26 ago. 2008

A (Very) Brief History of Photography (Part 4)

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The above is binary code. If you were a computer, you'd find out the number spells out the word "Photography". That's what this post is all about: digital photography. Assuming that you live in this hi-tech world, in which we use the internet and read Multimedia blogs on Google-owned Blogger.com, then you must know what the definition of digital photography is. Nonetheless, I'll tell you that Digital Photography is a method of photography which uses numerous electronic devices to record and store an image in the form of binary data.

The story of digital photography can be traced all the way back to the first scanners, to the late 1950's. In 1957, a team, working for US National Bureau of Standards and led by Russell Kirsch, developed the first Drum Scanner. Drum Scanners use a PMT (photomultiplier tube), a vacuum tube that captures light, transforms it into electrical energy, and then amplifies it.

Then, in 1969, the Charge-Coupled Device (also known as CCD) was invented by Willard Boyle and George Smith. A CCD is a shift register, a device that transports analog signals in the form of electric charges through various capacitators. In a broad sense, a CCD is not an image sensor, but the way the sensor's information is transformed into digital information. CCD's first planned use was as a form of memory storage device in computers. However, shortly after it was invented, it was learned that CCD's could receive charge via the photoelectric effect.

In 1981, the Sony Corporation introduced the Mavica, a still camera which featured two-CCD's, and stored the images in a two-inch floppy disk. One of the CCD's captured light information, while the other captured chromatic information.

In 1986, Kodak scientists invented the world's first megapixel sensor, capable of recording 1.4 million pixels that could produce a 5x7-inch digital photo-quality print. In 1987, Kodak released seven products for recording, storing, manipulating, transmitting and printing electronic still video images.