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The Evolution Of The Modern Camera in GIFs

By Hanssie on April 22nd 2015

The Evolution of the Modern Camera

When was photography invented? You may say that it was in the 1800’s with the first actual photograph taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce, but the concepts of the camera obscura can be dated back to Chinese and Greek philosophers around 4AD. The first camera obscuras, in Latin meaning “dark room or chamber,” were, in fact, large rooms where light passed through a small pinhole, and an upside down image was produced that the photographer could then trace.

Cameras have come a long way since then, moving from the large room size to a small, easily pocketable device. The images became much more accurate as the need to actually trace the image was replaced with a film process known as daguerreotype in the 19th century. In 1885, George Eastman created the rolled film and began using them in Kodak’s “advanced pinhole cameras” and in 1916, Kodak marketed the first coupled rangefinder camera.

In 1925, Leica released the first commercially successful 35mm camera in the Leica A. 70+ years later, Leica is truly a respected and sought after brand, a favorite amongst many photographers, including our writer, Jay Cassario.


35mm Rangefinder


 35mm Single-Lens Reflex

The first patent for the single-lens reflex (SLR) camera was granted in 1861 and a hundred years later, the SLR was a preferred design among photographers of the high-end market. In 1959, Nikon introduced its F line of cameras, which has since evolved into the F6.


Instant Camera

Shake it like a Polaroid picture…Polaroid came in and dominated the instant camera market in 1948 after Edwin H. Land created the Model 95 when his young daughter asked for an instant picture. Though Polaroid stopped making the film for their iconic camera, many are still nostalgic of the camera and its produce. Fujifilm picked up where Polaroid left off with its party favorite, the hipster Instax.

Point-and-Shoot Camera

In 1977, Konica (Minolta) released the first point-and-shoot camera and changed the way vacationers took photos forever. In 1991, Olympus debuted their Stylus I, which came in a stylish design and with an impressive 100-point autofocus.


Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR)

The first Canon DSLR, the EOS D30, had a whopping 3 megapixels which has nothing on the monster 5Ds announced they announced a few months ago. Still the preferred form for most photographers, the DSLR, is slowly giving way to the new kids in town, the mirrorless.




As you can see, photography and its tools have evolved quite a bit through time. Though the look of cameras may be heading back to the more “retro” SLR and rangefinders of old, the technology in them continue to expand exponentially as camera makers keep striving to surpass its competitors and predecessors.

To read and see more, check out the source of these fun GIFS in the eBay Deals article here.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Brandon Dewey

    very cool!

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  2. Dustin Baugh

    The point and shoots seem to have exolved into bridge cameras.

    Perosnally I think of the Canon Powershot S95/110/120/whtever-the-latest-number-is as the current evolution of point and shoots (although the bulky 1″ sensor cameras coming out may be the new evolution).

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  3. Phil Bautista

    Hey Hanssie, why no Hassy?

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  4. Thomas Horton

    I liked the introduction of this article… liked it so much I had to read it twice. (snicker)

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    • Hanssie

      It was just in case you skimmed through it. had to make sure y’all were paying attention!

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  5. robert garfinkle

    First, there was Neanderthal-Camera (evolved into what we know today as “Nikon”)

    Then, there was Cro-Magnon-Camera (evolved into what we know today as “Canon”)

    Now, camera’s of today, no longer crawl around on all fours :)

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  6. Dave Haynie

    These are cool… but several of them don’t go back nearly far enough. The rangefinder evolution starts with a fairly advanced model, not quite as far back as a Leica II, which was the one that Leica introduced integrating the rangefinder, or even the similar-looking Leica III or Canon IVsb. I used to collect these :-)

    The P&S, too, goes back at least to the days of the Kodak Instamatic, as embarrassing as those were.

    Some are pretty spot on… the 35mm starts with a Nikon F-looking image. Though it could morph directly from SLR to DSLR.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I brought up the same point about the Leica gif in a different forum and got flamed for it. I like the fact the you can bring up small things like this in a discussion and not get into a argument over it.

      It’s like making an astute observation is a crime on some forums.

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    • Hanssie

      Well, we try to keep it respectful and kind around here. Thre’s too much negativity in this industry. Everyone should be able share their opinions without fear of being attacked :)

      Thanks for being awesome readers and commenters!

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  7. robert garfinkle

    This is a great great article Hanssie – thanks

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  8. Mircea Blanaru

    Very nice article with beautiful animated gifs!!!!

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