Kodak’s First Digital Camera
Way back in 1975 — when Kodachrome color slides and Kodak Instamatics were all the rage — Kodak researcher Steve Sasson built the first digicam, cobbled together from spare parts and bleeding edge digital technology.
The lens was from a used parts bin on Kodak’s Super 8 camera assembly line, it used a futuristic CCD image sensor (now commonplace) and took 23 seconds to record a crude 100 line black and white image onto cassette tape.
Sasson explains, "On the side of our portable contraption, we shoehorned in a portable digital cassette instrumentation recorder. Add to that 16 nickel cadmium batteries, a highly temperamental new type of CCD imaging area array, an a/d converter implementation stolen from a digital voltmeter application, several dozen digital and analog circuits all wired together on approximately half a dozen circuit boards, and you have our interpretation of what a portable all electronic still camera might look like."
The device was semi-portable, and a massive VCR-sized microcomputer was used to display the images on a TV screen using a primitive frame store, but I doubt that the Kodak executives saw digital technology as a credible threat to their existing product line.
Thanks to Chris Zupo for the find!