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Kodak's 1975 Digital Camera

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the hardly-any-megapixels-a'tall dept.

Input Devices 140

pickens writes "The NY Times reports on a digital camera put together at Kodak's Elmgrove Plant labs in Rochester, NY during the winter of 1975 from a mishmash of lenses and computer parts and an old Super 8 movie camera that took 23 seconds to record a single digital image to its cassette deck and using a customized reader could display the image on an old black and white television. Called 'Film-less Photography,' it took a 'year of piecing together a bunch of new technology' to create the camera which ran off 'sixteen nickel cadmium batteries, a highly temperamental new type of CCD imaging area array, an a/d converter implementation stolen from a digital voltmeter.' When the team of technicians presented the camera to Kodak audiences they heard a barrage of curious questions including — 'Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV?'"

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First post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33401824)

I still ask the question in the last sentence today.

Re:First post. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402122)

I bought my first computer in 1980. Everybody then asked me why anybody would want a computer in their home. I bet that everybody who asked me then, owns more computers now than they realize.

Digital has been around for awhile. (0, Troll)

Rog7 (182880) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401832)

I had a Canon Xapshot purchased in 1989 which I used combined with my Amiga to upload images to FTP sites in the early 90's. It wasn't truly "digital" although it was often referred to as such. More of a video stillshot camera, but still quite convenient for putting images into digital formats.

Not quite the same thing really, but the point is there's been an interest in digital photography for a long time.

Re:Digital has been around for awhile. (2, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402312)

Even the summary makes it clear that the Kodak prototype preceded your experience by 14 years.

Re:Digital has been around for awhile. (1)

gbh1935 (987266) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402432)

The real question is did they patent the concept and who are they going to sue?

Re:Digital has been around for awhile. (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402584)

Even the summary makes it clear that the Kodak prototype preceded your experience by 14 years.

That and (as the OP acknowledges, but slightly minimises the significance of) the fact that the Xapshot wasn't digital. I'm guessing that the Xapshot was comparable to the Mavica still video cameras (*) Sony produced during the mid-to-late 1980s (**) which effectively recorded a single frame of NTSC-resolution video to a single track of a floppy disc in fully analogue format. I assume that it would still have required some form of digitiser to get it into the Amiga, so while such cameras were an important step in the commercial development of digital photography, they were only half the equation.

I remember seeing a video digitiser for the Atari 8-bit computers circa 1986 which digitised still frames from a video source. Such a source could of course include an analogue video camera or camcorder (which became popular during the mid-80s). But even that combo was over 10 years after Kodak had created the first truly digital camera shown.

(*) Sony later marketed some truly digital cameras under the "Digital Mavica" name, but the original Mavicas were analogue.
(**) In fact, Sony demonstrated a Mavica camera circa *1981* [digicamhistory.com] , although it's not clear if this early model was ever actually sold commercially.

Re:Digital has been around for awhile. (4, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402446)

A bit closer in time to the Kodak project was an exhibit/activity at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in (I think) 1978. The subject sat in front of a video camera which fed its signal to a computer, which did an analog-to-digital conversion and produced a "portrait by computer": overprinting characters on a dot-matrix printer to produce the right tonal value for each (rather large) pixel. When I sat for it, this [toddverbeek.com] was the result. I was really into photography (darkroom in the basement, etc), and this helped spark my interest in computers; I started saving my nickels and bought an Atari 400 a couple years later.

Re:Digital has been around for awhile. (4, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402632)

Here's a detail [toddverbeek.com] of the above-linked image.

Re:Digital has been around for awhile. (0, Flamebait)

jonadab (583620) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403318)

Digital photography has been around for a while, but it didn't really become *practical* until the last ten years, when cameras that ordinary mortals can afford got image sensors good enough to take a picture under normal lighting conditions that can be cropped a bit and still have enough resolution for print and enough color quality to be substitutable for a 35mm photo for everyday purposes. Being able to save on film by taking pictures that weren't actually usable, with a camera that cost as much as a year's supply of film, was of dubious utility.

By the same token, cellphones have been around rather longer than many people realize, but they weren't really *practical* until a few years ago when reception coverage finally reached the point where you could actually take the phone on a car trip and expect to be able to make a call if you stopped for some reason at some random place along the way. Being able to make a call from anywhere in the world as long as it's downtown Chicago didn't really offer any major advantages over a land line, even if you happened to live or work where there was coverage.

Typical. (3, Insightful)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401878)

As with most engineering exercises, if your not intrigued by the novel and clever and application of new technology, there's little value to be seen by non-technical types. Hence observations such as the summary mentions 'Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV?" - more from TFA: " How would you store these images? What does an electronic photo album look like? When would this type of approach be available to the consumer?" - the engineers at Kodak didn't consider any real world application.

What we can learn from this is there's a lot of technology we've have had sooner if industrial design and packaging was a priority, rather than just getting something working for a cool demo, and assuming observers would understand the potential.

Re:Typical. (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401982)

What we can learn from this is there's a lot of technology we've have had sooner if industrial design and packaging was a priority, rather than just getting something working for a cool demo, and assuming observers would understand the potential.

This is a load of crap. It is the lack of vision of supervisors and management that keep these type of "engineering exercises" from making it out of the lab. The day we limit ourselves to the "how it works" people for "everything that can be done with it" is the day we stop innovating. Sometimes things start in the lab and creep out into the marketplace and other times ideas grow in the mind of individuals and they ask the people in the lab to "make it happen". You don't always need to "see the future" to be able to create it.

Re:Typical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402100)

We've already stopped innovating. Most decisions are made by mediocre management types that cannot see beyond their primitive pie-charts, and are only concerned with the immediate application for immediate profit. They don't understand anything outside the realm of an Excel sheet, therefore they can rarely be expected to move the industry (or anything else for that matter) forward.

Re:Typical. (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402116)

As with most engineering exercises, if your not intrigued by the novel and clever and application of new technology, there's little value to be seen by non-technical types. Hence observations such as the summary mentions 'Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV?"

What a load of myopic bullshit. Do you not realize there have always been narrow-minded bureaucrats within businesses? And that there also have, and will continue to be visionary innovators and gutsy start-ups?

Re:Typical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402296)

It is the lack of vision of supervisors and management that keep these type of "engineering exercises" from making it out of the lab.

So what you're saying is that my flying car could have been available years ago if someone had only told the engineers to just "make it happen"?

Re:Typical. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402526)

So what you're saying is that my flying car could have been available years ago if someone had only told the engineers to just "make it happen"?

I'm an engineer and I'm still waiting for someone to tell me to create flying cars. I also have a working prototype for a teleporter, but nobody has told me to create one, so it is just lying around in the basement.

Re:Typical. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403398)

Yep. First you see whether it can even be done. THEN you see whether it can be made into a convenient package and be practical. But I can understand questions of this nature, like the one about only a few people in the world having a use for a computer... when they filled a huge room and required expensive air conditioning and a staff of people to keep operating. In that I agree; what use would people have of a heavy camera that took that long to take pictures, assuming that was the best it could be at the time? It's not like they were going to reduce its size/power requirements/time to take photo by an order of magnitude.

Not necessarily (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402056)

There is a lot of things that need to come together to make a technology viable. It isn't a case of "Oh had it just been packaged/marketed better it would have been around earlier!" Other technologies also have to develop to let something be cheap enough, usable enough, to support it, etc.

While this technology was cool as an engineering demo, the rest of the tech out there wasn't up to spec. It was huge and expensive, it never would have been practical to sell, regardless of marketing. Yes, as time went on the tech developed and got cheaper... And as it did we did indeed get digital cameras.

Also you have to look at supporting tech. Viewing a photo on a computer monitor, or maybe HDTV, works fine because they are quite high resolution. Viewing a photo on an NTSC TV, especially a 70s NTSC TV would have sucked. Photo paper was just too far superior. Without ubiquitous high rez displays, an all-digital imaging format is something hard to sell.

While sometimes all the stuff we need is already there for years and it takes a person to realize the potential and put it in to a package people will buy, other times developments happen before supporting tech is ready for it. You can see this countless times when something would be tried, with the best tech of the day, and just not really be a marketable device, despite how neat it is. Years later it is done again and sells well, because required technologies have advanced to the point you can do it now.

Re:Not necessarily (2, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402478)

There is a lot of things that need to come together to make a technology viable.

Yes, and you made my first of two points, so I'm just replying to your post, and will make my second point of why 1975 was not the right time for digital cameras:

In 1975, we were still living in the era of scarcity. If you read Little House on the Prairie, you see what we would now consider abject poverty that they had in the nineteenth century -- hand-held slates because paper was too expensive; Ma's "china shepherdess", her sole knick-knack, that she carted around whenever they moved, children going barefoot so as to not wear out their Sunday shoes, etc.

Post-WWII was the first watershed era of abundance, with home appliances, indoor climate control, television, and homes doubling in size from cabins, shacks, and Craftsman bungalows. But still, although there was television, as we are reminded by BTTF, people only had one television. Why would you monopolize the one family television to show photos? Even into the 1980's, again from BTTF, Marty McFly attested to having only two televisions. (Although I am old enough for such personal recollections, I city BTTF merely for more authority than personal anecdotes.)

The second watershed was the influx of Chinese imports from Wal-Mart, really starting around in earnest around 2002 (especially compared to the double-digit increases in housing, education, and healthcare). It was weird to me that stuff was so inexpensive that it became more economic to dispose and replace rather than to preserve and repair items for years. People started buying so, so much stuff, that it became trendy to "live simply" and to "declutter". Enter the digital camera. The digital camera allowed one to clear out those shoeboxes and bulky "albums" of photos and to "de-clutter". People not only had five TVs, they had five computers on which to display photos.

Even though the 1975 lifestyle is recognizable to today's eyes (in contrast to, say, nineteenth century living), everything was still expensive, every purchased item was kept for years and treasured, and the idea of decluttering was not on anyone's radar. In this context, given the high resolution, great color rendition, usability in direct sunlight, and portability of prints, why would anyone want to forgo watching (and prevent the rest of the family from watching) All in the Family to see a photo?

Re:Not necessarily (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402698)

Authoritative fiction!

Re:Not necessarily (2, Interesting)

Fulminata (999320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402992)

Yeah, pretty much. I lived through the 70s and 80s, and the disposable culture was already well established. Well, in the case of the 70s, that was probably the decade that it became established, but by 75 the change was well underway.

The average household in 1975 probably did just have one television, but that was one of the last years for which that was true, and households that were "early adopters" probably already had at least a second television in the master bedroom.

By the end of the decade I had a television in my bedroom, albeit a small black and white one at first, and that was as a child in a lower middle class household. My parents did not have one in their bedroom, but then they monopolized the main TV and were far from being "early adopters."

The popularity of instant cameras during this period shows that if a practical digital camera had been available, it probably would have achieved wide acceptance.

Point being that society would have been ready for a digital camera in 1975, if the state of technology had been ready to provide one. It wasn't.

Re:Typical. (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402072)

As with most engineering exercises, if your not intrigued by the novel and clever and application of new technology, there's little value to be seen by non-technical types. Hence observations such as the summary mentions 'Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV?"

What they should have been asking is "Is it possible to take photos of cats with this camera and superimpose poorly spelled captions over them?"

Re:Typical. (1)

sv_libertarian (1317837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403380)

Oh if I only had mod points today. Would have gone for insightful as opposed to funny :D

Re:Typical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402106)

As with most engineering exercises, if your not intrigued by the novel and clever and application of new technology, there's little value to be seen by non-technical types.

I'm actually more put off by the "23 seconds to record a single digital image to its cassette deck." If it took 23 seconds for it to record something, it's more of a glorified scanner than an actual camera. Not that it isn't still impressive for the time, but having to stand still for 23 seconds to take a picture is something I thought we got past a while before then.

Re:Typical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402352)

23 seconds to record the data to the cassette, but maybe not 23 seconds of exposure.

Re:Typical. (2, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402490)

The exposure would have been pretty much instantaneous, even with the limitations of 1975 analog-to-digital conversion technology. The 23 seconds was to write that data to a cassette, which required rather low bandwidth read/write.

Re:Typical. (2, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403142)

> If it took 23 seconds for it to record something, it's more of a glorified scanner than an actual camera.

No. That just makes it a very old school camera.

This is what happens when you have neither a vision for tomorrow or a solid grasp of the past.

This tech demo wasn't so much an indication of what was going into production soon but what the future would look like as soon as the tech caught up. This should have been used by management to drive long term strategic direction of the company in terms of decades.

They saw what was coming and had plenty of time to prepare for it.

Re:Typical. (4, Insightful)

nusuth (520833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402126)

The problem is neither vision nor ergonomics. Unless you have energy efficient, cheap and fast memory, processors and ccd, digital photography cannot be done at consumer level regardless of how you package it. Availability of affordable computer to transfer, store and manipulate those photographs is also important (although not as critical as availability of cam components.) None of these can be developed and produced with a single vision of producing a digital camera (except perhaps cheap ccd) because there is not enough volume. These technologies must become available for larger aplications and then adapted for digital cameras. Digital photography arrived when it arrived becuase that is when electronics and computer technology made it viable.

Re:Typical. (4, Interesting)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402300)

What we can learn from this is there's a lot of technology we've have had sooner if industrial design and packaging was a priority, rather than just getting something working for a cool demo, and assuming observers would understand the potential.

Except that neither industrial design nor packaging would have helped Kodak sell this film-less camera.

The problem with this film-less approach, in 1975, was largely one of infrastructure. Just look at the questions:

Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV? Given the technology of the time, it's a valid question. Folks didn't have home computers. TVs were low-resolution. Hell, not even everyone had a TV. Why would you go through the process of lugging around a giant camera and waiting several seconds for it to write to tape just to view a picture on a TV? Why not take a normal picture, get it developed normally, and look at a crisp photo like normal?

How would you store these images? Again, nobody had computers. You couldn't write these tapes to your HDD. You couldn't upload them to a server or burn them to CD. You'd be storing a box of tapes. Why do that when you could just store photos instead?

What does an electronic photo album look like? The answer, of course, is Flickr, but that didn't exist at the time. What would an electronic photo album look like without a computer? It'd have to be another piece of hardware attached to a TV in all likelihood.

The problem wasn't vision... It wasn't packaging... It wasn't marketing... The problem was a lack of digital infrastructure to support electronic photography. The world, at the time, was still essentially analog. Yes, computers existed. Yes, networks existed. But you didn't have the kind of ubiquity that we do today. Today absolutely everything has a fairly high resolution display on it. Today pretty much everything has Internet access. Today you can view those film-less photos on almost anything you want, or print them out easier than you can get a real photo developed. Back in 1975 that just wasn't true.

Re:Typical. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402804)

Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV?

Given the technology of the time, it's a valid question. Folks didn't have home computers. TVs were low-resolution. Hell, not even everyone had a TV.

Not only that - but a significant percentage of TV's out there were still black-and-white. (I remember seeing b&w sets offered for sale right alongside color ones up until the early/mid 80's) And even if you had a color set, the color quality was... often not the greatest in the world, and certainly not what we take for granted today.
 

Why would you go through the process of lugging around a giant camera and waiting several seconds for it to write to tape just to view a picture on a TV?

A giant expensive camera - which didn't perform as well as a cheaper camera. Even if it did perform as well, the 'prosumer' market of today didn't exist.

Re:Typical. (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403180)

Even if it did perform as well, the 'prosumer' market of today didn't exist.

Yes it did, that's who Popular PHotography Magazine and those 35mm camera ads in National Geographic were for. Even when I was a youngun, at most school events there's be maybe 1 or 2 parents with 35mm cameras

Re:Typical. (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403138)

> How would you store these images? Again, nobody had computers. You couldn't write
> these tapes to your HDD. You couldn't upload them to a server or burn them to CD.
> You'd be storing a box of tapes. Why do that when you could just store photos instead?

And in fairness to those 1975 skeptics this question still hasn't been really answered; we as a family would find it far easier to make prints from my spouse's family's 1870-era glass plate negatives or our large collection of 1980-era negatives and prints than to locate and do anything with the digital shots we took in 2002.

sPh

Re:Typical. (4, Insightful)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402338)

Not quite. If you read the original blog entry from Mr. Sasson, you'll realize that they themselves had no idea of any real world application of the device. They built it because they thought it was a nifty technological problem to solve, without any clear direction as to how it would apply in the real world.

Those questions asked by the audience after the demo are as relevant today as they were back then:

  • Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV? Indeed. If you consider how digital photography has captured the mass consumer market you'll see that there are many factors that contributed to this adoption: the ability to share photos, to keep and view them on very personalized portable devices, e-mail, web blogs, JPEG, the Internet, personal computers, etc. Many of these could not have even been conceived back in 1975, but none of them include just merely passively watching a photograph on a TV screen.
  • How would you store these images? It must be an efficient, stable and non-volatile mechanism; one that at least outlasts photo paper and costs at most as much, otherwise there is absolutely no advantage to the consumer. Did any such affordable mechanisms exist during 1975? Perhaps, but we can know for sure that personal computers as we know them now, did not; so there wasn't a readily available storage medium of which consumers could take advantage.
  • What does an electronic photo album look like? We know now, of course, but it wasn't even obvious during the advent of the first set of consumer digital cameras how to best store, display, and enjoy and share a digital photo collection; apart from the then typical hierarchical file/folder storage system.
  • When would this type of approach be available to the consumer? As Mr. Sasson suggested to his audience in 1975, ignoring all practical and philosophical questions above, and considering this purely as a technological problem; Moore's law predicts it would have been 15 to 20 years. That would have put the device on consumers' hands in the early- to mid-1990s. As it turned out, that was overly optimistic--but not by much! Now, take into consideration that personal computers--the primary storage and central point of digital photography collections--did not become massively popular until sometime in the 1990s and it should be obvious why it may have taken a few years more for the idea to truly catch on.

The real lesson of this story is that novel ideas and interesting inventions cannot amount to much without an actual real-world application that solves a real problem, addresses a real need, or enhances a real existing application. Additionally, we can learn that sometimes these interesting but otherwise useless (in practical terms) inventions can indeed achieve popularity and become useful--or even necessary--by previously unforeseen factors aligning serendipitously to provide the perfect mix of technology, application, and demand for them to evolve and flourish to fill that need.

Mr. Sasson says that, back in 1975, they had no idea what a portable, all-digital, film-less photo camera could amount to, nor how or why it would be used. Yet they were intuitively impressed that it would necessarily change things. And in that they were presciently correct.

          -dZ.

Re:Typical. (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402580)

I was around in 1975. I remember the technology that existed and understand what it was capable of. And, Senator, it was not ready for this rather brilliant idea.

In fact, the questions posed by the Kodak suits continued to plague digital photography for another quarter century. Despite my interest in both photography and computers, I didn't buy a digital camera until around 2000 because the technology just wasn't good enough yet (at least not an affordable price). In 1975 working on digital photography was a bit like Leonardo working on manned flight in 1500. It wasn't anyone's "lack of vision" that kept the pilgrims from coming to North America on an airplane instead of the Mayflower; it was the state of the technological arts.

Re:Typical. (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402832)

That is kind of my point. I extend this further by positing that it is not only the state of the technological arts of the device, but the preexistence of an ecosystem to facilitate or support such device and its application--and ultimately create a need or desire for it--that drives its adoption by society. This ecosystem is not only technological in nature, but cultural, environmental, and philosophical.

If paper is such a successful, cheap, stable, and versatile medium, why would anybody want to replace it with a purely intangible format? This is not a shortsighted question, but a very real and relevant one today; and perhaps it may not be answerable without such intangible format proving itself useful and superior in other applications, enabling its use in- and promoting its demand for the photography field.

I still say that the adoption of the personal computer, among other things, immensely influenced the subsequent adoption of the digital camera. But the former was not invented for or because of the latter. Perhaps serendipity is the one known factor (in the sense that chance is known to exist) that drives the adoption of technology.

In other words, it is seldom obvious how a truly novel idea can ever be applied to current real-world problems, and it is never certain how it will function in a future and unknown environment.

      -dZ.

Re:Typical. (1)

loosewing (708839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402344)

Typical indeed,

In the late 1960's/early 1970's swiss engineer presented the first LED wristwarch to their upper management who quickly turned it down and snorted "Who would read time on such a device" or "This cannot be a true watch, it has no mechanical movement"

So the japanese beat them to market with it. The rest is well timed history.

Re:Typical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402588)

I think you are confusing engineering with science. Scientists are generally interested with proof of concept and move on to the next thing that interests them before anything is finished. The engineers pick up the pieces and produce something actually useful.

the management were right (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403204)

doh. digital cameras would have bombed in 1975... And for 20 years after . Go look up the word ' market '. jesus , geeks are so narrow..

who would want a camera on a phone (1)

refill (1621893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403414)

indeed i was very annoyed when i had to get a camera on a phone some years back. and then over time use phone camera so much more have upgraded phones for the better camera!

Kodak: credit where credit is due (4, Interesting)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401902)

Kodak's image these days is fairly poor; although their digital cameras are pretty popular in the cheap category they're basically non-existent in the professional arena.

Which is too bad, because they did a lot of things to advance photography over the years, not least of which was introducing it to "the masses". I guess now that I think about it, that's what they're still trying to do now with their cheap digital cameras that are fairly decent. But of course they used to contribute much to professionals as well, especially good quality film. They never really had high-end cameras that were used professionally, it was really all about the film, so the switch to digital hit them hard.

My uncle worked as head of a research division at Kodak for many years, and still lives in Rochester. I attended the University of Rochester, which back when George Eastman was around got quite a lot of Kodak money and wouldn't be the school it is today without it. So I've had a lot of exposure to Kodak over the years. I've heard of this digital camera before, and other interesting things they've done.

If you're in the area it's definitely worth checking out the George Eastman House museum. It's his rather incredible mansion, turned into a photography museum. I don't remember if I heard about this camera there; possibly not but they do have all kinds of old equipment on display. They also have an attached movie theater, which shows a different classic, art-house, etc. film every single night. I don't live there any more, but as a student I went to their classic film showings all the time. Always on 35mm and great prints. There's a school for film preservation there, and a huge collection of films.

Re:Kodak: credit where credit is due (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402016)

Kodak will forever be remembered as the 'Xerox' of digital photography. They had it, they had it first and they shelved it. They would have had all the early patents on digital photography, image formats, etc. They could have changed the game, but instead they clung to their entrenched mindset.

Re:Kodak: credit where credit is due (2, Informative)

dmesg0 (1342071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402158)

They didn't really shelve it, they continued to invest in the development of the digital photography and made many achievements. They improved the CCDs a lot, built the digital part of the first professional SLRs (using bodies from Nikon and later Canon). However they were unable to keep the pace and were soon surpassed by the Japanese companies

Ironically Kodak contributed a lot to the technology that in the end made their traditional business obsolete.

Re:Kodak: credit where credit is due (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403272)

> They didn't really shelve it, they continued to invest in the
> development of the digital photography and made many achievements.
> They improved the CCDs a lot, built the digital part of the first
> professional SLRs (using bodies from Nikon and later Canon). However
> they were unable to keep the pace and were soon surpassed by the
> Japanese companies

I believe Kodak also built the only sensor package optimized specifically for black-and-white images, which sadly (but not surprisingly) didn't go anywhere in the market.

sPh

Re:Kodak: credit where credit is due (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402554)

They do have a lot of the early digital photo patents. They're still filing more too.

They also built one of the first, if not the first, commercial 35mm sensor digital SLRs, for the professional market. They also made one of the earliest production consumer digital cameras too. They've since ceeded these markets though, I think the problem was that they were too far ahead of the game and gave up too soon, had they stuck with it for only a few more years then the popular perception might have been different.

Re:Kodak: credit where credit is due (1)

gtomorrow (996670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402252)

So I've had a lot of exposure to Kodak over the years.

STOP IT! YOU'RE KILLIN' ME! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Re:Kodak: credit where credit is due (3, Informative)

jedrek (79264) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402268)

Kodak makes a ton of sensor for other camera companies, including some of the best, high-end medium format sensors in the game. None of the film manufacturers has done as well in the digital arena: Agfa, Konica, etc. Fuji's doing pretty well, but then they make fine lenses for medium (hasselblad uses them) and large format.

Re:Kodak: credit where credit is due (3, Insightful)

CmdrChaos (1742296) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402356)

Kodak is a perfect example of the way the patent system should work. They realized a long time ago they didn't have to make things. They just had to invent the technology. Fuji film was made under a Kodak patent. They have patents on lens technology as well as digital tech. The chances are every time you bye a camera Kodak makes a little bit of money.

Re:Kodak: credit where credit is due (1)

RPD9803 (669023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402434)

George Eastman House can be found at http://www.eastmanhouse.org [eastmanhouse.org] .

You can also read an essay by about the Sasson camera and more in the book Camera: A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital (Todd Gustavson) [amazon.com]

Disclaimer: I work there, but the book really is good!

-Ryan Donahue
Manager of Information Systems, George Eastman House

Re:Kodak: credit where credit is due (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402652)

Which is too bad, because they did a lot of things to advance photography over the years, not least of which was introducing it to "the masses". I guess now that I think about it, that's what they're still trying to do now with their cheap digital cameras that are fairly decent.

WHAT cheap digital cameras that are fairly decent? I owned one Kodak digital camera (not a particularly cheap one, either) and the interface was so bad and so slow that I decided never to give them any of my money again. I've bought four digitals since and didn't even THINK of reading the reviews for the Kodaks, let alone purchasing one.

Good question (2, Interesting)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401908)

Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV?

Because non-moving images on a TV scare people. That's why the History Channel does that Ken Burns thingy whenever they show a bunch of old pictures narrated by someone with a dull, droning voice. No one would watch it if the picture just sat there, staring back at you like some kind of demon box.

Re:Good question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33403170)

Tiger Wood's father disagrees with you.

Link to the orginal article (4, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401916)

http://pluggedin.kodak.com/post/?id=687843 [kodak.com]
The date there is October 16, 2007

News? Hardly.

Re:Link to the orginal article (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402002)

We would have got it sooner if someone in Kodak management had 'green-lighted' the posting of it rather than waiting for someone else to reinvent the approval ;-)

Re:Link to the orginal article (3, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402028)

The date there is October 16, 2007

Well, at least slashdot's 3 years beats the 32 years it took Kodak to post the article on their website!

Re:Link to the orginal article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402192)

Yeah, they should have invented the Web so they could post it the first day.

Re:Link to the orginal article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402168)

How could it be news; the thing was made in 1975. :P

Re:Link to the orginal article (2, Insightful)

snsh (968808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402360)

One oddity of film photography was that people would shoot Christmas, New Years, and then the following Christmas on the same roll of film, and then suddenly want the film developed in under 1 hour.

Yea but interesting (2, Informative)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402616)

Slashdot isn't "digg". I didn't read about that story until today, I don't care whether it was written in 2007 or even 1997.

Story fits well to today where trendy idiots think Kodak is some patent trolling company who didn't invent anything. Perhaps, it may educate them a bit.

Funny that, one of their "failed" "old" devices format is still in use today, completely open and there is no way you will do anything without using that format in pro/movie.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineon [wikipedia.org]

It was some amazing technology for that time but was way too high end, only Hollywood could afford it. Its format, which was always open/documented is still in use today.

And 12 years later, the movie version (3, Interesting)

Two99Point80 (542678) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401924)

Looks like this project was the inspiration for the PXL-2000 [wikimedia.org] ...

Re:And 12 years later, the movie version (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402668)

No, AFAICT the inspiration for the PXL-2000 was the advent of mass-market camcorders in the mid-1980s. While those were the first time such portable video equipment was affordable to amateurs and consumers, they were still very expensive (IIRC around the UK £1000 mark- approximately £2000 or US $3000 in today's money) and way out of reach for kids. By using normal audio cassettes and various tricks the PXL-2000 was much cheaper.

I remember seeing what (in retrospect) must have been the PXL-2000 on the UK show Tomorrow's World and thinking it looked like a great idea, but they never released it in the UK, I think because there were legal and technical issues with it in the US. Shame.

A piece of history (4, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33401926)

I'm not sure why this is only just being presented on Slashdot because it's a very old article. Nevertheless it's an important part of history. It marks one of the first points where photography began to move away from chemical reactions on emulsions to light being recorded digitally. For many years of course digital photography was regarded as inferior to images captured on film and some still cling onto that idea. But I am in the group that believes that that idea is no longer true. Digital photography has opened up whole new avenues of expression and allows a range of techniques that would have been impossible or prohibitively impractical using film. An example, I guess, would include focus stacking where a number of photos with a slightly different focal plane are combined into a single image with increased depth of field. Digital photography has, in my opinion, opened up new areas for creative exploration that were not possible with film. So, yeah, the article refers to an important piece of history.

Re:A piece of history (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402204)

"I'm not sure why this is only just being presented on Slashdot"

Groundwork for patent claims?

Re:A piece of history (2, Informative)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402480)

Well I'm one of those 'still clinging onto that idea'.

I'll take your example - can you show me an artistic photograph that uses this photo-stacking technique? As a keen photographer myself, I do not see the point of it - it would require using a tripod in order that the images are perfectly aligned, if that is the case, then a long shutter speed combined with a small aperture would achieve the same, and without any artefacts due to the slight changes in focal length seen in many lenses when refocused.

I think the public perception of film is stunted by the cheap ways film used to be dealt with in your local processing lab - processed in a non-dust free environment, and scanned by poor quality machines with poor quality operators. In actual fact 'flim' itself has a tremendous capacity to capture information, and if one is willing to take a small amount of effort to maximise information obtained from the film, one would find very high resolution (35mm captures around the equivalent of a 24mp dslr - see link below), excellent dynamic range, which has a curved shoulder allow colours to fade smoothly into white when overexposued, tonality (see the 7D versus fuji velvia - it's not just the resolution, but also the colour accuracy and colour resolution).

http://photo.net/film-and-processing-forum/00WErk?start=200 [photo.net]

This article looks more at the non-resolution aspects of film:

http://www.twinlenslife.com/2009/05/digital-vs-film-real-deal-nikon-d300-vs.html [twinlenslife.com]

And Ken Rockwell, as much as he says things clearly thinking it through, has an excellent article with many more valid points here:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/why-we-love-film.htm [kenrockwell.com]

Now please do not reply with one of the comparisons which confirmed in a large number of peoples minds that digital was superior, without 1st quoting what scanner was used to do the comparison, and if it isn't a drum scanner, you are already standing on shaky ground.

Duncan.

P.S. Of course buying a Nikon D3X is more convenient and probably cheaper than using a 35mm film camera and sending your photos off for drum scanning, but that is not what we're discussing. I have no problem with people stating that digital is cheaper and more convenient with quality nearly up there with film.

Re:A piece of history (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402680)

Sooner or later all of those objections will be eliminated. The one that will hold on longest is that film grain is random and that produces a final look that you can't get from digital without a comparative loss of quality until you are shooting at multiples of film's maximum resolution, and then you only get it by processing before printing.

Re:A piece of history (1)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403136)

You might be right, but I wouldn't hold your breath:

"Lets talk about image quality, right from the first time I got to take samples home from a D30 shooting session (back in August) I was stunned and amazed at the purity of the images, they're so clean and smooth yet not lacking in detail, this grainless look goes well beyond film quality to a new arena of high quality "scene digitization" which captures every detail of the scene without any noise or stray artifacts. Colour rendition is very good as is pure resolution (as measured by our test charts)"
dpreview 2000

That was back in 2000 on a 3MP camera from dpreviews review on the Canon D30.

And interestingly, it seems like the website has edited their original review on the Nikon D1, which I'm pretty sure concluded at the time that the D1 produced images of higher quality than scanned film. I imagined they edited this to save the continued embarrassment from the continued linking to it.

We'll see what happens, but I must admit that I'll be annoyed if a lack of research into film, and future advanced film types is stunted by stupid conclusions about digital image quality.

Re:A piece of history (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403242)

What will really be interesting is what happens when every image is stored as a video... producing a single file with multiple exposures. As the electronics advance but the limits of lenses is reached (in terms of what's practical to lug around) I imagine that this will be an eventual improvement. Film only captures a single point in time but a file can have anything in it. Also, I hope that more cameras will evolve to capture ever more detailed depth information, for which the uses are innumerable.

Film is never going away; there will always be artistic uses. It may, however, be reduced to a tiny subsample of what is available today. Indeed, this is a virtual certainty.

Re:A piece of history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33403312)

Sadly, the best films are being discontined. Kodachrome and 160s are both gone, with other films soon to be discontinued too.

Re:A piece of history (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403368)

This article looks more at the non-resolution aspects of film:

http://www.twinlenslife.com/2009/05/digital-vs-film-real-deal-nikon-d300-vs.html [twinlenslife.com]

Thing is, to me that article shows that there's little difference between film and digital for the average user. His film images may be slightly better in extreme conditions, but I think I paid $32 for my SDHC card which holds 4,000 stills... even if I never delete them and reuse it, that's the equivalent of maybe $1,000 of film. To me that's a much bigger benefit that a slight improvement in quality when the scene is heavily backlit, and it appears that 99% of the world agrees with me.

In addition, some of his other supposed disadvantages of digital are pretty bogus. Archival storage of film only works if you can store it securely; a couple of years ago I went back to scan various old negatives only to discover that they had lots of damage from dirt, dust and sticking together in the film packet, and you can ask the Babylon 5 guys about the problems they had with 35mm film stored in a supposed archive-quality facility. Similarly, the idea that you'll have to convert digital file formats every few years is simply silly, if you care about quality you shoot in RAW format and you convert from the RAW files to whatever format is popular at the time, and could still be doing so 2,000 years from now when the film has long rotted away.

I'm actually surprised at how well the digital camera stood up in his comparisons, because I'd have expected a good modern film to be much better. Digital cameras are clearly better than I thought.

Re:A piece of history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402562)

I'm not sure why this is only just being presented on Slashdot

because it's a very old article.

QED.

Entrenched Mindset (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402044)

The interesting thing is that despite the various examples present in history, just as many companies, if not more, still cling to the entrenched mindset instead of attempting to innovate. Heck, look at Blockbuster, now filing for bankruptcy. My theory is that once people have a lot of money, they're afraid to experiment with it, even if that will bring in more money. So instead they cling to old ways of thinking and ultimately lose in the long run. Engineering types aren't exactly striking gold with their annual salaries, so they're not necessarily encumbered with worrying about the "financial implications" of design innovations or market shifts. I think some companies try to remedy this problem by bringing on engineers to be a part of the corporate structure, but often times the culture and mindset clash is just too great and it fails to work out. Look at Microsoft's recent firing of J. Allard and their nixing of the Courier.

Re:Entrenched Mindset (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402068)

Mod parent up. Marketing controls product development at any company. The Kodak marketing department saw this technology as a threat to their cash cow-- chemicals, emulsions, etc.

Re:Entrenched Mindset (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402464)

Wait! How can an internal--and unknown to the outside--project at Kodak threaten the company's current business? I would imagine it would provide unique insight into how to direct their business in the future.

Declining to consider an interesting--and at the time, secret--invention that my change the nature of your business in the future, is not a strategic move; it's just plain shortsighted and stupid.

        -dZ.

Re:Entrenched Mindset (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402582)

That's not true. It's like Xerox ignoring the potential of the mouse. It's refusing to acknowledge the potential of market disrupting innovations. Google has 50-100 experiments running at any one time. As far as I can tell Kodak didn't even experiment with their engineers' innovations, besides presenting it to an audience. They let their conservative shareholders control the direction of the company too much.

Re:Entrenched Mindset (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402898)

NO! It is not that. It is like Xerox realizing that the future of office systems involves some sort of electronic mechanism of communication, and possibly the recently emerging computers, that most likely will obsolete paper; and then planning their future business towards this unknown environment before the rug is inevitably pulled from under them. So they failed to recognized individual applications of this paradigm, but they certainly did not confined themselves to a paper-full future; they reacted strategically, if not with perfect insight.

Kodak, on the other hand, was given insight into a potential future of photography: a future that may eventually dispense with paper and developing emulsions, which was at the time their core business. Whether it would be digital cameras or magical pixies in a bubble didn't matter--there was a clear potential for their core business to someday in the future become obsolete, and they ignored it. They decided to put their research and development resources into the then current technology du jour: instant photography, because that's what the masses were buying at the time.

That was shortsighted and stupid, and they eventually paid for it.

        -dZ.

Re:Entrenched Mindset (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402586)

Almost sounds like they are setting the stage for a patent fight and then say: "See, we created the digital camera first!"

They should have released it right there and then (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402112)

A camera not cobbled together from cannibalized parts would likely manage to save the image in less than 23 seconds, or transmit it over wire/radio to a remote printer. It wouldn't have been a pocket gadget for a mainstream tourist in 1975, but think of NASA/spies/hazardous environments and similar applications where you can not conveniently reload film and money is not an object. Or even mega rich. They can always somehow justify possessing a unique gadget no matter how useless it is.

Re:They should have released it right there and th (4, Informative)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402274)

Slashdot needs some perspective, more importantly needs people that remember 1975, this was 3 to 4 years before the first true home VCR's hit the market, and about 5 years before the first home color video cameras for those VCR's each with a price tag starting at over $1,000 and weighed in together at a weight that would earn an overweight penalty for modern airline luggage weight limits. Kodak cameras in this time period were being driven by a need to compete for what the masses wanted, namely small and instant, with little regard to quality, the 110 instamatic with its easy to load cartridge film was quickly becoming a household norm, and this was only a year before Kodak introduced its own doomed line of instant cameras (recalled after Kodak lost its lawsuit with Polaroid a few years later).

Re:They should have released it right there and th (1)

Fulminata (999320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403036)

Ah, the Kodak Land Camera. We had one of those. I remember my dad receiving a check as part of Kodak's settlement with it's customers following the loss of the suit with Polaroid. I also remember hoarding the film to the point that it went bad and the last few pictures we took with it didn't turn out well.

Hey, at least they asked good questions (1)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402196)

I mean it, has anyone ever used those composite video cables that come with so many digital cameras to display a picture on a TV?

Re:Hey, at least they asked good questions (3, Informative)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402444)

Yes. Before I had a CD burner or a DVD player, I did that regularly. My old Kodak 2 megapixel camera could actually do a slideshow.

Re:Hey, at least they asked good questions (2, Informative)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402618)

I still do that whenever I'm traveling - it's pretty nice to be able to show my grandparents I took over the day on their large-ish TV rather than my 12" Thinkpad or the camera screen. They do have a DVD player nowadays, but still why bother with burning the photos to the DVD unless I want them to keep it? The video-out on my Panasonic works very well for a slideshow.

Re:Hey, at least they asked good questions (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403326)

No, but I have used my TV's USB port to display jpeg's from a stick. Easy and quick way to show "slides" to the family without having half a dozen people trying to crowd out my laptop.

Obama blows. Enjoy your recovery summer. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402210)

The only good thing about this recession is that you idiots in California who bought $800k rat-shacks with dreams of flipping them for a mega profit got soaked! LOL! Freaking morons. Welcome to the world of commodity speculation. In just a couple of short months Congress will return to the control of the only people who care about growing the economy. Notice that this shit-storm started in 2006 when the Democrats took control of Congress. Congress has the real power, not the president. Not even if the president is your black Jesus.

Ham Radio SSTV (Slow Scan TV) (2, Insightful)

shoppa (464619) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402228)

This sounds morally equivalent to ham radio SSTVin terms of speed (or lack of) and technique... and hams had been doing SSTV snce the 1960's.

A giant with clay legs (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402284)

This isn't really news, but it's a great insight on why Kodak became as irrelevant as it is today. They were already inventing a lot of the technology for digital photography as early as the 70s, but they made a terrible business decision not to expand their traditional offerings, thinking film would last forever. They were very wrong, they failed to innovate and adapt fast enough to a changing market and within a couple of decades they were superseded by those who were prepared to embrace the new technology. C'est la vie, I s'pose.

Re:A giant with clay legs (2, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402332)

but they made a terrible business decision not to expand their traditional offerings, thinking film would last forever

No, they saw digital coming, and they tried to get on board. The problem they faced was that every camera manufacturer saw the same thing and all were rushing to bring digital cameras to the market. Kodak was never really a camera company, their main business was film and chemicals; they knew there was nothing they could do to stop that business line from shrinking as digital cameras became available to the masses. Kodak has a share of the digital camera market but they have to compete with companies known to consumers as camera manufacturers such as Canon and Nikon.

Re:A giant with clay legs (3, Informative)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402364)

TechDirt's Mike Masnick did a wonderful job explaining why you are wrong: http://www.techdirt.com/blog/entrepreneurs/articles/20100808/00561810539.shtml [techdirt.com]

They did way too little, way too late. They had a very powerful brand, but they failed to reinvent themselves in the consumers' eyes because they didn't see digital as a big enough threat to their existing business.

Re:A giant with clay legs (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403186)

> Kodak has a share of the digital camera market but they have to compete with
> companies known to consumers as camera manufacturers such as Canon and Nikon.

Of course they could have bought or merged with, say, Minolta, a company with an established brand and excellent camera technology that was always playing third fiddle behind Nikon and Leica [1] and put their digital efforts behind the combination.

sPh

[1] Minolta actually built the Rx series of SLRs for Leica which then charged 3x the price that Minota was able to charge for the exact same assemblies.

Re:A giant with clay legs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402510)

And you're such a wiz in the area of future trends that you have nothing else to do but spend time on Slashdot all day? Huh?

No one said film was going to last forever but at the time it was very profitable. I'm dead certain that if you made three market predictions today that could lead to a real working product that none of them would be worth a squirt of piss in 10 years let alone 35 years.

Try it, big man. See how much you really know about technology in the market place. Or are you one of those people who claims to have known that MS was going to be what it is today before it ever offered its IPO but just never got on board yourself?

Re:A giant with clay legs (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402732)

Maybe I am, though I don't see how that is relevant here. We're criticising what they DID do with quite a bit of hindsight, so it's historically accurate to say they screwed up big time.

Why Kodak failed (4, Interesting)

snsh (968808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402348)

When I was an intern working at Eastman Kodak a VP told us that at around 1980, Kodak had a billion dollars to invest in research and the choice was between digital imaging and instant photography. They chose instant photography.

By 1990 Kodak spent another billion dollars just on lawyers fighting Polaroid over patents.

Why not mention Apple? (3, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402654)

Perhaps you know, Apple did one of the first digital cameras in days when they were really in bad shape (no SJobs).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_QuickTake [wikipedia.org]

They got burned too. It was openly joked about. Kodak could have spent billion dollars but they had some amazing revenue to cover it. Apple didn't. It is more like MS, they don't bother whether XBox loses money or Silverlight is considered as a joke, they can always cover it. They (and Google) can always gamble.

Re:Why not mention Apple? (1)

jcenters (570494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403334)

One of my high school teachers, a fairly forward-minded guy, had one of those Apple cameras. It was AWFUL. The photos were extremely washed out, and the color gamut was all messed up. Anyone unfortunate to be in the frame would up looking like a vampire, with washed out skin tones and red eyes.

PhotoCD (1)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402410)

'Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV?'

And yet they still tried selling those stupid PhotoCD players to people.

Kodak was already 15 years behnd the times in 1975 (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402500)

We already had "slow-scan tv recorders [wikipedia.org] " back in 1972 in Popular Science magazine. You could record a single image on an audio tape cassette in about 20 seconds. And as you can see from the article, it's been around since 1960

fuck it, get a bucket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402572)

Does Kodak still exist anymore? Why?

I could not agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33402642)

'Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV?'

This is also something I question. Finally, with the introduction of digital pictures we got rid of the retarded 'do-you-want-to-see-the-2000-photos-I-took-this-holiday' events. People just yank them on a website now and expect you to watch them.
I don't want to visit people, only to watch their private pictures on the telly

Envisioning the future (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402658)

Those guys did well to even think of the idea in 1975. At around the same time the film "The Man Who Fell To Earth" portrayed the future of photography as instant, but still using film. Even those whose job is new ideas have a hard time making the leap to a whole different technology to solve an apparently solved problem in a completely new way.

Must have been TPHBs at the presentation (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 3 years ago | (#33402716)

When the team of technicians presented the camera to Kodak audiences they of course heard a barrage of curious questions:

        Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV? How would you store these images? What does an electronic photo album look like? When would this type of approach be available to the consumer?

That's the problem with huge companies, people try to look smart by knocking down an idea, or only see a finished product, instead of acknowledging the great hack!

That's not an old black and white TV (2, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33403040)

That's an old COLOR TV [wikipedia.org] (Sony [wikipedia.org] Trinitron [wikipedia.org] ) being fed with a black and white image.

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