Several important achievements and milestones dating back to the ancient Greeks have contributed to the development of cameras and photography. Here is a brief time timeline of the various breakthroughs with a description of its importance.
5th-4th Centuries B.C.
Chinese and Greek philosophers describe the basic principles of optics and the camera.
Isaac Newton discovers that white light is composed of different colors.
Johann Heinrich Schulze discovered that silver nitrate darkened upon exposure to light.
First Panorama opens, the forerunner of the movie house invented by Robert Barker.
Joseph Niepce achieves first photographic image using an early device for projecting real-life imagery called a camera obscura. However, the image required eight hours of light exposure and later faded.
Louis Daguerre's first daguerreotype, an image that was fixed and did not fade and needed under thirty minutes of light exposure.
First American patent issued in photography to Alexander Wolcott for his camera.
William Henry Talbot patents the Calotype process, the first negative-positive process making possible the first multiple copies.
The first advertisement with a photograph is published in Philadelphia.
Frederick Scott Archer invented the Collodion process so that images required only two or three seconds of light exposure.
Panoramic camera, called the Sutton, is patented.
Oliver Wendell Holmes invents stereoscope viewer.
Photographs and photographic negatives are added to protected works under copyright law.
Richard Leach Maddox invented the gelatin dry plate silver bromide process, which means negatives no longer had to be developed immediately.
Eastman Dry Plate Company is founded.
George Eastman invents flexible, paper-based photographic film.
Eastman patents Kodak roll-film camera.
Reverend Hannibal Goodwin patents celluloid photographic film.
First mass-marketed camera, called the Brownie, goes on sale.
First 35mm still camera is developed.
General Electric invents the modern flash bulb.
First light meter with photoelectric cell is introduced.
Eastman Kodak markets Kodachrome film.
Eastman Kodak introduces Kodacolor negative film.
Chester Carlson receives a patent for electric photography (xerography).
Edwin Land launches and markets the Polaroid camera.
Eastman Kodak introduces high-speed Tri-X film.
EG&G develops extreme depth underwater camera for U.S. Navy.
Polaroid introduces the instant color film.
Photograph of the Earth is taken from the moon. The photograph, Earthrise, is considered one of the most influential environmental photographs ever taken.
Polaroid introduces one-step instant photography with the SX-70 camera.
Pioneers George Eastman and Edwin Land are inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Konica introduces the first point-and-shoot autofocus camera.
Sony demonstrates first consumer camcorder for capturing moving picture.
Canon demonstrates first digital electronic still camera.
Pixar introduces the digital imaging processor.
Eastman Kodak announces Photo Compact Disc as a digital image storage medium.
Kyocera Corporation introduces the VP-210 VisualPhone, the world's first mobile phone with built-in camera for recording videos and still photos.