Gone are the days when it took hours to produce photographs and the subject had to sit completely still. By the early 1880s a new gelatin dry plate was invented and the shutter was a welcome new addition to the camera. Now the need to carry around a portable darkroom and other essential equipment was gone.
These new dry plates were much more sensitive to light which meant that taking pictures took only a fraction of a second. Not only that there was now no need to cover and uncover the lens in order to get an exposure. The shutter button was responsible for ‘letting the light in’ and the exposure time was dependent on how much light is let in.
This had a revolutionary effect on photography because people could now relax and smile. Remember those old family photographs where no one seemed to smile? It wasn’t because they were extremely unhappy or miserable. No, it was because they had to pose like a statue for up to thirty seconds in order to get a decent exposure. Any movement at all would result in a blurry photograph.
Point and Shoot Camera
The first ‘point and shoot’ camera was invented by George Eastman in 1888. Photography was now no longer just a past time just for the rich. The Kodak camera came already loaded with film with the ability to take up to one hundred photographs. Although it had a fixed focus and shutter speed this new portable camera was responsible for making photography popular to this day.
The First 35mm Camera
Many years later in 1925 the first 35mm still camera was produced by a German company called Leica. These new cameras were lightweight and much smaller in size. Not only that they had a high-definition lens and were the first to have a basic manual focus system. This essentially had a major effect on the way photographers were able to travel and capture life as it happened.
Photography For All
Kodak took this a step further by producing a much cheaper version in the 1930s. Photography had now become accessible to the ordinary working class man and woman. From those early days of discovery and invention we now have access to an abundance of cameras, in various forms.
These days the question is not ‘how many people have cameras’ but rather ‘how many don’t’.