects, and another slot in the back for close-ups. The lens was focused either by sliding or with a rack and pinion mechanism. The Robert's-type cameras were similar to the American-box, except for having a knob-fronted worm gear on the front of the camera, which moved the back box for focusing.
Many Robert's-type cameras allowed focusing directly on the lens mount. The third popular daguerreotype camera in America was the Lewis-type, introduced in , which utilized a bellows for focusing.
The main body of the Lewis-type camera was mounted on the front box, but the rear section was slotted into the bed for easy sliding. Once focused, a set screw was tightened to hold the rear section in place. Daguerreotype cameras formed images on silvered copper plates and images were only able to develop with mercury vapor.
By , exposure times were reduced to just a few seconds owing to improvements in the chemical preparation and development processes, and to advances in lens design. The collodion wet plate process that gradually replaced the daguerreotype during the s required photographers to coat and sensitize thin glass or iron plates shortly before use and expose them in the camera while still wet.
Early wet plate cameras were very simple and little different from Daguerreotype cameras, but more sophisticated designs eventually appeared. The Dubroni of allowed the sensitizing and developing of the plates to be carried out inside the camera itself rather than in a separate darkroom.
Other cameras were fitted with multiple lenses for photographing several small portraits on a single larger plate, useful when making cartes de visite. It was during the wet plate era that the use of bellows for focusing became widespread, making the bulkier and less easily adjusted nested box design obsolete. For many years, exposure times were long enough that the photographer simply removed the lens cap, counted off the number of seconds or minutes estimated to be required by the lighting conditions, then replaced the cap.
As more sensitive photographic materials became available, cameras began to incorporate mechanical shutter mechanisms that allowed very short and accurately timed exposures to be made. The use of photographic film was pioneered by George Eastman , who started manufacturing paper film in before switching to celluloid in His first camera, which he called the " Kodak ," was first offered for sale in It was a very simple box camera with a fixed-focus lens and single shutter speed, which along with its relatively low price appealed to the average consumer.
The Kodak came pre-loaded with enough film for exposures and needed to be sent back to the factory for processing and reloading when the roll was finished. By the end of the 19th century Eastman had expanded his lineup to several models including both box and folding cameras.
Films also made possible capture of motion cinematography establishing the movie industry by end of 19th century. The unhardened bitumen was then dissolved away. One of those photographs has survived. After exposure in the camera, the image was developed by mercury vapor and fixed with a strong solution of ordinary salt sodium chloride.
Henry Fox Talbot perfected a different process, the calotype , in As commercialized, both processes used very simple cameras consisting of two nested boxes. The rear box had a removable ground glass screen and could slide in and out to adjust the focus. After focusing, the ground glass was replaced with a light-tight holder containing the sensitized plate or paper and the lens was capped.
Then the photographer opened the front cover of the holder, uncapped the lens, and counted off as many minutes as the lighting conditions seemed to require before replacing the cap and closing the holder. Despite this mechanical simplicity, high-quality achromatic lenses were standard. The discovery that heat-ripening a gelatin emulsion greatly increased its sensitivity finally made so-called "instantaneous" snapshot exposures practical.
For the first time, a tripod or other support was no longer an absolute necessity. With daylight and a fast plate or film, a small camera could be hand-held while taking the picture. The ranks of amateur photographers swelled and informal "candid" portraits became popular. There was a proliferation of camera designs, from single- and twin-lens reflexes to large and bulky field cameras, simple box cameras , and even "detective cameras" disguised as pocket watches, hats, or other objects.
The short exposure times that made candid photography possible also necessitated another innovation, the mechanical shutter. The very first shutters were separate accessories, though built-in shutters were common by the end of the 19th century. The use of photographic film was pioneered by George Eastman , who started manufacturing paper film in before switching to celluloid in — His first camera, which he called the " Kodak ", was first offered for sale in In , Eastman took mass-market photography one step further with the Brownie , a simple and very inexpensive box camera that introduced the concept of the snapshot.
The Brownie was extremely popular and various models remained on sale until the s. Film also allowed the movie camera to develop from an expensive toy to a practical commercial tool. Despite the advances in low-cost photography made possible by Eastman, plate cameras still offered higher-quality prints and remained popular well into the 20th century. To compete with rollfilm cameras, which offered a larger number of exposures per loading, many inexpensive plate cameras from this era were equipped with magazines to hold several plates at once.
Special backs for plate cameras allowing them to use film packs or rollfilm were also available, as were backs that enabled rollfilm cameras to use plates. Except for a few special types such as Schmidt cameras , most professional astrographs continued to use plates until the end of the 20th century when electronic photography replaced them.
Leitz test-marketed the design between and , receiving enough positive feedback that the camera was put into production as the Leica I for Lei tz ca mera in The Leica's immediate popularity spawned a number of competitors, most notably the Contax introduced in , and cemented the position of 35 mm as the format of choice for high-end compact cameras.
This changed in with the introduction of the inexpensive Argus A and to an even greater extent in with the arrival of the immensely popular Argus C3. Japanese cameras would begin to become popular in the West after Korean War veterans and soldiers stationed in Japan brought them back to the United States and elsewhere.
Though both single- and twin-lens reflex cameras had been available for decades, they were too bulky to achieve much popularity. The Rolleiflex, however, was sufficiently compact to achieve widespread popularity and the medium-format TLR design became popular for both high- and low-end cameras. The first major post-war SLR innovation was the eye-level viewfinder, which first appeared on the Hungarian Duflex in and was refined in with the Contax S, the first camera to use a pentaprism.
Prior to this, all SLRs were equipped with waist-level focusing screens. The Duflex was also the first SLR with an instant-return mirror, which prevented the viewfinder from being blacked out after each exposure. This same time period also saw the introduction of the Hasselblad F, which set the standard for medium format SLRs for decades. Nikon's entry, the Nikon F , had a full line of interchangeable components and accessories and is generally regarded as the first Japanese system camera.
It was the F, along with the earlier S series of rangefinder cameras, that helped establish Nikon's reputation as a maker of professional-quality equipment. While conventional cameras were becoming more refined and sophisticated, an entirely new type of camera appeared on the market in This was the Polaroid Model 95, the world's first viable instant-picture camera. Known as a Land Camera after its inventor, Edwin Land , the Model 95 used a patented chemical process to produce finished positive prints from the exposed negatives in under a minute.
The Land Camera caught on despite its relatively high price and the Polaroid lineup had expanded to dozens of models by the s. The first Polaroid camera aimed at the popular market, the Model 20 Swinger of , was a huge success and remains one of the top-selling cameras of all time.
By the s, however, low-cost electronic components were commonplace and cameras equipped with light meters and automatic exposure systems became increasingly widespread.
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History of the camera
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Preparations for Alternative Printing
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All the iron-based processes have working methods in common; so to avoid repetition, the equipment, materials, and handling procedures are summarized here. The Working Environment. A benefit of the low sensitivity of alternative printing processes is that you do not need a darkroom or safelighting to carry them out. Ordinary curtains or blinds should subdue daylight sufficiently, but preferably you should work under a normal domestic tungsten light: a 60W bulb, distant 2 metres or more, is quite safe. Avoid fluorescent light if you can; some types of tube have a significant UV output. You will need a clean, flat, dry surface for preparing the sensitized paper and enough wet-processing space for four photographic dishes of an appropriate size, together with running water for print washing and a drying facility that need be no more complicated than a 'clothesline' and pegs. The sensitizers and processing chemistry used are generally odourless and no fumes are evolved, so there is no need for special ventilation in the workplace. However, clean working methods are vital and any spilt substances must be cleaned up immediately.
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