Timeline of Photography - Important Milestones in Photography Development

The invention of photography started some 2500 years ago because it uses the knowledge that people gathered then.

  • Between the 5th and 4th century BC - Chinese philosopher Mo Di and Greek mathematicians Aristotle and Euclid noticed an effect of a pinhole camera and described it in their works.
  • The 6th century - Anthemius of Tralle, a mathematician from the Byzantine Empire, used a camera obscura, a precursor of the camera, in his experiments.
  • The 10th century - Ibn al-Haytham studied the camera obscura and pinhole camera and wrote the Book of Optics.
  • The 13th century - Albertus Magnus discovered silver nitrate, which will be used in photography.
  • The 16th century - Georg Fabricius discovered silver chloride, which will also be used in photography.
  • 1566 - Daniele Barbaro described a diaphragm that will be used as a part of a camera.
  • 1725 - Johann Heinrich Schulze used stencils to cover jars with chalk and silver nitrate solution. When those jars were exposed to sunlight sun would darken uncovered parts while those covered would stay white.
  • 1800 - Thomas Wedgwood made the first photographs using leather coated with light-sensitive silver salts. His photographs showed only shadows and didn’t last long in light.
  • Between 1816 and 1827 - Nicéphore Niépce experiments with photography and made negative photographs; photographs with coatings of Bitumen of Judea on metal and glass; make the first fixed, permanent photograph; and the earliest surviving photograph from nature.
Picture Of Old Cameras Photography
  • 1839 - Louis Daguerre invents a process (called after him daguerreotype), which uses silver-plated sheets of copper and makes detailed permanent photographs that are highly detailed.
  • 1839 - John Herschel invented a solution for fixing all silver-based photographic processes.
  • 1887 - Introduced celluloid film base, a support medium for the photosensitive emulsion (instead of glass and metal of earlier variants).
  • 1888 - Kodak starts selling the so-called “n°1 box camera” - the first easy-to-use camera.
  • 1889 - The first commercially available transparent celluloid roll film is introduced worldwide.
  • 1898 - Kodak starts selling the Folding Pocket Kodak - a small foldable camera.
  • 1900 - Kodak sells “Brownie,” - an inexpensive cardboard box camera. It had an initial price of $1.
  • 1907 - Lumière brothers in France introduced the first commercially successful color photography plate. It was called an Autochrome plate.
  • 1923 - Harold Edgerton invents the xenon flash lamp used for strobe photography when natural illumination is insufficient.
  • 1942 - Kodacolor is introduced. It was the first color film that made negatives for making chromogenic color prints on paper. Today, most films and papers used for color photography are chromogenic.
  • 1948 - Edwin H. Land invents the first Polaroid instant camera.
  • 1949 - The Contax S camera is introduced. It was the first 35 mm SLR camera with a pentaprism eye-level viewfinder showing an exact image photographed in the viewfinder.
  • 1957 - Russell Kirsch invented the first digital camera at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards.
  • 1959 - AGFA introduced the first fully automatic camera.
  • 1963 - Kodak introduced the Instamatic camera, easy to use a camera that started the era of low-cost photography.
  • 1973 - Fairchild Semiconductor makes the first “large” image-forming CCD chip for digital cameras. It was large for its time but had only 100 x 100 pixels (10k pixels).
  • 1986 - Kodak makes the world's first-megapixel sensor.
  • 1997 - First cell phones with integrated cameras started appearing but are not publicly available.
  • 2000 - First publicly available cell phone appears - J-SH04 by J-Phone.
  • 2006 - Dalsa makes a 111-megapixel CCD sensor. It is a sensor of the highest resolution at that time.
  • 2011 - Lytro started selling the first pocket-sized camera that can refocus images after they are taken.
Picture Of Old Cameras Photography