The mid-1800s was a busy time for photographic firsts. In 1838, daguerreotype inventor Louis Daguerre captured the first ever photo of a human being. One year later, in 1839, photograph pioneer Robert Cornelius stepped in front of his camera and created the first self-portrait. 1840 held yet another interesting development: the first hoax photograph.
Just in case this question ever comes up while you’re playing the world’s hardest game of photography trivia, what you see above is the first photograph ever snapped in Finland. Mats Söderlund of The Crop Factor writes,
This may look like something captured with Instagram on the newest smartphone, but it’s something a bit different indeed. It is the first photograph taken in Finland, ever. The photo dates back to the year 1842, and celebrated its 170th birthday last Saturday, November 3rd. The photograph is a daguerreotype [...] It was taken in Turku, which ironically also is Finland’s oldest city [...] The photographer was Henrik Cajander, a doctor by trade who lived on the very street the photo was taken [...]
As you can see the photo isn’t exactly perfect, technically or aesthetically speaking, but it is a big part of the history in Finnish photography. Some might call the crooked composition an amateur mistake, but the photographer was, in the realest sense, an amateur at what he was doing.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if there were a gallery of the first photographs shot in each country on Earth?
First Photograph Taken in Finland Turns 170 [The Crop Factor via Reddit]
Leica’s new flagship digital rangefinder, the Leica M, was announced more than a month ago, but things have been very quiet in regards to sample photos demonstrating the camera’s capabilities. If you’ve been dying see actual photos shot using the camera, today’s your lucky day. Pandachief over at the forum HK LFC has published quite a few sample photographs shot in a low-light environment (it appears to be a dinner party).
The world of camera gear is getting really into this whole touchscreen thing. Touchscreen interfaces appeared on a bevy of cameras at Photokina this month (especially when paired with Android OS) and even on a new light meter, the Sekonic L-478D. The latest guest to crash the party? The flash.
The new Metz 52 AF-1 is the world’s first hot-shoe mounted flash unit to offer a touchscreen interface. Granted, the screen isn’t as flashy as the touchscreens found on the devices mentioned above — it won’t be winning any beauty contests anytime soon — but it gets the job done.
On a mountaintop in Chile is the most powerful digital camera mankind has ever constructed. Called the Dark Energy Camera, the phone booth-sized device shoots 570-megapixel photographs using an array of 62 separate CCD sensors and a 13-foot light-gathering mirror. Planning and building the thing took 120 scientists from 23 international organizations a whopping 8 years.
This past week, the researchers behind the project announced the first fruits of their labor: massive photographs that show patches of the sky 20 times the size of the moon (as seen from Earth).
Cell phones have already gone the way of the touchscreen, so why not light meters? Perhaps they will, starting today. Sekonic has just announced a two new light meters that are the world’s first to offer a touchscreen interface. The L-478D and L-478DR both feature a 2.7-inch LCD touchscreen through which settings are changed by tapping or sliding your finger.
The world’s first color moving pictures have been discovered, dating back to 1902. The film sat forgotten in an old metal tin for 110 years before being found recently by Michael Harvey, the Curator of Cinematography at the National Media Museum in England. The pictures were part of a test reel of early color experiments by an Edwardian inventor named Edward Raymond Turner, and show Turners children, soldiers marching, domesticated birds, and even a girl on a swing set.
Did you know that LCD screens and live view didn’t arrive until a number of years after digital cameras hit the market? The first consumer digital camera that featured those technologies was the Casio QV-10 (seen above), which hit store shelves in 1995. However, the screen was purely for framing shots, not for eyeballing exposure, and it took roughly 10 years for live view as we know it to become ubiquitous.
The first prosumer camera to use live view for both exposure control and preview framing was the fixed-lens Canon PowerShot G1 from 2000, although this was still in the line of compact cameras.
The first DSLR to use live view for framing preview only was the fixed-lens Olympus E-10 from 2000. The first interchangeable-lens DSLR to use a live preview was the Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro, which was launched in October 2004. Its “Live Image” mode could display a live, black-and-white preview of the subject that could be magnified for manual focusing purposes, although the preview was limited to a duration of thirty seconds. [...] The first general-use interchangeable-lens DSLR with live view for framing preview only was the Olympus E-330 of 2006. The first general-use interchangeable-lens DSLRs with live view for both exposure simulated preview and framing preview were the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III and Canon EOS 40D of 2007.
Just in case you were wondering, the terms “live view” and “live preview” are interchangeable.
Live Preview on Wikipedia (via Casio via NPhoto)
What you see here is the first image ever uploaded to the World Wide Web. It’s a graphic featuring a promo shot for comedy band Les Horribles Cernettes, and was uploaded almost exactly 20 years ago by Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. Motherboard has the interesting story behind the photo:
So when Berners-Lee and his team cooked up a new edition of their still-primitive World Wide Web system, one that could support photo files, he went a few steps from his workstation to ask de Gennaro for a Cernettes-related image. The Web had already used a few small vector image files to show off schematics, but Berners-Lee and his team needed a guinea pig for the leap into photos.
Lucky for him, de Gennaro had been toying around with a scanned .gif version of the July 18th photo, using version one of Photoshop on his color Macintosh. The .gif format was only five years old at the time, but its efficient compression had made it the best way to edit color images without slowing PCs to a crawl.
The image was added to a webpage about musical acts at CERN (where Berners-Lee worked), and was probably less viewed than the same image on physical posters around the lab. The Mac that housed the original .gif file died around 1998, and the photo faded into obscurity.
Crossdressing, Compression and Colliders: The First Photo on the Web [Motherboard]
Niniane Kelley of PhotoboothSF — the SF photo shop that still shoots tintype portraits — shot a series of tiny tintype photographs using a 110 camera. The images are likely the world’s first 110 tintypes, and the world’s smallest tintypes as well (each one is about half the size of a standard 35mm frame).