The Camera

It is an eventful story full of hope, success, sometimes some wrong tracks, disappointments and economic war. A booming market that moves millions and later on billions of dollars. From the very begin-ning basic research in physics and chemistry supported this fast gro-wing industry.

It started with the egyptians who used the camera obscura (= dark chamber) for their astronomic observations. The next to report about it was Leonardo da Vinci who recommanded the camera obscura as a valuable tool for artists around 1500. About a century later his compa-triot Giovanni Battista della Porta improved it by using a lens instead of just a little puncture. Somewhat later the inventors of photography were successful to fix the pictures of this camera obscura without pen or brush and the great story began.

In both fields there came a lot of milestones and noteworthy inven-tions of all kinds. In total today there are known more than 30.000 basic models (including movie-cameras) in more than 80.000 vari-ants, a great compilation of research and inventional genius.

You can find this amount of cameras listed over here in our register.

Additionally there comes little articles about single aspects of history and individual cameras on our website, too.

Progress in photochemistry made possible new developments and demanded new technologies for the camera. The most important task thereby is the making of appropriate lenses: every lens drafts a spherical picture but the photographic ca-mera needs a clear and sharp picture on a flat surface of a pla-te, a film or an image sensor. So very elaborate and costly cor-rections are necessary to reach the aim. Even new kinds of glass must be evolved to reach bigger refraction indexes with-out colouration. So really good lenses are more expensive than the camera body itself.

During the first decades of photography this advancement runs rather calm. In fact the practice of photography was re-served to the professionals and the usage mostly unvarying. This changed dramatically when the dry plates and rollfilms came at the end of the 19. century. A substancial greater lu-minous sensivity needed shutters and in combination with the also substancially greater sharpness complete new con-structions of cameras were needed. Because of this also a lot of new applications were opened by the outcomes of photo-chemistry so that specialized cameras had to be constructed, too. So two main courses arised: for one thing the search for improved and perfect cameras to match the demand of pro-fessionals, explorers and scientists. On the other hand the attempt to contruct cameras also for amateur photography that had gently started with invention of dry plates.

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