History of Digital Photography


The constant debate between the advantages and drawbacks of digital and film cameras has been a hot topic between specialists since the invention of digital cameras towards the end of the 20th Century. Both digital and film photography have advantages and drawbacks. 21st century photography is dominated by digital cameras, but the older photochemical methods continue to serve many users and applications and many defend that this is the most pure way of showing the world to others through photographs.

Digital Photography
Before being comerciallized to the public, digital photography was something that was considered to be too expensive, hard to use. The ones who used film thought of it as a a cumbersome thing. Some believed the images that were caught by the camera were fake, and would never agree to use such a thing. Nowadays it is something we all can take for granted, and buy for cheap. They have become automatic enough for a child to use, and pictures can be shared with everyone throughout the world through the internet. However, it all began like this:

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Steve Sasson holding his invention
Steve Sasson, an engineer at Eastman Kodak, invented the first digital camera in 1975. The camera captured 0.1 megapixel pictures in black-and-white, saving them on a digital cassette tape. Not only did the camera produce low quality pictures, but it also weighed around 4kg and took 23 seconds to record photographs. For that reason it was useless to most people.

Fuji DS-1P
Fuji DS-1P

In 1988, Fuji developed the first true digital camera by today's standards, DS-1P which could record images in the form of computerized file. Another unique feature of this camera was its internal memory chip with a capacity of 16 MB while using a battering to store. However, it was noted that this Fuji camera never marketed in the United States or even in Japan.

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Logitech Fotoman
As such, we can reasonably assume that the first commercially produced digital camera was Logitech Fotoman (in 1990) which was also called Dycam Model-1. This camera used a CCD sensor which stored images digitally that later on could be transferred to a Personal Computer (PC).

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Kodak F-3
Later on in the 90s, Kodak developed the Photo CD system and proposed "the first worldwide standard for defining color in the digital environment of computers and computer peripherals." Kodak released the first professional digital camera system (DCS), aimed at photojournalists. It was a Nikon F-3 camera equipped by Kodak with a 1.3 megapixel sensor which back then was a great achievement in photo quality. It allowed journalists to take photographs, and have them compacted in a format that would be safer to carry, and easier to manipulate through a computer.

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Example of a current generation of digital cameras

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A perfect example of a professional digital camera
After that the first more advanced consumer level digital cameras began to hit shelves, all throughout 1994 until today. Many advancements have been made, like the ammount of megapixels in the picture quality, in-camera editing, and easiness of file transfer to other systems, or cameras. Like it was said before, digital photography is now a standard in professional photo taking, making the life of the photographer easier.

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Ideas Brainstorm:

Motion blur caption
Black and white photography
Stop motion
Macro photography/film
HDR photography
Panoramic photography
depth of field
dolly and tracking film shots

Camera Angles -


Camera angles and movements combine to create a sequence of images, just as words, word order and punctuation combine to make the meaning of a sentence. You need a straightforward set of key terms to describe them.

Describing Shots

When describing camera angles, or creating them yourself, you have to think about three important factors

— The FRAMING or the LENGTH of shot

— The ANGLE of the shot

— If there is any MOVEMENT involved

When describing different cinematic shots, different terms are used to indicate the amount of subject matter contained within a frame, how far away the camera is from the subject, and the perspective of the viewer. Each different shot has a different purpose and effect. A change between two different shots is called a CUT.

Framing or Shot Length

1 . Extreme long shot

Extreme Long Shot showing Hollywood sign
Extreme Long Shot showing Hollywood sign
Extreme Long Shot
This can be taken from as much as a quarter of a mile away, and is generally used as a scene-setting, establishing shot. It normally shows an EXTERIOR, eg the outside of a building, or a landscape, and is often used to show scenes of thrilling action eg in a war film or disaster movie. There will be very little detail visible in the shot, it's meant to give a general impression rather than specific information.
The extreme long shot on the left is taken from a distance, but denotes a precise location - it might even connote all of the entertainment industry if used as the opening shot in a news story.
Long shot
Long shot
Long Shot

2. Long Shot

This is the most difficult to categorise precisely, but is generally one which shows the image as approximately "life" size ie corresponding to the real distance between the audience and the screen in a cinema (the figure of a man would appear as six feet tall). This category includes the FULL SHOT showing the entire human body, with the head near the top of the frame and the feet near the bottom. While the focus is on characters, plenty of background detail still emerges: we can tell the coffins on the right are in a Western-style setting, for instance.
Medium shot of a street musician
Medium shot of a street musician
Medium Shot

3. Medium Shot

Contains a figure from the knees/waist up and is normally used for dialogue scenes, or to show some detail of action. Variations on this include the TWO SHOT (containing two figures from the waist up) and the THREE SHOT (contains 3 figures...). NB. Any more than three figures and the shot tends to become a long shot. Background detail is minimal, probably because location has been established earlier in the scene - the audience already know where they are and now want to focus on dialogue and character interation. Another variation in this category is the OVER-THE-SHOULDER-SHOT, which positions the camera behind one figure, revealing the other figure, and part of the first figure's back, head and shoulder.
close up
close up
Close up

4. Close-Up

This shows very little background, and concentrates on either a face, or a specific detail of mise en scène. Everything else is just a blur in the background. This shot magnifies the object (think of how big it looks on a cinema screen) and shows the importance of things, be it words written on paper, or the expression on someone's face. The close-up takes us into the mind of a character. In reality, we only let people that we really trust get THAT close to our face - mothers, children and lovers, usually - so a close up of a face is a very intimate shot. A film-maker may use this to make us feel extra comfortable or extremely uncomfortable about a character, and usually uses a zoom lens in order to get the required framing.
Extreme Close up of a cat's eye
Extreme Close up of a cat's eye
Extreme Close Up

5. Extreme Close-Up

As its name suggests, an extreme version of the close up, generally magnifying beyond what the human eye would experience in reality. An extreme close-up of a face, for instance, would show only the mouth or eyes, with no background detail whatsoever. This is a very artificial shot, and can be used for dramatic effect. The tight focus required means that extra care must be taken when setting up and lighting the shot - the slightest camera shake or error in focal length is very noticeable.

Camera Angles

The relationship between the camera and the object being photographed (ie the ANGLE) gives emotional information to an audience, and guides their judgment about the character or object in shot. The more extreme the angle (ie the further away it is from eye left), the more symbolic and heavily-loaded the shot.

1. The Bird's-Eye view

This shows a scene from directly overhead, a very unnatural and strange angle. Familiar objects viewed from this angle might seem totally unrecognisable at first (umbrellas in a crowd, dancers' legs). This shot does, however, put the audience in a godlike position, looking down on the action. People can be made to look insignificant, ant-like, part of a wider scheme of things. Hitchcock (and his admirers, like Brian de Palma) is fond of this style of shot.
Cameraman gets a high angle shot
Cameraman gets a high angle shot
A cameraman, raised above the action, gets a high angle shot

2. High Angle

Not so extreme as a bird's eye view. The camera is elevated above the action using a crane to give a general overview. High angles make the object photographed seem smaller, and less significant (or scary). The object or character often gets swallowed up by their setting - they become part of a wider picture.

3. Eye Level

A fairly neutral shot; the camera is positioned as though it is a human actually observing a scene, so that eg actors' heads are on a level with the focus. The camera will be placed approximately five to six feet from the ground.

4. Low Angle

These increase height (useful for short actors like Tom Cruise or James McAvoy) and give a sense of speeded motion. Low angles help give a sense of confusion to a viewer, of powerlessness within the action of a scene. The background of a low angle shot will tend to be just sky or ceiling, the lack of detail about the setting adding to the disorientation of the viewer. The added height of the object may make it inspire fear and insecurity in the viewer, who is psychologically dominated by the figure on the screen.

5. Oblique/Canted Angle

Sometimes the camera is tilted (ie is not placed horizontal to floor level), to suggest imbalance, transition and instability (very popular in horror movies). This technique is used to suggest POINT-OF-View shots (ie when the camera becomes the 'eyes' of one particular character,seeing what they see — a hand held camera is often used for this.

Camera Movement

A director may choose to move action along by telling the story as a series of cuts, going from one shot to another, or they may decide to move the camera with the action. Moving the camera often takes a great deal of time, and makes the action seem slower, as it takes several second for a moving camera shot to be effective, when the same information may be placed on screen in a series of fast cuts. Not only must the style of movement be chosen, but the method of actually moving the camera must be selected too. There are seven basic methods:

1. Pans

A movement which scans a scene horizontally. The camera is placed on a tripod, which operates as a stationary axis point as the camera is turned, often to follow a moving object which is kept in the middle of the frame.

2. Tilts

A movement which scans a scene vertically, otherwise similar to a pan.

3. Dolly Shots

Sometimes called TRUCKING or TRACKING shots. The camera is placed on a moving vehicle and moves alongside the action, generally following a moving figure or object. Complicated dolly shots will involve a track being laid on set for the camera to follow, hence the name. The camera might be mounted on a car, a plane, or even a shopping trolley (good method for independent film-makers looking to save a few dollars). A dolly shot may be a good way of portraying movement, the journey of a character for instance, or for moving from a long shot to a close-up, gradually focusing the audience on a particular object or character.

4. Hand-held shots

The hand-held movie camera first saw widespread use during World War II, when news reporters took their windup Arriflexes and Eyemos into the heat of battle, producing some of the most arresting footage of the twentieth century. After the war, it took a while for commercially produced movies to catch up, and documentary makers led the way, demanding the production of smaller, lighter cameras that could be moved in and out of a scene with speed, producing a "fly-on-the-wall" effect.This aesthetic took a while to catch on with mainstream Hollywood, as it gives a jerky, ragged effect, totally at odds with the organised smoothness of a dolly shot. The Steadicam (a heavy contraption which is attached a camera to an operator by a harness. The camera is stabilized so it moves independently) was debuted in Marathon Man (1976), bringing a new smoothness to hand held camera movement and has been used to great effect in movies and TV shows ever since. No "walk and talk" sequence would be complete without one. Hand held cameras denote a certain kind of gritty realism, and they can make the audience feel as though they are part of a scene, rather than viewing it from a detached, frozen position.
A crane in use, following the path of a balloon floating into the sky

5. Crane Shots

Basically, dolly-shots-in-the-air. A crane (or jib), is a large, heavy piece of equipment, but is a useful way of moving a camera - it can move up, down, left, right, swooping in on action or moving diagonally out of it. The camera operator and camera are counter-balanced by a heavy weight, and trust their safety to a skilled crane/jib operator.

6. Zoom Lenses

A zoom lens contains a mechanism that changes the magnification of an image. On a still camera, this means that the photographer can get a 'close up' shot while still being some distance from the subject. A video zoom lens can change the position of the audience, either very quickly (a smash zoom) or slowly, without moving the camera an inch, thus saving a lot of time and trouble. The drawbacks to zoom use include the fact that while a dolly shot involves a steady movement similar to the focusing change in the human eye, the zoom lens tends to be jerky (unless used very slowly) and to distort an image, making objects appear closer together than they really are. Zoom lenses are also drastically over-used by many directors (including those holding palmcorders), who try to give the impression of movement and excitement in a scene where it does not exist. Use with caution - and a tripod!

7. The Aerial Shot

An exciting variation of a crane shot, usually taken from a helicopter. This is often used at the beginning of a film, in order to establish setting and movement. A helicopter is like a particularly flexible sort of crane - it can go anywhere, keep up with anything, move in and out of a scene, and convey real drama and exhilaration — so long as you don't need to get too close to your actors or use location sound with the shots.

Nature's Lighting Starter Kit: The Sun
Photography's most basic lighting option, the sun, is also one of the most versatile. It can be bright and hard or dim and soft. It can be warm and highly directional, casting long shadows. Or, behind clouds, its light can be blue, diffuse, and shadow-free. As it crosses the sky, the sun serves as a front-, side-, back-, and/or hair-light. It always looks natural (because it is), and it’s always free. Cheyenne Ellis, an L.A.-based celebrity portraitist and advertising pro, used only the sun and a reflector to light this shot of Halle Berry made to promote Berry's fragrance, Halle. Images from the shoot have appeared in US Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar, and Shape magazines. You would think for such a high-profile project, Ellis would show up with more than a camera and a shiny $47 disk.

But, sunlight and a reflector are among her favorite lighting combinations. Her website, www.cheyenneellis.com, overflows with natural light. “I like the simplicity and flexibility of the reflector, and the shaping it brings out,” she says. “I rarely use a reflector aimed directly at a subject, though—too harsh. Instead, I feather it, making sure the reflection in the eyes is beautiful. It helped that the sand here acted as a giant fill card!”

Mixing Daylight And Strobe
Justin and Colleen Picciotti make up Dyad Photography, a Brooklyn, NY-based commercial and fine-art photography studio. For a personal project centered on food, the couple started with iconic images and took them in surprising directions. The result, on view at www. dyadphotography.com, is a series of images that at first seem to be conventional representations of food-in-motion, shot with stopaction techniques. Then you look more closely and do a double take. What you see are sometimes alarming, sometimes humorous pictures of food that flout photographers’ usual attempts at suggesting the three-dimensionality of their subjects.
These images are flagrantly, almost transgressively two-dimensional. How do the Piciottis do it? As with most things studio, lighting played a crucial role. The painstakingly styled spaghetti and meatballs on the opposite page actually sits on top of a print of their photo of a table, chair, floor, and (clean) place setting. In order to fool your eye into seeing the scene as a single image, the lighting for the “room set” and the pasta had to almost match in color temperature and intensity— not necessarily easy because the table was lit by window light and the spaghetti by strobe.


It also added dimension to the Parmesan cheese shavings, one of the most dramatic signs that this wasn’t a conventional food shot. An added benefit: Lowering the angle of the beauty dish helped them avoid glare on the base print.

A Location Pro Takes The Studio Outside
The lighting strategy she ultimately used—two strobes overpowering the sun—let her continue shooting regardless of whether the sun was shining directly on her subject or not.

“For me, the trick to good location lighting is having enough power,” she says. With batteries, she doesn’t like the long recycle waits between pops. “And I end up rushing because I’m afraid the charge will die. So I power my strobes with a generator.”
For a neater set, she also likes working wirelessly with PocketWizard flash triggers.
To get this sunlit look, your lights must be high, hard, bright and aimed down at approximately 45 degrees. Lights perched that high can easily blow over, so when the wind picked up, Barisonzi weighted her stands with sand bags and had an assistant spot the higher stand on the left.

For Jewelry, It’s All About Sparkle
A highly focused Broncolor Picolite at the camera position added shine and sparkle to the diamonds, while the box light behind assured a clean white background and helped create the reflection on the silver sheet.

Absolute exposure control is crucial, and to get it, the photographers relied on exposure histograms. While many shooters use histograms to ensure that they preserve detail in either highlights or shadows (or both), jewelry photographers also use them to monitor flare and keep the sparkly highlights from blowing out. “One of the main challenges with shooting bright, shiny jewelry on white is flare,” says Barowsky.
“One trick for reducing it is to slowly bring up the background light until it reads 255 on the historgram. If it pushes past 255, it will add unnecessary flare.”

Lots Of Lights Keep It Dark
Other details? A water truck wet down the street to give life and sheen to those surfaces which otherwise would have been murky, featureless blacks. The photographer’s team also built the foreground sidewalk, so the composition wouldn’t imply that the Honda was stopped in the middle of the street (it was actually parked in front of a driveway).

The final image shown here is a composite of eight different pictures, each framed, lit, and selected for the way it rendered a specific element. Separate exposures were made for the car’s side, wheels, and back, for example. “When the lights sculpted the fender properly, they threw the wheel wells into dark shadow, which necessitated a separate exposure for the tires,” says Ludes.
Now that’s a production!