Sony co-founder Akio Morita presents the Mavica.
Sony co-founder Akio Morita presents the Mavica. (UPI)

On August 25, 1981, the Mavica (Magnetic Video Camera). From Sony, it is the first consumer camera equipped with a CCD sensor, that is to say without film. However, it is not quite a digital camera yet. Rather, it is a video camera from which still images are extracted and saved to diskette.

The Mavica has a definition of 280,000 pixels, which is ridiculous compared to today. It can hold 50 images per floppy disk. It costs 650 dollars. It will be used for the first time by press photographers at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984.

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In 1975, Steven Sasson, engineer at Kodak, developed the first digital camera. It is still only a prototype which will not be marketed. It weighs 3.6 kilos. It records the photos on mini audio cassettes. Each image is 100 by 100 pixels, not even the size of a postage stamp. Still, you can watch them on a TV and that’s revolutionary.

However, at Kodak, no one sees the point of this invention. No doubt we must see the explanation of what will happen later: Kodak, leader of cameras and film, will completely miss the turn of digital photography. However, in the early 90s, Kodak still released some professional digital devices. Then, the first consumer products appeared, notably the Fotoman by Swiss company Logitech (1992), and the Quicktake device by Apple (1994).

The early 2000s saw the arrival of the first mobile phones with cameras, photophones. Today, our descendants, our smartphones take pictures as good, if not better, than conventional cameras.

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With digital technology, the photo is no longer just a means of recording memories, it has become a communication tool that allows emotions to be shared in real time. So it is indeed an innovation that has changed our lives.