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Kodak’s First Digital Camera – Circa 1975

Vintage 1975 portable all electronic still camera (Image courtesy PluggedIn)
By Andrew Liszewski

While the post dates back to October of last year, on the Kodak ‘PluggedIn‘ blog Steve Sasson took a walk down memory lane regarding the company’s first portable electronic still camera. And who better to do so than Steve Sasson who is actually credited with inventing the digital camera and was one of the guys who created the prototype pictured above. The camera is really a Frankenstein of technologies from 1975 built from various components including a Super 8 movie camera lens, a portable digital cassette instrumentation recorder, 16 nickel cadmium batteries, a new type of CCD imaging array and a collection of digital and analog circuits all wired together. All in all, the first prototype doesn’t look half bad.

Kodak playback device and TV (Image courtesy PluggedIn)

Instead of memory cards, the camera relied on the aforementioned cassette deck to capture still images which took about 23 seconds to record the digitized image to tape. Viewing the image required you to put the tape in a custom built playback device which featured a frame store that would interpolate the 100 captured lines of data from the CCD to 400 lines so that it could then be viewed on an NTSC TV.

This reminds me of the electronic camera I invented as a child, but my version was actually capable of producing full color images. Unfortunately when I tried to apply for a patent the government informed me that my ‘camera’ was actually a Lite Brite that my parents had bought me for Christmas. But they were impressed with the photos of Bugs Bunny and the Roadrunner I had ‘taken’… Or maybe they were just trying to let me down easy now that I think of it… Those jerks!

[ PluggedIn - We Had No Idea ] VIA [ Retro Thing ]