What Kodak Said About Digital Photography in 1975

In 1975, a 24-year-old engineer named Steven Sasson invented digital photography while working at Eastman Kodak by creating the world’s first digital camera. Kodak wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the industry-changing breakthrough.

The 8-pound camera that Sasson put together shot 0.01-megapixel black-and-white photos and recorded them to cassette tapes. Each photo took 23 seconds to create, and the only way to view the photos was to read the data from the tape and display it onto a standard television screen.

Sasson showed the new technology to a number of Kodak executives, but they couldn’t see the potential of what digital photography could become. This was their reaction, as told by Sasson to the New York Times:

They were convinced that no one would ever want to look at their pictures on a television set. Print had been with us for over 100 years, no one was complaining about prints, they were very inexpensive, and so why would anyone want to look at their picture on a television set?

At the time, Kodak was the dominant brand in the US photo industry, and Kodak didn’t want to cannibalize its film businesses. Kodak eventually did make the big switch to digital… a mere 18 years later.

Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Update: Kodak emerged from bankruptcy in 2013 and has been quite busy as of late.