1725 (circa) – Johann Heinrich Schulze makes fleeting “photographs” of words by using stencils, sunlight, and a bottled solution of chalk and silver nitrate, simply as an interesting way to demonstrate that the mixture inside the bottle darkens where it is exposed to light.
1800 (circa) – Thomas Wedgwood conceives of making permanent pictures of camera images by using a durable surface coated with a light-sensitive chemical. He succeeds only in producing silhouettes and other shadow images, and is unable to make them permanent.
1816 – Nicéphore Niépce succeeds in making negative photographs of camera images on paper coated with silver chloride, but cannot adequately “fix” them to stop them from darkening all over when exposed to light for viewing.
1822 – Nicéphore Niépce abandons silver halide photography as hopelessly impermanent and tries using thin coatings of Bitumen of Judea on metal and glass. He creates the first fixed, permanent photograph, a copy of an engraving of Pope Pius VII, by contact printing in direct sunlight without a camera or lens. It is later destroyed; the earliest surviving example of his “heliographic process” is from 1825.
1824 – Nicéphore Niépce makes the first durable, light-fast camera photograph, similar to his surviving 1826-1827 photograph on pewter but created on the surface of a lithographic stone. It is destroyed in the course of subsequent experiments.
1826 or 1827 – Nicéphore Niépce makes what is now the earliest surviving photograph from nature, a landscape. It requires an exposure in the camera that lasts at least eight hours and probably several days.
1835 – William Fox Talbot produces durable silver chloride camera negatives on paper and conceives the two-step negative-positive procedure used in most non-electronic photography up to the present.
1839 – Louis Daguerre publicly introduces his daguerreotype process, which produces highly detailed permanent photographs on silver-plated sheets of copper. At first, it requires several minutes of exposure in the camera, but later improvements reduce the exposure time to a few seconds. Photography suddenly enters the public consciousness and Daguerre’s process is soon being used worldwide.
1839 – William Fox Talbot publicly introduces the paper-based process he worked out in
1835, calling it “photogenic drawing”, but it requires much longer exposures than the daguerreotype and the results are not as clear and detailed.
1839 – John Herschel introduces hyposulfite of soda (now known as sodium thiosulfate but still nicknamed “hypo”) as a highly effective fixer for all silver-based processes. He also makes the first glass negative.
1841 – William Fox Talbot introduces his patented calotype (or “talbotype”) paper negative process, an improved version of his earlier process that greatly reduces the required exposure time.
1848 – Edmond Becquerel makes the first full-color photographs, but they are only laboratory curiosities: an exposure lasting hours or days is required and the colors are so light-sensitive that they sometimes fade right before the viewer’s eyes while being examined.
1851 – Introduction of the collodion process by Frederick Scott Archer, used for making glass negatives, ambrotypes and tintypes.
1854 – André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri credited with introduction of the carte de visite (English: visiting card or calling card) format for portraiture. Disdéri uses a camera with multiple lenses that can photograph eight different poses on one large negative. After printing on albumen paper, the images are cut apart and glued to calling-card-size mounts.
1861 – James Clerk Maxwell presents a projected additive color image of a multicolored ribbon, the first demonstration of color photography by the three-color method he suggested in 1855. It uses three separate black-and-white photographs taken and projected through red, green and blue color filters. The projected image is temporary but the set of three “color separations” is the first durable color photograph.
1868 – Louis Ducos du Hauron patents his numerous ideas for color photography based on the three-color principle, including procedures for making subtractive color prints on paper. They are published the following year. Their implementation is not technologically practical at that time, but they anticipate most of the color processes that are later introduced.
1871 – The gelatin emulsion is invented by Richard Maddox.
1873 – Hermann Wilhelm Vogel discovers dye sensitization, allowingthe blue-sensitive but otherwise color-blind photographic emulsions then in use to be made sensitive to green, yellow and red light. Technical problems delay the first use of dye sensitization in a commercial product until the mid-1880s; fully panchromatic emulsions are not in common use until the mid-20th century.
1876 – Hurter & Driffield begin systematic evaluation of sensitivity characteristics of photographic emulsions—the science of sensitometry.
1878 – Heat ripening of gelatin emulsions discovered, greatly increasing sensitivity and making very short “snapshot” exposures possible.
1878 – Eadweard Muybridge uses a row of cameras with trip-wires to make a high-speed photographic analysis of a galloping horse. Each picture is taken in less than the two-thousandth part of a second, and they are taken in sufficiently rapid sequence (about 25 per second) that they constitute a brief real-time “movie” that can be viewed by using a device such as a zoetrope—a photographic “first”.
1887 – Celluloid film base introduced.
1888 – The Kodak n°1 box camera, the first easy-to-use camera, is introduced with the slogan “You press the button, we do the rest.”
1888 – Louis Le Prince makes Roundhay Garden Scene, believed to be the first motion picture on film ever made.
1889 – The first commercially available transparent celluloid roll film is introduced by the Eastman Company, later renamed the Eastman Kodak Company and commonly known as Kodak.
1891 – Gabriel Lippmann announces a “method of reproducing colors photographically based on the phenomenon of interference”.
1891 – William Kennedy Laurie Dickson develops the “kinetoscopic” motion picture camera while working for Thomas Edison.
1895 – Auguste and Louis Lumière invent the cinématographe.
1898 – Kodak introduces the Folding Pocket Kodak.
1900 – Kodak introduces their first Brownie, a very inexpensive user-reloadable point-and-shoot box camera.
1901 – Kodak introduces the 120 film format.
1902 – Arthur Korn devises practical telephotography technology (reduction of photographic images to signals that can be transmitted by wire to other locations); Wire-Photos in wide use in Europe by 1910, and transmitted intercontinentally by 1922.
1907 – The Autochrome plate is introduced and becomes the first commercially successful color photography product.
1908 – Kinemacolor, a two-color process that is the first commercial “natural color” system for movies, is introduced.
1909 – Kodak announces a 35 mm “safety” motion picture film on an acetate base as an alternative to the highly flammable nitrate base. The motion picture industry discontinues its use after 1911 due to technical imperfections.
1912 – Vest Pocket Kodak using 127 film.
1912 – Thomas Edison introduces a short-lived 22 mm home motion picture format using acetate “safety” film manufactured by Kodak.
1913 – Kodak makes 35 mm panchromatic motion picture film available on a bulk special order basis.
1914 – Kodak introduces the Autographic film system.
1914 – The World, the Flesh and the Devil, the first dramatic feature film in color (Kinemacolor), is released.
1922 – Kodak makes 35 mm panchromatic motion picture film available as a regular stock.
1923 – The 16 mm amateur motion picture format is introduced by Kodak. Their Cine-Kodak camera uses reversal film and all 16 mm is on an acetate (safety) base.
1923 – Harold Edgerton invents the xenon flash lamp for strobe photography.
1925 – The Leica introduces the 35 mm format to still photography.
1926 – Kodak introduces its 35 mm Motion Picture Duplicating Film for duplicate negatives. Previously, motion picture studios used a second camera alongside the primary camera to create a duplicate negative.
1932 – The first full-color cartoon, Flowers and Trees, is made in Technicolor by Disney.
1932 – First 8 mm amateur motion picture film, cameras, and projectors are introduced by Kodak.
1934 – The 135 film cartridge is introduced, making 35 mm easy to use for still photography.
1935 – Becky Sharp, the first feature film made in the full-color “three-strip” version of Technicolor, is released.
1935 – Introduction of Kodachrome multi-layered color reversal film (16 mm only; 8 mm and 35 mm follow in 1936, sheet film in 1938).
1936 – Introduction by IHAGEE of the Ihagee Kine Exakta 1, the first 35 mm SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera.
1936 – Agfacolor Neu (English: New Agfacolor) color reversal film for home movies and slides.
1939 – Agfacolor negative and positive 35 mm color film stock for professional motion picture use (not for making paper prints).
1939 – The View-Master 3-D viewer and its “reels” of seven small stereoscopic image pairs on Kodachrome film are introduced.
1942 – Kodacolor, the first color film that yields negatives for making chromogenic color prints on paper. Roll films for snapshot cameras only, 35 mm not available until 1958.
1947 – Dennis Gabor invents holography.
1947 – Harold Edgerton develops the Rapatronic camera for the U.S. government.
1948 – The Hasselblad camera is introduced.
1948 – Edwin H. Land introduces the first Polaroid instant camera.
1949 – The Contax S camera is introduced, the first 35 mm SLR camera with a pentaprism eye-level viewfinder.
1952 – Bwana Devil, a low-budget polarized 3-D film, premieres in late November and starts a brief 3-D craze that begins in earnest in 1953 and fades away during 1954.
1954 – Leica M Introduced
1957 – First Asahi Pentax SLR introduced.
1957 – First digital computer acquisition of a scanned photograph, by Russell Kirsch at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards (now the NIST).
1959 – Nikon F introduced.
1959 – AGFA introduces the first fully automatic camera, the Optima.
1963 – Kodak introduces the Instamatic.
1964 – First Pentax Spotmatic SLR introduced.
1973 – Fairchild Semiconductor releases the first large image forming CCD chip: 100 rows and 100 columns of pixels.
1975 – Bryce Bayer of Kodak develops the Bayer filter mosaic pattern for CCD color image sensors.
1986 – Kodak scientists invent the world’s first megapixel sensor.
2000 – J-SH04 introduced by J-Phone, the first commercially available mobile phone with a camera that can take and share still pictures.
2005 – AgfaPhoto files for bankruptcy. Production of Agfa brand consumer films ends.
2006 – Dalsa produces a 111 megapixel CCD sensor, the highest resolution at that time.
2008 – Polaroid announces it is discontinuing the production of all instant film products, citing the rise of digital imaging technology.
2009 – Kodak announces the discontinuance of Kodachrome film.