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Steven Sasson, Inventor Digital Camera

October 12, 2007

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Seneca Stone Cutting Mill

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Two Trails

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1st Digital Camera

Chairman Leica Camera

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Bandelier National Monument

St. Marys Kingfish Classic 2007

Train Wallpapers

Big Pool on the C&O Canal

Big Pool Photo Gallery

Weverton Branch of the B&O

Brunswick Railroad Days

Martinsburg B&O Roundhouse

Martinsburg B&O Roundhouse Continued

Martinsburg B&O Roundhouse History

Fort Fredericia

Fort Frederick October 23, 2004

Fort Frederick Photo Gallery

Scottish Heritage Day at Fort King George

Plum Orchard February 2007

Darien GA March 2006

Darien Photos March 2006

Kissing Bridges of Frederick County

Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. 2005

Seneca Stone Cutting Mill Index Page

Seneca Stone Cutting Mill

Weverton Industrial Village

Weverton Industrial Village - Revisited

Two Trails

LHSA Meeting October 2007

Letchworth State Park

George Eastman House

1st Digital Camera

Chairman Leica Camera

Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi

Bandelier National Monument

St. Marys Kingfish Classic 2007

  Photograph I took of the 1st digital camera!!!!

Steven Sasson – Inventor of the Digital (Filmless) Camera
Before Leica Historical Society of America October 12, 2007
At the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY

[This is written from notes taken at that talk. The photo is of the actual, 1st digital camera.]

Originally he was given the assignment of taking a CCD, invented by Bell Labs in 1969, and seeing if there was a photographic use for this light sensitive device. They started in 1975 by purchasing 2 of the chips. The chips came with a piece of paper with voltages for each link (hand written in pencil) as well as a note on the bottom of the paper saying, “Good Luck!”.

They set as a goal to build a self-contained device that would take the photo, store it, and then show it on a TV screen. The first device was rated at .01 megapixels!!! Not only did they have to invent the camera, but they had to invent the playback device as well.

The all-digital approach was taken because he didn’t have the budget to attempt a mechanical approach.

So, they started working with batteries (they wanted the device to be portable), memory chips and lots of potentiometers. They used a cassette recorder for storing the image designed for oil field logging because they wanted a device that would be reliable.

For a year they worked with waves, voltages and theory without seeing any image from the device. Then came the test. The first photo attempt was a black bar and a white bar; and on the TV screen came an image of the white and black bar!

Excited, Steven Sasson took the camera down the hall and asked a female technician if he could take her photo – a head and shoulders photo. He then took the camera to the playback device and the woman followed. The cassette was placed in the playback device; the screen flickered, the background came out OK, but the woman’s face was all noise!!! Her comment was, “It needs work.” It turns out that that one of the playback algorithms was backwards; when corrected, the photo was fine.

The technical report on the product was done in 1977. The device was patented in 1978.

Now what to do with it. He was demonstrating the camera to various departments in Kodak calling it the “Filmless Camera” which, considering that Kodak made a lot of money from the production of film, may not have been the best title.

Fast forward, the first 1 megapixel sensor was in 1994 by Kodak. In 2006, he was demonstrating the original camera when he noticed that the cassette from that camera was the same size as the Easy Share camera!!!
 

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