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Profiles of Selected Photographic Film and Digital Companies - Adobe, Agfa, Canon, DuPont, Efke, Epson, Epson’s U.S. History, Forte, Fujifilm, Hasselblad

camera products company kodak

Rochester Institute of Technology

The use of silver halide photography en masse arguably began in the late 1800s, when the equipment and materials required to make pictures became more accessible and common. Film photography had its largest number of users at the end of the 20th century. Around the year 2000, digital photography began to seriously displace film as the primary technology used to make pictures. At the end of the 20th century, there were fewer than 20 companies world-wide that produced sensitized film and paper products, while according to a 2000 issue of PMA magazine, the estimated number of companies selling digital cameras and related models was more than 270. The proliferation of companies involved with digital technology is challenging to monitor because it is so dynamic, with changes almost monthly. Companies that produced film cameras now make digital-imaging equipment; companies that did not exist in 1993 dominate the market, while computer companies are making cameras.

The economics of photography as an industry is quite impressive, with a long list of companies, organizations, and people that generate an income from the practices, products, and services required by their customers. All persons involved with photography in any capacity will still find an “industry” that is in flux; however, the changes in 2006 are not as volatile as they once were. Companies that produce, distribute, and create photographic products and services in the largest definition are finding a constantly changing market enamored with cellular phone cameras and other “cool” products. It is a time when many pieces of electronic equipment are considered disposable. Photographic company icons such as Kodak are trying to operate in this new world, in which there has been a huge confluence of companies and distributors of photographic products and services. Many practitioners are generally at a loss to keep up with the constant changes and products as many in the industry constantly evolve their product lines. When today’s consumer goes into a camera store, there is a large presence of electronic equipment, including computers, video cameras, and audio products; a few years earlier there would have only been silver halide equipment and products. That consumer will have the same experience in an electronics store.

The essays on the following pages profile some of the achievements of companies that have defined photographic materials and equipment, first in the silver halide era and now in the digital era of photography. The companies were selected because of their impact on silver halide and digital photography’s equipment and materials. While companies such as Kodak, Ilford, Leica, and Zeiss are more than 100 years old, other companies were selected because of their name recognition in the field of new technologies. The following pages represent entries written by Michael Peres and Chuck Westfall, or are entries that were originally published in the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography , 3rd Edition (1993) by the following authors: Peter Walker, Thomas Shay, Warren L. Mauzy, Roger W. Horn, J. Samburg, and Allan Verch. Minor updating has been done by the editor and will be noted by the use of [] brackets.

Below is a selected list of companies that have made or are currently making products used in various applications of photography.











Canon, Inc.

Casio Computer Co., Ltd.

Chinon Industrial, Inc.

Columbia Magnetic Products Co., Ltd.

Copal Co., Ltd.



Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.



Eastman Kodak Company



Elmo Co., Ltd.

Epson, Inc. (Seiko Epson Co.)



Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.






Hitachi, Ltd.









Kasei Verbatim Corporation

Keystone Camera of Japan, Ltd.

Konica/Minolta Corporation


Kyocera Corporation






Mamiya Camera Co., Ltd.


Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.


Mitsubishi Electric Corp


Motorola, Inc.

NEC Corporation

Nikon Corporation



Olympus Optical Co., Ltd.


Pentax (Asahi Optical Co., Ltd.)

Phase One

Philips International B.V.

Polaroid Corporation


Quantum Instruments

Ricoh Company, Ltd.

Rollei, Inc.



Samsung Japan Electronics Co., Ltd.

Sankyo Seiki Manufacturing Co., Ltd.


Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.


Sea & Sea


Seiko Co.


Sharp Corporation





Strand Lighting


Sony Corporation



TDK Corporation

Thompson-Japan K K Co.

3M Company/Sumitomo 3M, Ltd.


Toshiba Corporation

Victor Company of Japan, Ltd. (JVC)





Adobe Systems, Incorporated, was formed in 1982 and immediately changed how the world worked with graphics. The company’s award-winning software and technologies had big influences on business, entertainment, and personal communication applications by introducing software that enabled graphics professionals and photographers to move from the “old tools” to the computer with a reasonably smooth transition. Adobe, headquartered in San Jose, California, has become in a short time one of the world’s largest and most diversified software companies, with 2005 revenues of USD $1.996 billion (FYE Dec. 2, 2005). Adobe was founded by Chuck Geschke and John Warnock. Their vision of publishing and the graphic arts changed how people created electronic content and graphical information. The two met in the late 1970s while working at the world-renowned Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). In 1982, they founded Adobe Systems, Incorporated, focusing on the challenge of controlling how text and images observed on the computer screen could be controlled precisely so that the file could be reproduced beautifully and accurately in print.

In 1983, Adobe® PostScript® technology was launched, which revolutionized the desktop publishing industry by providing a radical new approach to printing text and images on paper. For the first time, a computer file could be printed exactly as it was displayed on the computer screen, maintaining all of its formatting, graphics, and fonts.

Building on the success of that software, Adobe expanded into desktop software applications in 1987 with Adobe Illustrator® and, in 1990, Adobe Photoshop® software, which both had a huge impact on the graphics and photographic fields. These unique applications redefined the control creators had on image quality as well as the complexity of the images that could be included. Adobe InDesign® software followed, which also changed the page-layout market, enabling household-name magazines, newspapers, and corporate brands to adopt modern, integrated publishing workflows.

Continuing to improve its software products for computing, Adobe released Adobe Acrobat® software and the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), which combined its expertise in desktop software with its roots in PostScript printing. Acrobat and PDF revolutionized information sharing by allowing people around the world to deliver digital documents exactly as intended across computing platforms and applications. Acrobat achieved quick success, and today the PDF file is the de facto standard for governments and businesses everywhere sharing documents across the Web, corporate intranets, and e-mail.

It is estimated that more than 90 percent of creative professionals use Adobe Photoshop or its smaller version, Elements. Adobe PDF documents make up nearly 10 percent of the content on the Web. Many of the world’s PC manufacturers ship their systems with PDF technology pre-installed. In 2005, Adobe acquired Macromedia, Inc., the developer of the powerful Flash software.

Today, the Adobe Engagement Platform, which is built around Adobe PDF and Flash technology, further enhances the work of people who create, manage and deliver visual information.



Agfa is a photographic business that originated from a German company that produced chemicals and dyestuffs in the early 1900s. In the early 1920s, the manufacturing of photographic products became dominant and the acronym Agfa was adopted as the company’s name. Agfa developed a grain-screen process in 1916 that enabled color transparencies to be produced. Agfa patented a triple-layer reversal color film in 1935 that went into production as Agfacolor New Reversal Film in 35-mm and 8-mm sizes in 1936. Four years later Agfa introduced a subtractive color negative film. Agfa Photo Imaging Systems, which was based in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, operated within the Agfa Division of Miles, Inc. Agfa manufactured and distributed a sizable amount of its photographic films, processing equipment, paper, and chemicals to the minilab/retail, professional, wholesale, and consumer markets. Agfa was a leader in imaging technologies and was a complete full-system supplier to the photofinishing market. Agfa Division reported combined net sales of just under $1 billion in 1991 and employed nearly 4500 people in the United States, with facilities in more than 70 locations nationwide. Agfa manufactured some excellent black-and-white printing papers, including Agfa Brovira and Portriga rapid, which were favorites of many fine artists and print makers. In the early 1990s, Agfa was the largest it would be in the U.S. and world markets. As digital technology continued to capture film markets, film sales slowed at rates faster than many at Agfa had anticipated. Agfa experienced tremendous changes as a company and tried to adapt to the new marketplace. By the late 1990s, Agfa was having significant financial challenges phasing out the film technology business and development, as well as profitable distribution of digital products. In November 2004 the new AgfaPhoto group, headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany, took over all activities of the former Consumer Imaging division of the Agfa-Gevaert group. Products for end consumers—such as film—but especially the production and marketing of lab equipment, software, and consumer goods (particularly photo paper and chemicals) used for the professional development and production of photographic images were part of the AgfaPhotos’ core business were closed. Agfa filed for insolvency procedures in June, 2005. AgfaPhoto North America (Ridgefield Park, NJ), the North American operating unit of AgfaPhoto, survived the insolvency filing of its parent company, AgfaPhoto GmbH in Germany. Their medical-products group is operating effectively in the digital radiography and healthcare industries.


Apple Computer, Inc., is an American computer company with annual sales in 2005 of USD $13.9 billion. Apple computer has its world headquarters in Cupertino, California. Apple became popular in the earliest phases of digital photography for a variety of reasons including its Apple Quick Take cameras. Apple continues to have a following because of the company’s most well-known products: personal computers, the iPod portable music player, and the iTunes music software.

Apple has been a major player in the evolution of personal computing since its founding in 1976. The Apple II microcomputer, introduced in 1977, was immediately popular with some users. In 1983, Apple introduced the Lisa, the first commercial personal computer that used a graphical user interface, which was influenced in part by research done in Palo Alto by Xerox. In 1984, the Macintosh (commonly called the Mac) was introduced, along with the first mouse used with a personal computer. Industry analysts suggest that Apple’s success with the Macintosh computer influenced the graphical interfaces of other computer operating systems, such as the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, and Microsoft Windows. In 1991, Apple introduced its line of PowerBook laptop computers. These laptops in particular established the modern design that has become signature for Apple machines. The early 1990s saw Apple’s revenues fall in response to competition from Microsoft Windows and the comparatively inexpensive IBM PC-compatible computers that would eventually dominate the market. In the 2000s, Apple expanded their focus on software to include professional and pro-sumer (professional/consumer) video, music, and photo-production solutions, with an aim toward promoting their computers as a “digital hub” that connects all the pieces. It also introduced the very successful iPod, a portable digital music player that has become the most popular player on the market. Apple has created a following as a company that differentiates itself from others, reflected in its marketing slogan, “Think different.” Apple has fostered a high level of brand devotion among some users.

Apple has its critics who are not supportive of the company corporate philosophy that all the hardware and software comes from within the company. For a long time, Apple’s hardware was closed and proprietary, and Apple generally refused to adopt prevailing industry standards for hardware, instead creating and implementing their own. Apple largely reversed this trend starting in 2001, using UNIX language in its OS X and Intel processors in the newer Macs. An industry standard, the professional graphical arts and photographic communities use Macs almost exclusively. Apple continues to focus on its core professional markets and recently introduced Aperture, a new image-management and database tool for professional photographers.



Canon’s first business plan was to become the world’s top camera manufacturer. The Hansa Canon, released in 1936, was the first 35 mm focal-plane shutter camera developed and manufactured in Japan. Since then, the company has continued to have a strong brand following among photographers ranging from amateurs to professionals by introducing cameras with innovations such as automatic exposure systems, autofocus lenses, optical image stabilization, and eye-controlled auto-focus technologies.

Canon’s expertise in optical technologies did not stop its advances in conventional film camera technologies. The company’s digital cameras have earned a solid reputation, not only in the single lens reflex (SLR) market, but also among compact digital camera users. In addition, Canon’s TV broadcasting lenses and medical equipment such as digital X-ray cameras are widely recognized for their high quality, enabling Canon to be a recognized leader in these markets worldwide.

Semiconductor production equipment is another important business in which Canon has applied its optical technologies. High-density chips made using this equipment are incorporated in Canon products as well as a wide array of information equipment on the market today.

Canon entered the business-machines industry in the 1960s and commercialized its first copying machines using original technologies in 1968. Later came laser beam printers (LBPs), bringing together all of the company’s laser technology know-how. Canon went on to develop color LBPs and, more recently, network digital multi-function printers (MFPs). The result has been the evolution of the CLC series of color copying machines and the imageRUNNER (iR) series of MFPs.

Canon’s digital imaging equipment also incorporates a variety of innovative technologies. Canon toners, inks, and paper products adopt the company’s chemical technologies, while image-processing methods draw on proprietary software technologies. Control devices accurate to the nanometer level use Canon’s original ultraprecision technologies. Proprietary production technologies, which allow Canon to market high-quality products at reasonable prices, are also a vital element in the company’s technology mix.

Inkjet printers are the result of innovation arising from Canon’s pursuit of technology advances. This groundbreaking technology has been perfected to the point that inkjet printers can output photo-quality images surpassing the quality of conventional photographs. Not satisfied with the results to date, Canon continues to push forward in its quest of technology to provide the ultimate in image quality.

In recent years, Canon has focused on developing and manufacturing key components for its products in-house, including optical elements, image sensors, and system LSI chips for digital imaging equipment, as well as developing software and algorithms. In this digital age, Canon’s mission has evolved to pioneer information technologies that revolutionize the workplace, work styles, and lifestyles, encompassing text, voice, and image data.



DuPont’s participation in the photographic industry can be traced back to its work in the field of cellulose chemistry in the mid-nineteenth century. Cellulose nitrate, an extremely flammable material, was the key to diversification from the original Du Pont product—gunpowder. From it came lacquers, fabric coatings, rayon, and a clear, flexible film that proved suitable as a base on which to coat photographic emulsions. Motion picture film was chosen as the first application, and work began in 1912 to develop the film base. Finding a limited market for nitrocellulose solution, the company hired experts in 1915 to explore the manufacture of a photographic film base and light-sensitive emulsions to go on it. Plans to build an experimental plant for motion-picture film manufacture at Parlin, New Jersey, were announced in 1919, and the first sensitized DuPont photographic film was produced a year later. In 1924 a joint venture with Pathé Cinema Societé Anonyme de Paris was formed, providing an immediate outlet for DuPont’s product. By 1931 DuPont acquired Pathé‘s interest and established the Photo Products department in Parlin. In 1927 Photo Products introduced a high-speed, fine-grain panchromatic film that won immediate endorsement among professional motion-picture cameramen as the highest quality fast film available. DuPont later won an Academy Award from the National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for this product. Photo Products expanded rapidly into x-ray film with a unique blue base that enhanced the diagnostic clarity of radiographs (1932). It entered the graphic arts market (1935) with Photolith film, precursor of a broad range of films and printing plates that began the printing industry’s change from letterpress to off set reproduction. By 1945 Photo Products reached $10 million in annual sales, half from x-ray film and screens. (The Patterson Screen Company, Towanda, Pennsylvania, was acquired in 1943.) In 1945 Du Pont acquired the Defender Photo Supply Company of Rochester, New York, a manufacturer of printing papers.

After the Second World War, research for an improved photographic film base commenced based on DuPont polyester technology. This led to the introduction of Cronar polyester film base in 1955 to replace the standard acetate base. Researchers at the Experimental Station demonstrated the application of photopolymerization for imaging in 1949 with the demonstration that a liquid polymer could be hardened into a plastic printing surface by ultraviolet exposure. This resulted in the introduction of Dycril photopolymer printing plates for the commercial printing market in 1957.

Throughout its rapid growth, Photo Products had concentrated on specific market areas and product lines in which DuPont’s traditional technical skills and competence could make the greatest contribution. But the competition from companies supported by income from a growing amateur photographic market was a threat to Photo Products’ offerings, which were limited to the industrial market. In 1955 research expenditure was doubled and a fledgling amateur color film program was picked up from the corporate Chemical Department. A partnership with Bell and Howell to commercialize amateur color film was terminated unsuccessfully in 1965. In 1962 the acquisition of Adox Fotowerke in Neu Isenberg, Germany, was completed. Adox was a supplier of color and black-and-white photographic materials for the amateur and professional markets; over a period of years these products were replaced by graphic arts and x-ray films for the European market. From the increased research effort in the late 1950s came a steady stream of new products, including chromium dioxide magnetic material and Crolyn high-fidelity audio and video magnetic tapes (1967). From continuing advances in photopolymer technology came Riston, a dry film photo-polymer resist film for printed-circuit manufacture (1968). DuPont then pioneered the development of photographic (phototooling) films specifically designed to expose these resists. By 1970 Photo Products sales reached $200 million, resuscitated by polyester-based graphic arts and x-ray films.

Around 1970 Photo Products added the Instrument Products Division, maker of analytical, process control, and medical instrumentation, and the Electrochemicals Products Division, maker of precious metals and glass powder for microcircuits. With the acquisition of Berg Electronics (connectors), the Ivan Sorvall Company (centrifuges) and the analytical operations of Bell and Howell in the early 1970s, Photo Products was becoming too broadly based in the marketplace, and the Biomedical Department was split off in 1978. Again in 1983 it split into Photosystems and Electronic Products and the Medical Products Departments.

Important contributions to the printing and publishing industry continued to result from photopolymer technology with Cromalin custom color proofing films in 1972, Cyrel flexographic plates in 1973, and Cromacheck peel-apart color proofing films in 1984. Rapid-access, film-processing chemistry for graphic arts was introduced in the early 1970s followed by Bright Light films in 1977 and X-Stat films in 1987. In 1986 Photosystems and Electronic Products split into Electronics and Imaging Systems Departments to better serve the needs of those rapidly expanding markets.

In the late 1980s, Imaging Systems began to organize its activities to address the growing impact of electronics on the printing and diagnostic-imaging businesses. The formation of a separate Electronic Imaging business division and joint ventures with Xerox (for digital proofing equipment) and Fuji (for electronic prepress) were announced. This was followed by the acquisition of Howson Algraphy (printing plates), Imagitex (monochrome electronic image scanners), Camex (newspaper electronic systems), and, together with Fuji, Cros-field (color electronic prepress systems). The development of photopolymer technology continued with new product and system developments to meet growing market needs in optical elements (Omnidex dry processing photopolymer holographic films in 1990) and stereolithography (SOMOS high performance liquids in 1991).

Today, DuPont Imaging Systems serves the needs of printing and publishing and the diagnostic imaging businesses but is not directly considered to be producing photographic products. Throughout 80 years of contribution to the photographic industry, DuPont has promoted healthy change by exploiting its core competencies through a continual release of innovative products and systems for the printing and diagnostic imaging markets. As silver halide technology disappeared from the applications end of the industry, DuPont developed more of a focus on graphic arts products, where it has become a leader with a significant range of products and software including: Sontara PC™ wipers, Cyrel digital imager Ink Jet ink sets Mounting Systems, Teflon graphics protection film, Teonex film, Tyvek envelopes, Digital Proofing SystemsChromaCheck color proofing system, Cromalin b-Series ink jet proofer, CromaPro XP inkjet color proofing system, Dylux digital imposition proofing media, WaterProof thermal halftone proofing system, Solvent Platemaking Systems, Cyrel flexographic photopolymer digital and analog plates, Cyrel flexographic photopolymer sleeves, Cyrel solvent platemaking equipment, and Wide Format Digital Printing Systems. DuPont also creates electronic displays for devices such as cell phones, personal digital assistants, notebooks, and high definition TV. Holographic Optical Elements are components that produce brighter displays by managing light more efficiently. DuPont UNIAX—new to the company in 2000—is a leader in electroluminescent polymers, a display technology that offers the prospect of a flexible, very thin display made entirely of plastic material.



Efke is the brand name of films, photographic papers, and chemicals produced by Fotokemika d.d., a company located in Samobor, Croatia. Efke films use emulsions with a very high silver content that produces a wide exposure latitude. The Efke 25, 50, and 100 products are made using the ADOX formulas that were first introduced in the 1950s. Unlike many modern black-and-white films, Efke products have been reported to be the most accurate to their published speeds and easier for beginners to use. Efke films are coated in one layer, unlike other films, which are coated in multiple layers. Efke also makes a line of chemistries used for black-and-white processing.



Epson’s parent company, Seiko Epson Corporation, had its origin in Suwa Seikosha, one of several manufacturing companies of The Seiko Group. The Seiko Group came out of the K. Hattori & Company, an import/export trading company of clocks and watches that was established in 1881. Their 100-year history began in watch-making and led to the invention of the world’s first quartz watch, along with many other technology firsts. This long tradition of creating small, more precise products continues today, with the development of other advanced capabilities for ultra-fine, high-precision processing used in inkjet printers and other electronic display devices.

The Seiko Epson Corporation was officially founded May 18, 1942 and manufactured men’s watches as well as conducting research and recent development in the core technologies of CMOS integrated circuits and liquid crystal displays. Many of these components are integrated into their high-performance desktop, notebook, and hand-held computers and peripheral devices. In 1968, Suwa Seikosha developed the first commercially successful printer mechanism, the EP-101, incorporating technology that would later be found in the MX-80 printer.

Moving into the 21st century, Epson has developed a leading reputation for digital image innovation, specifically because of its printers. The company has sales offices throughout the United States and Canada with subsidiaries in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Epson’s U.S. History

In 1975, Epson America, Inc. was formed, with U.S. headquarters in Long Beach, California. It entered the U.S. market to supply original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components and peripherals to the computer and electronics market. Four years later, as the personal computer market grew, a need developed for a competitively priced desktop printer for home consumers. At that time, Epson introduced the MX-80. This successful and widely distributed printer became for many the de facto industry standard for serial impact dot matrix printers.

Epson continues to offer an extensive array of high-quality image-capture and image-output products, including color inkjet printers, scanners, LCD multimedia projectors, and monochrome dot matrix printers. Epson’s products are designed for a variety of customer environments, including business, photography, government, audio visual, graphic arts, and the home. Epson’s presence in the photographic output and printer market is hard to miss and has become a top choice among the best digital photographic printers.

Some notable Epson achievements:

  • October, 1980: MX-80, a small, lightweight computer printer.
  • July, 1982: HX-20, the world’s first hand-held computer.
  • December, 1982: TV Watch, the world’s first television watch, with an active-matrix LCD.
  • October, 1984: SQ-2000, the first commercial Epson inkjet printer.
  • January, 1989: VPJ-7000, world’s first compact, full-color liquid crystal video projector.
  • 1990: TM-930, the PC-POS package printer that created a new market.
  • March, 1993: Epson Stylus 800, the first inkjet printer equipped with Micro Piezo technology.
  • May, 1994: Epson Stylus Color, the world’s first 720 dpi color inkjet printer.
  • April, 1997: Epson Stylus Photo, a six-color, photo inkjet printer.
  • September, 1998: TM-H5000, Epson’s first hybrid printer, featuring fast, quiet printing and copy functionality.
  • November, 1999: ECM-A1192, low-power-consumption STN trans-reflective color LCD panel module that changed the mobile phone market.
  • May, 2000: Epson Stylus Pro 9500, a large-format pigment-ink printer combining super photo quality with outstanding light fastness.

Since 2002, Epson has continually worked hard to create printers that professional and fine art photographers think of first, including the R1280, and the newer R1800, R2200, and R2400.



The Forte Company opened for business in 1922, when the London-based Kodak company created a subsidiary for the production of black-and-white photographic paper in Vác, Hungary. Forte has manufactured a wide range of products focused on both the amateur and professional markets. Until fairly recently, Forte manufactured some 3 million square meters (sqm) of black-and-white photographic paper and nearly 1 million sqm of black-and-white photography film per year. Special products, such as x-ray diagnostic films and graphic arts materials, as well as a line of color film and paper, were also produced. At one time Forte produced 60 different black-and-white enlarging papers, which included a variable-constant brown-tone paper. Forte’s black-and-white films are manufactured sheet, 35mm, and roll formats in the speed range of 100-400 ISO. Forte also makes its own line of chemistries. The Forte brand name is well established in Europe and is distributed in more than 50 countries worldwide.



Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading manufacturer and marketer of imaging and information products. Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., began operations in 1934 with the production of a professional 35-mm motion-picture film. In November 1936, Fuji brought its first amateur still film to market. The opening of the Ashigara Research Laboratory in 1939 paved the way for the introduction of Fuji’s first color film in 1948. In 1954, Fuji established a magnetic tape research laboratory and in 1960 produced its first magnetic tape products. In 1963, the company introduced the first two-inch broadcast videotape to the domestic television industry.

In 1974, Fuji opened its first overseas manufacturing operation in Brazil. Initially built to produce photographic color paper, the plant manufactured photographic color film and processing chemicals as well. In 1984, Fuji opened a fully integrated production facility for photosensitized materials in the Netherlands and another facility in Kleve, Germany, to manufacture videotape and floppy disks. In 1989, the company opened a facility in Greenwood, South Carolina, to manufacture presensitized plates, C-41 printing papers, and related products. In February 2006, Fuji announced that no more 35mm color negative or paper emulsions would be manufactured at this facility as part of their continued transition to the digital age. The company also operated Fuji Hunt Photographic Chemicals factories in the United States, Canada, Belgium, and Singapore.

The company entered the North American market in 1955 and culminated a decade of growth with the establishment of its Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., subsidiary in 1965. Fuji has twice introduced the world’s fastest color print still film: in 1976, a 400 ISO speed film; in 1984, a 1600 ISO speed film. The company also twice introduced the world’s fastest color motion picture film: in 1978, an EI 250 speed film; in 1984, an EI 500 speed film. In 1987, Fuji introduced the world’s first 35-mm one-time use camera, Fujicolor QuickSnap, and in 1988 introduced the QuickSnap Flash, the first 35mm single-use camera with a built-in flash. Fujicolor Reala, advertised as the first film to reproduce colors as they are seen by the human eye, was introduced in 1989.

Fuji’s technological advances in imaging products led to numerous citations and awards, including the 1982 Academy Award (the Oscar) and two Emmys for Technical Merit, one in 1982 for Fujicolor A-250 high-speed color negative motion picture film and one in 1990 for developments in metal particle tape technology. In 1991, Fuji received the Scientific and Engineering Award for its F-series of color negative motion picture films from the national Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Fuji has actively transitioned into digital photography with a wide range of digital products and services. Fuji FinePix cameras as well as the FinePix scanners and its Pictography printers are digital products that are found all over the world. The Fuji Frontier mini-lab is considered by many in the industry to be the gold standard of mini-labs. Fuji engineers developed and now integrate hexagonal pixels into their chips, allowing for more precise highlight-exposure control.

Fuji film products are still readily available in the United States as well as worldwide and include amateur and professional color photographic films, photographic papers, cameras, and mini-lab photofinishing equipment. Fujifilm has a variety of other products including their award-winning electronic imaging products; professional broadcast and consumer videotape; audiocassette tapes; electronic imaging storage media; professional motion-picture film; microfilm, microfilm camera/processors, reader/printers and chemicals; graphic arts film and chemistry; presensitized off set plates and chemistry; film and plate processors; color-proofing systems; and scanners, architectural, electronics, photogrammetry, and seismic recording reproduction applications; medical and industrial x-ray films and processors; and multiformat cameras and film-loaders.



Hasselblad has been associated with photography almost since its inception. In 1841, the Hasselblad family established its first trading company, F.W. Hasselblad & Co., in the port city of Gothenburg located in western Sweden. The location of Gothenburg, with its proximity to the European continent, was ideal for a fledgling international import-export firm. Right from the beginning, Hasselblad began importing supplies and products for the newly burgeoning field of photography, which was rapidly growing in the 19th century. Arvid Viktor Hasselblad, a son of the company’s founder, established an independent photographic division within the company and the photographic department became a major part of F.W. Hasselblad & Co. While on his honeymoon, he met George Eastman and the two men formed a business partnership that would last for almost 80 years. In 1888, Hasselblad began importing Eastman’s products as the sole Swedish distributor. The photographic division of the company grew rapidly and in 1908 formed Fotografiska AB, which was the exclusive Swedish distributor for what is now Eastman Kodak products. Developing labs and a nationwide network of retail outlets were established.

In 1937 Victor Hasselblad opened his own photographic company, Victor Foto, in central Gothenburg. The business was complete with its own processing laboratory. In the spring of 1940, the Swedish government approached the thirty-four-year old to ask if he could produce a camera identical to a recovered German spy camera. In April 1940, he built a camera workshop in a simple shed in an automobile workshop in central Gothenburg. At that time, he began reverse engineering the German camera and designing what would be the first Hasselblad camera, the HK 7.

In 1941 the new small business, originally named Ross Incorporated, moved into some new premises and began serial production of the handheld HK 7. The camera format was 7 × 9 cm using 80 mm film and had two interchangeable lenses, the first a Zeiss Biotessar and the second either a Meyer Tele-Megor or a Schneider Tele-Xenar.

Camera production for the military continued for a short time. All the while, Hasselblad viewed the production of military cameras as merely the first step towards the development of a civilian camera. Hasselblad always had sights on the consumer market to produce a top-quality, portable camera that would fit into a person’s hands.

The new camera company worked to design and redesign camera prototypes while they produced the other cameras for the military. On October 6, 1948, Victor Hasselblad introduced the world to the first Hasselblad produced consumer camera, the Hasselblad 1600F. This model, a single-lens, mirror-reflex, 6 × 6 camera with interchangeable Kodak lenses, film magazines, and viewfinders, was unveiled at a press conference in New York City.

The first Hasselblads were technological marvels in many ways and beautiful to look at, but their technologically advanced interiors were very delicate. That new product led to other new products, including the 1000F. The new 1000F had many refined and improved features and a new lens series that now comprised six lenses. The American magazine Modern Photography field-tested the new Hasselblad 1000F and reported spectacular results. In 1957 Hasselblad followed the success of the first cameras with a new revolutionary product, the Hasselblad 500C. This camera had lenses with central leaf shutters and flash sync on all shutter speeds. Then came the Hasselblad SWA in 1954, followed by the wide-angle Hasselblad SWC (1957), and the motor-operated Hasselblad 500 EL (1965). These cameras formed the base of the Hasselblad system for many years. The basic philosophy behind the system—modularity, versatility, and reliability—has guided the Hasselblad product line from the beginning. Hasselblad has become synonymous with the utmost in camera reliability and image quality.

A NASA astronaut took the first Hasselblad into space in 1962. This journey was the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial collaboration between Hasselblad and the world’s largest space agency. In 1969, on Apollo 11, the first images of man on the moon and of earth from the moon were captured by Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr., with a Hasselblad 500EL/70.

In 1966, Victor Hasselblad sold the distribution company and retailer network “Hasselblad Fotografiska AB” to Kodak, ending their long-term partnership, but not the friendships upon which it was based. In 1976, the Swedish investment company, Säfveån AB bought Victor Hasselblad AB.

In 1984 VHAB (Victor Hasselblad AB) was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. In 1985 VHAB established the subsidiary, Hasselblad Electronic Imaging AB for the development, production, and marketing of digital imaging systems and systems for digital transmission of images.

Throughout the company’s history, Hasselblad has carefully selected its suppliers and collaborative partners, forming long-term relationships with such renowned companies as Kodak and Zeiss. In 1998 another partnership—this time with Fuji Photo Film Ltd.—led to the introduction of the Hasselblad XPan camera. This unique system was developed and produced by Hasselblad in close cooperation with Fuji. The XPan utilized standard 35 mm film to produce medium-format panorama images and standard 35 mm shots on the same roll of film.

In 2002 Hasselblad launched another camera system, a 6 × 4.5 medium-format camera that incorporated the latest in technological developments including autofocus and very advanced electronics. Its design was inspired to couple with digital technology. A few months later, the Shriro Group—a long-standing Hasselblad distributor for the Asian Pacific region—acquired the majority shareholding of Victor Hasselblad AB. In line with the new facility and the new technologically advanced camera system, Hasselblad took another large step forward when Shriro acquired Imacon, the Danish direct digital back and scanner manufacturer.


HP Invent

Hewlett-Packard opened for business in 1939. It began as a small manufacturer of test-measurement instruments and related equipment in Palo Alto, California. Like many high-tech innovators, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started HP in a garage, where they produced a precision audio oscillator, the Model 200A. Their first real innovation in the product was the use of a small night-light bulb as temperature gauge in the system. In 1939, the competitor’s product was selling at $200; the 200A was priced at $54. Walt Disney soon became a major customer and Hewlett-Packard was off and running.

HP is thought by some in the industry to have produced the world’s first personal computer, the Hewlett-Packard 9100A, in 1968. At the time, HP marketed it as a desktop calculator. HP continued through the 1970s and 1980s to be a technology innovator. Their product recognition was world-wide and included, the HP-35, a hand-held scientific electronic calculator (1972); the HP-41C, which was an alphanumeric and programmable hand-held calculator (1974); and the HP-28C, the first symbolic and graphing calculator. HP developed a reputation for building fairly priced, sturdy technology products.

HP first dabbled in photographic products with the Hewlett-Packard 196B oscilloscope camera in 1962. The Hewlett-Packard 196B had a Polaroid Land Camera back that produced finished photos in 10 seconds. In 1984 HP introduced its first laser and inkjet printers for the desktop. It also produced a line of scanners that could be turned into multi-functional pieces of equipment. HP has been a industry leader since 1990. In 1995, HP introduced its first home computer; in 1997 the HP PhotoSmart system became the first PC photography system designed for home users. It included a photo printer, a photo scanner, a digital camera, photo paper, and image-editing software. Users could scan photos, negatives, and slides into their PCs and then print them with the look and feel of real photos, suitable for albums or framing. The PhotoSmart digital camera featured a removable, reusable 4MB compact flash card that captured up to 40 pictures.

In 2002 HP bought Compaq and Indigo, entering new computing and digital-image output markets. HP has expanded its 2006 products to include desktop and notebook PCs for home and office, black-and-white HP LaserJet printers (monochrome), color HP LaserJet printers, color inkjet printers, large-format printers/plotters, photo printers, mobile printers, multifunction and all-in-one print servers, digital publishing solutions, calculators, monitors, projectors, digital projectors, fax machines, copiers, and scanners. Today, HP carries nine models of digital cameras and thirteen models of photo printers, as well popular flat-panel monitors and televisions.



Ilford began as a simple company in 1879, when Alfred H. Harman began manufacturing glass dry plates for photographers in the basement of his home, in the small village of Ilford in Essex County, England. Mr. Harman chose to locate his enterprise there because of its nearness to London’s market and because of its “clean, dust free environment.” His original factory staff included two men and three boys, who sometimes, when busy, were assisted by Mr. Harman’s wife and housekeeper. The formation of his business, The Britannia Works, was one of the essential actions that took photography from amateur hands and set it securely on the way to becoming a significant, highly skilled, professional industry.

In 1886, after selling through a distributor for six years and expanding production to the point of building a special plate-manufacturing factory, the Britannia Works Company, Mr. Harman began selling his products, now called Ilford Dry Plates, directly to his customers. Ilford Dry Plates’ popularity, gained through its performance in the marketplace, provided the foundation for the modern, international company that Ilford was to become. Alfred Harman’s insistence on quality and innovation led him to hire a quality supervisor in 1889 and in the same year to publish the first edition of the Ilford Manual of Photography , together with other useful publications that promoted Ilford products.

In 1898, the company went public and in 1900 changed its name to Ilford Limited. Although Mr. Harman then discontinued active involvement in the day-to-day operations of Ilford Ltd., he maintained a consultant’s activity and was a board member and a director until 1904, when ill health forced him to retire. By 1906 Ilford was a relatively small but successful company, employing about 300 workers. Alfred Harman died in 1913 at the age of 72.

Between 1906 and 1939, Ilford’s expansion increased through the gradual acquisition of other old, established photographic companies. This consolidation included names well recognized in the photographic business world: Selo Limited, Imperial Dry Plate Co., Rajar Ltd., and the Thomas Illingsworth Company Ltd., to name a few. These and other companies lost their separate identities in 1930–1931 when they came under the Ilford name and organization.

Starting in 1946, a whole new program of expansion and reconstruction of war-damaged factories occurred. In the 1950s, Ilford and BX Plastics formed Bexford Ltd., which then produced all of the film base used in Ilford film products. Bexford later became a part of Imperial Chemical Industries (I.C.I.). Subsequently, through an exchange of technology with I.C.I., Ilford developed and introduced a line of color film products.

With time, I.C.I. accumulated all the outstanding shares of Ilford Ltd. stock and then sold 40 percent to CIBA, the Swiss dyestuffs and pharmaceutical company. CIBA and Ilford had independently developed color printing materials based on the silver dye-bleach process.

In 1970, CIBA merged with J. R. Geigy, another Swiss chemical company. Geigy and Ilford were not strangers. Since the 1950s, Geigy, with facilities in Manchester, England, had produced the dyes for Ilford’s silver dye-bleach products and also manufactured Phenidone, the revolutionary new developing agent invented by Ilford chemists.

In 1972 Ciba-Geigy decided to operate Ilford as a part of its photographic group. Ilford Limited was declared not only a part of Ciba-Geigy’s photographic division but also part of the newly formed Ilford Group, responsible for the worldwide operation of the parent company’s interests through its own factories and selling companies. The Ilford Group would also include Ciba-Geigy Photochemie AG at Fribourg, Marly, Switzerland, and Lumière SA at Lyon, France.

Between 1972 and 1989, many significant products were introduced. Cibachrome, a high-quality, direct-positive product line using silver dye-bleach technology was marketed. Cibachrome A was introduced to the amateur hobbyist market and became popular in the United States and Europe. In addition, new black-and-white products were marketed, including HP5 film and Galerie and Multigrade fiber-base papers. New production facilities were constructed in England, France, and Switzerland to supply the world market that the Ilford Group had developed.

In 1976, after 97 years of occupancy, Ilford left the original Essex site, the last glass plates having been coated there on November 11, 1975. Other sites at Brentwood and Basildon in the south of England were closed and sold. The U.K. production of film and paper was consolidated at the former Rajar Works in Mobberley, Cheshire, near Manchester in the north of England. This period was highlighted through the introduction of the Ilfospeed and Multigrade resin-coated paper product lines; the XP-1 400 chromogenic black-and-white film; Ilfospeed 2000, 2150, and 2240 paper processors; and the Multigrade 500 Enlarger Head exposure system. Ilford also entered the high-quality color-copy market with the introduction of the Cibacopy product line, which is based on silver dye-bleach technology.

In 1989 International Paper, an American company with international markets, purchased the Ilford Group from Ciba-Geigy. Ilford was part of the Imaging Products Division of International Paper, which comprises several formerly independent manufacturers of supplies for the printing, photographic, and graphic arts markets with worldwide sales of nearly $1 billion.

As the 1990s progressed, Ilford—like all silver halide photographic companies—was faced with a constantly changing market. Ilford, like Agfa, continued to struggle financially and, in September 2004, filed for insolvency. Ilford Imaging was comprised of two companies at the time: the monochrome film group in Mobberley, Manchester, England and the digital imaging group in Marly, Switzerland. The English group filed for reorganization while its Swiss counterpart was making a profit.

In 2004 Ilford celebrated 125 years of being at the forefront of imaging technology and manufacture of photo quality media. Ilford continues to be one of the world’s leading manufacturers of inkjet media for desktop and wide-format applications and maintains a black-and-white core film and paper product line.



In about 1877, George Eastman, a young bank clerk in Rochester, New York, began to plan a vacation in the Caribbean. A friend suggested that he take along a photographic outfit and record his travels. The “outfit,” Eastman discovered, was really a cartload of equipment that included a light-tight tent, among many other items. Indeed, field photography required an individual who was part chemist, part tradesman, and part contortionist, for with wet plates there was preparation immediately before exposure and development immediately thereafter—wherever one might be.

Eastman decided there was something very inadequate about this system. Giving up his proposed trip, he began to study photography. At that juncture, a fascinating sequence of events began that led to the formation of the Eastman Kodak Company.

Before long, Eastman read about a new kind of photographic plate that had appeared in Europe and England. This was the dry plate—a plate that could be prepared and put aside for later use, thereby eliminating the necessity for tents and field-processing paraphernalia. The idea appealed to him. Working at night in his mother’s kitchen, he began to experiment with the making of dry plates. He had no scientific training, but he was methodical, precise, and ingenious. Out of his experiments came a successful series of dry plates and, more important, an idea for a machine to make them uniformly and in quantity.

Because London was the center of the photographic and business world, Eastman went there in 1879 to obtain a patent on his plate-coating machine. An American patent on it was granted the following year.

In 1880, George Eastman rented a third-floor loft in Rochester and began to manufacture dry plates commercially. The success of this venture so impressed Henry A. Strong, a hard-headed businessman who roomed with the Eastmans, that Strong invested some money in the infant concern. On January 1, 1881, Eastman, together with Strong, formed a partnership called the Eastman Dry Plate Company.

In 1884, Eastman startled the trade with the announcement of film in rolls, with a roll holder adaptable to nearly every plate camera on the market. He dreamed of making photography available to everyone. With the No. 1 Kodak camera in 1888, he laid the foundation for fulfilling his goal.

The Kodak camera was a light, portable instrument that could be easily carried and hand-held during operation. It was priced at $25 and loaded with enough film for 100 exposures. After exposure, the camera and film were returned to Rochester, where the film was developed, prints were made, and new film was inserted—all for $10.

In 1884, the Eastman—Strong partnership had given way to a new firm—the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company—with 14 shareowners. A successive concern—the Eastman Company—was formed in 1889.

The company has been called Eastman Kodak Company since 1892, when Eastman Kodak Company of New York was organized. In 1901, the present firm—Eastman Kodak Company of New Jersey—was formed under the laws of the State of New Jersey.

Eastman had four basic principles for the business: mass production at low cost, international distribution, extensive advertising, and finding and meeting the needs of customers. Today, these principles are generally understood and accepted, but in 1880 they were novel. Eastman saw them as closely related, for mass production could not be justified without wide distribution, which in turn, needed the support of strong advertising. From the beginning, he imbued the company with the conviction that fulfilling customer needs and desires is the only road to corporate success.

To Eastman’s basic principles of business, he added these policies: foster growth and development through continuing research; treat employees in a fair, self-respecting way; and reinvest profits to build and extend the business. The history of Eastman Kodak Company is, indeed, one of progress in development of these basic principles.

From the nineteenth century on, some great photographic discoveries occurred in Europe. Niépce and Daguerre in France, Talbot in England, and others laid the foundations for the techniques leading to present-day photography. By the time George Eastman launched his dry-plate business in 1880, European interest in photography was keen, but its practice was limited to professionals.

Eastman early recognized the potentialities of the world market. Only five years after the company was established in the United States, a sales office was opened in London. Within the next few years, particularly after the introduction of the Kodak camera and Eastman’s simplified methods, picture-taking became popular with hundreds of thousands of amateurs.

By 1900, distribution outlets had been established in France, Germany, Italy, and other European countries. A Japanese outlet was under consideration, and construction of a factory in Canada was underway with the organization of Canadian Kodak Co., Ltd.

The Rochester Export Territory was established in the early 1900s for the distribution of Kodak materials to South America and the Far East. Service to Asia was broadened in 1907 when a small photographic-plate manufacturer in Australia joined Kodak to form Kodak (Australasia) Pty. Limited.

Kodak Pathé of France was added in 1927 as well as factories at Vincennes, Sevran, and Chalon-sur-Saone occupied with the manufacture of Kodak photographic products. The formation in Stuttgart, Germany, of Kodak A.G. also occurred in 1927.

These are highlights of the growth that contributed to the effective distribution in domestic and world markets. Today, Kodak products are marketed worldwide.

George Eastman’s faith in the importance of advertising, both to the company and to the public, was unlimited. The very first Kodak products were advertised in leading papers and periodicals of the day—with ads written by Eastman himself. By 1889, the slogan “You Press the Button, We Do the Rest,” coined by Eastman with the introduction of the No. 1 Kodak camera, was becoming well known. Later, with advertising managers and agencies carrying out Eastman’s ideas, the Kodak banner appeared in magazines, newspapers, displays, and billboards. Space was rented at world expositions, and the “Kodak Girl,”—the style of her clothes and the camera she carried changing every year—smiled engagingly at photographers everywhere. In 1897, the word Kodak sparkled from an electric sign in London’s Trafalgar Square—one of the first such signs to be used for advertising. By 1899, Eastman was spending three-quarters of a million dollars a year for advertising.

Today, the trademark Kodak, coined by George Eastman in 1888, is advertised in more than 50 countries. George Eastman invented the name Kodak; he explained: “I devised the name myself … The letter K had been a favorite with me—it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter … It became a question of trying out a great number of combinations of letters that made words starting and ending with K. The word Kodak is the result.”

The distinctive Kodak yellow for packages of most company products is widely known throughout the world and is one of the company’s most valued assets. The wide variety of photographic products that Kodak markets stems directly from productive research. After the introduction of the first Eastman photographic dry plate in 1880, each successive year brought the presentation of new Kodak products; photography and the company’s business forged ahead.

The year 1889 saw the introduction of the first commercial roll film of transparent nitrocellulose support; this was the film that Thomas Edison used to make his first motion picture. In 1896, Kodak perfected the first positive motion-picture film, a great boon to the emerging motion-picture industry. In 1908, the company manufactured its first non-flammable film using safety cellulose-acetate base. With continued research, this improved base became the standard for a wide variety of film products. Gradually, it replaced the highly flammable cellulose-nitrate type.

In 1923, Kodak made amateur motion pictures practical with the production of 16mm reversal film on safety base. Since 1928, experiments in the field of color photography have led to the continuous introduction of many new films and processes. The introduction of Kodachrome film in 1935 revitalized the world of photography. Further improvements in the first safety-base film enabled the company to switch the production of professional movie film wholly to safety base in 1951. More recently, Kodak films and equipment have found wide acceptance in the television industry, the data-processing field, and for missile and space projects.

In 1963 the company introduced Kodak Instamatic cameras and four cartridge-loading films designed to operate interchangeably. The cartridge-film pack eliminated the amateur snapshooter’s perplexing problem—the difficulty of loading a roll of film. In 1965, the instant-load idea was applied to home movies. The company introduced Super 8 films in cartridges and a new family of Instamatic cameras. In the same year, the introduction of flashcubes further stimulated indoor picture-taking. Indoor color movies without movie lights became practical in 1971. The next year marked the introduction of the popular Kodak Pocket Instamatic cameras.

In 1975, Kodak announced the introduction of the Ektaprint copier/duplicator, a plain paper copier that combined easy operation with speed and outstanding quality.

Kodak has made its facilities for research and production available to the U.S. government during war and peacetime. Kodak designed and built a special camera-and-film system used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the Lunar Orbiter program to determine favorable sites for moon landings by American astronauts. The brilliant flight of Apollo II and the historic pictures of man’s first steps on the moon were recorded on Kodak film. A camera designed and built by Kodak specifically for the Apollo mission was used to take close-up photographs of the lunar surface—in stereo and color—for scientific study.

Other significant developments in Kodak history include:

  • 1923: Kodak made amateur motion pictures practical with the introduction of 16mm reversal film on cellulose acetate (safety) base, the first 16mm Cine-Kodak Motion Picture Camera, and the Kodascope Projector.
  • 1929: The company introduced its first motion-picture film designed especially for making the then-new sound motion pictures.
  • 1932: The first 8mm amateur motion-picture film, cameras, and projectors were introduced. That same year, George Eastman died, leaving his entire residual estate to the University of Rochester. In 1949, his Rochester home was opened as an independent public museum—the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House.
  • 1935: Kodachrome film was introduced and became the first commercially successful amateur color film, initially in 16mm for motion pictures. 35mm slides and 8mm home movies followed in 1936.
  • 1938: The first camera with built-in photoelectric exposure control was developed—the Super Kodak Six-20 Camera.
  • 1942: Kodacolor Film for prints, the world’s first true color negative film, was announced. Kodak’s Rochester plants were awarded the Army-Navy “E” for high achievement in the production of equipment and films for the war effort.
  • 1946: Kodak marketed Kodak Ektachrome Transparency Sheet film, the company’s first color film that could be processed by the photographer with newly marketed chemical kits.
  • 1948: Kodak announced a 35mm triacetate safety base film for the motion-picture industry to replace the flammable cellulose nitrate base—and the industry rewarded the company with an Oscar for it two years later.
  • 1952: Kodak received an Oscar for the development of Eastman Color Negative and Color Print films, introduced in 1950.
  • 1958: The Kodak Cavalcade Projector, the company’s first fully automatic color slide projector, was introduced. The Kodak X-Omat Processor reduced the processing time for x-ray films from one hour to six minutes. The company’s first single-lens reflex camera, the Kodak Retina Reflex Camera, was manufactured by Kodak A.G. in Stuttgart, Germany. Kodak Polyester Textile Fiber, developed by Tennessee Eastman, was made available for use in clothing.
  • 1960: Estar Base (a polyester film base) was introduced to give improved dimensional stability to Kodalith Graphic Arts Films. The Recordak Reliant 500 Microfilmer was introduced, capable of photographing up to 500 checks or 185 letters in one minute.
  • 1961: The company introduced the first in its very successful line of Kodak Carousel Projectors, which featured a round tray holding 80 slides.
  • 1962: The company’s U.S. consolidated sales exceeded $1 billion for the first time and worldwide employment passed the 75,000 mark. John Glenn became the first American astronaut to orbit the earth, and Kodak film recorded his reactions to traveling through space at 17,400 miles per hour.
  • 1963: The line of Kodak Instamatic Cameras was introduced, featuring easy-to-use cartridge-loading film, which eventually brought amateur photography to new heights of popularity—more than 50 million Instamatic Cameras were produced by 1970.
  • 1973: The company unveiled sound home movies with the introduction of two Super 8 sound movie cameras and cartridge-loading Super 8 film, magnetically striped for sound recording. Sales surpassed $4 billion.
  • 1981: Company sales surpassed the $10 billion mark.
  • 1982: Kodak launched “disc photography” with a line of compact, “decision-free” cameras built around a rotating disc of film. Kodacolor VR 1000 Film was introduced, utilizing a new T-Grain Emulsion technology that represented a major breakthrough in silver-halide emulsions.
  • 1990: The Kodak Photo CD system was announced as a consumer bridge between three very familiar—but formerly incompatible—systems: camera, computer, and television. Film images are transferred to a photo CD, allowing photographs to be viewed and manipulated on TV screens and computer monitors.

Like all silver halide manufacturers in the late 1990s, Kodak has had a very big transition to digital from film, In 1986, more than 56,000 people worked for Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester New York, home of Kodak’s world headquarters. By January 2006, that number had fallen to 14,700 as the company continued its transition to digital. The transition to digital began slowly for Kodak in the 1990s, but by 2005 it had captured the largest portion of digital camera amateur U.S. market, a distinction that had been held by Sony for a number of years.

Kodak continues to be a world leader and innovator in the field of photography. Its name immediately creates an image of quality for the consumer, which is a consequence of the company’s excellence for more than 100 years. Kodak has had recent product successes in their patented EasyShare dock system for their consumer imaging cameras, digital radiography products and equipment, Encad and NexPress inkjet products, EasyShare Gallery (an online photo-finishing business), as well as a variety of document-imaging initiatives. In June 2005, Kodak announced it was ceasing production of all black-and-white printing papers, while concurrently introducing no fewer than 35 new digital products for health- and consumer-imaging products.


Eastman Kodak Company: A Brief History , October, 1983, Eastman Kodak Company

Journey Into Imagination: The Kodak Story , © 1988, Eastman Kodak Company

Konica Minolta

Since the introduction of its first roll of black-and-white film in 1929, Konica produced and marketed products and services that were on the cutting edge of the silver-halide technologies of its time. A full line of products has been available from input through output including digital onsite mini-labs, inkjet photo papers, single-use cameras, color film, color paper, and film scanners up through 2006. In 2003, Konica acquired Minolta, a worldwide manufacturer of cameras, lenses, accessories, and photo copiers. Minolta started its business in 1928 and became known in the 1930s for making the Minolta Vest camera. In 2006, Konica Minolta announced that it would no longer make digital or film cameras.

Konica Minolta’s Instrument Systems Division (ISD) still produces equipment that measures, matches, reproduces, and communicates color and light. It’s about capturing texture, shape, and color of three-dimensional images. More than 70 percent of all the industrial light meters purchased in the world are Konica Minolta meters. Most major TV and computer manufacturers use Konica Minolta’s Color Analyzers to adjust white balance. Konica Minolta Colorimeters can be found throughout the food chain, controlling the color from raw ingredients through food processing and production.

Konica Minolta built the world’s first portable spectrophotometer and the first portable, three-dimensional, non-contact color digitizer. They also developed the first fingertip pulse oximeter and the first light meter to be used aboard a space craft (Apollo 8).



Kyocera Corporation has its headquarters and parent company of the global Kyocera group in Kyoto, Japan. It is credited by several sources as having sold the first cell phone camera. Kyocera was founded in 1959 in Tokyo as a start-up venture by Dr. Kazuo Inamori and seven colleagues. They wanted to create a company dedicated to the successful manufacture and sale of innovative, high-quality products based on advanced materials and components. Kyocera has been very successful in achieving that goal and has Kyocera operations worldwide, including a large North American operating company. Kyocera has a diverse product base include ceramics, vacuum components, LCD panels, high-end business laser printers (and other office printers) as well as six digital cameras. Kyocera acquired the well-known Yashica Camera Company Ltd. in 1983, along with Yashica’s prior licensing agreement with Carl Zeiss, and manufactured a line of high-quality film and digital cameras under the names Yashica and Contax, until Kyocera abandoned all film and digital camera production in 2005.

Kyocera today carries 33 different models of cell phones; 11 of these models have at least a 3-megapixel camera built in. Many sources suggested that Sharp’s J-SH04 was the first camera phone. Sharp also claimed that on its Web site, naming the J-SH04 (released in 2000) as the industry’s first mobile phone to feature an integrated 110,000-pixel CMOS image sensor for taking digital photos. But an article published in the July 18, 2005 issue of Tech Watch authored by J. Peddie, claimed that the first camera phone was the Kyocera Visual Phone VP-210, which was released in May of 1999 in Japan. Peddie recruited more than 2000 people to perform research for the article. Although the VP-210 was marketed as the first video-capable cell phone, it was also the first functional camera phone for digital still photos. The device weighed six ounces and had an integrated two-inch TFT display built in, capable of displaying 65K colors. It could also transmit two frames of video per second and was equipped to store 20 still images. In 1999, the VP-210 sold for 40,000 Yen or approximately US $335.


Lucky Film

China Lucky Film Corporation was incorporated in 1958 and is now the largest national photosensitive materials and magnetic recording media manufacturer in China. China Lucky Film Corporation has its headquarters in Baoding, Hebei Province, which is 150 kilometers from Beijing. Lucky’s businesses include: the No. 2 Film Factory, based in Nanyang; Lucky Research Institute of Photosensitive Chemistry, based in Shenyang; and Lucky Shanghai Paper Mill. China Lucky is committed to providing high-quality imaging and information products to its customers. These products include: photosensitive products, magnetic recording media, technical specialty films, and digital receiving products. Many technical innovations and advances have led to great improvement in quality of the products. Lucky color film and color paper have been awarded the top national prizes. In 1999, China Lucky attained certification of ISO9001.



In his article “Leica: An Enviable History” ( Photo-Source , July/August 1989), Michael Disney says, “Leica has occasionally claimed in its advertising that the Leica was the first 35-mm still camera, much to the indignation of photographic historians and collectors. Although this claim is not literally true … it is in a sense justified. As a design the first Leica owed almost nothing to the predecessors. In contrast, almost every subsequent 35-mm camera has owed something to the Leica.” His tribute to Leica concluded, “One can say without exaggeration that the history of the 35-mm camera as it has developed in this century would be inconceivable without the Leica, and whatever course it might otherwise have taken would probably have been very different.”

Dr. Ernst Leitz II, who was responsible for the introduction of the Leica, was the son of the founder of Leitz/Wetzlar. Since its founding in 1849 the company’s only concern has been the design and manufacture of precision optical equipment. This focus on optical precision is the base on which the Leica reputation has been built. Today Leitz manufactures instruments for scientific research, industry, and amateur and professional photography.

A brief chronological history of Leica’s significant contributions to photographic technology includes the following:

In 1913, Barnack designed the first operational prototype of the Leica for 35 mm cine film. It had an all-metal housing, a collapsible lens, and a focal-plane shutter. A screwed-on lenscap, which was closed during shutter rewind, prevented fogging of the film. This camera is known as the original Leica.

The A-series model, introduced in 1923, was the first commercial Leica to be manufactured. Before its introduction, 31 prototypes were made by hand to test public reaction. The lens was a five-element, 50 mm anastigmat f/3.5 designed by Professor Max Berek. Its focal-plane shutter was self-capping with automatic compensation for acceleration. Film advance coupled with shutter retensioning and a frame counter prevented double exposures for the first time in photographic history. Although the handmade samples were greeted with considerable skepticism both inside and outside the organization, Dr. Ernst Leitz made the fateful decision to “build Barnack’s camera.” The Model A with a 50mm Elmax (later Elmar) f/3.5 went into production in 1925, and before the year was out, 1,000 cameras were produced.

The year 1930 saw the introduction of the Model C, the first Leica with interchangeable lenses. Three screw-mounted Elmar lenses were available: 35mm wide-angle, 50mm f/3.5 normal focal length, and 135mm f/4.5 long focal length. For focusing accuracy, a vertical longbase accessory rangefinder was part of the package.

Known as the Autofocal Leica, the Model II was introduced in 1932 and simultaneously established two significant firsts: It was the first camera with a built-in coupled rangefinder and the first camera with rangefinder coupling for a whole family of interchangeable lenses.

The new Leica III appeared in 1933 with speeds from 1 to 1/500 second. Slow speeds between 1 and 1/20 second were arranged on a front-mounted selector dial. Also in 1933, Leica introduced the first telephoto lens, the 200-mm Telyt f/4.5, for which the world’s first accessory reflex housing was provided.

In 1934, a Reporter Leica was produced with spool-chambers holding approximately 33 feet of film. The new model took 250 exposures without reloading. Fewer than 1,000 Reporters were made in a number of small series between 1934 and 1942.

With the introduction of the Model IIIa in 1935, Leica’s top speed jumped from 1/500 to 1/1000 second. For fast shooting with the IIIa, Leica also introduced a new baseplate trigger-advance unit. The new ultra-wide-angle 28mm Hektor f/6.3 expanded the optical lineup to 12 lenses in nine focal lengths from 28mm through 400mm, giving angular fields of 6 to 76 degrees.

In the United States in 1935, Eastman Kodak introduced 35mm Kodachrome film. Leica saluted the two co-inventors, Leopold D. Mannes and Leo Godowsky, Jr., by presenting them with Leica Nos. 150,000 and 175,000 respectively.

The first postwar camera design was the Model IIIf, introduced in 1950. Up until the introduction of the IIIf, Leica flash synchronization was by means of external devices, which either replaced the camera baseplate or made connection with its spinning shutter-speed selector dial. The new Model IIIf, however, provided full internal synchronization for all types of expendable flashbulbs as well as for the new electronic flash units that were beginning to gain popularity. Also introduced in 1950 was the 85mm Summarex f/1.5, the fastest lens of its focal length to date.

In addition to being the world’s first 35mm camera to feature a built-in universal rangeviewfinder for four different lenses, the M3, introduced in 1954, scored another significant advance: Its illuminated lens viewfinder frames were automatically compensated for parallax over the full focusing range of each lens. Other advances included an automatically resetting frame-counter, an exclusive rapid-advance lever, and a quick-change bayonet lensmount of unusual precision and rigidity.

Between 1957 and 1967, Leica introduced many new lenses. Notable among these: 21mm Super-Angulon f/4 ultra-wide-angle lens with a coverage of 92 degrees; f/2 Summicron lenses of 35 and 90mm; and the ultra-fast Noctilux f/1.2, the world’s first lens for 35mm cameras using series-produced aspheric lens elements.

With the introduction of selective through-the-lens light measurement in 1968, the Leicaflex SL is the camera that brought Leica precision and the famous Leica feel to single-lens-reflex photography. A precision microprism central focusing field facilitates snap-in focusing for even short focal length lenses. The meter reads a central, circular area, equal to one-sixth the acceptance angle of whatever lens is attached to the camera. The area measured is sufficiently large to integrate typical scene brightness. However, it is selective enough to permit quick, accurate spot readings for difficult, high-contrast scenes. The meter needle, direction of diaphragm adjustment, and shutter speed are displayed in the viewfinder for easy reading without removing the eye from the camera. Inside the SL, the focal-plane shutter traverses the film aperture in approximately nine milliseconds, permitting flash synchronization up to 1/100 second and precise shutter speeds to 1/2000 second.

Introduced in 1971, the M5 combined Leica’s half-century of development into a rangefinder with an accurate through-the-lens metering system.

Leica has continued to develop cameras into the twenty-first century:

  • 1996

    • LEICA R8: completely newly developed SLR camera
    • LEICA M6 TTL with TTL flash exposure meter; Tri-Elmar-M 28-35-50 mm f/4: first Leica M lens with three focal lengths
  • 1999

    • LEICA C1: Start of a new product design line in the compact camera segment
  • 2000

    • LEICA 0-series: new edition of the small run of the LEICA 0-series produced in 1923/24
    • LEICA Digilux 4.3: Compact digital camera with triple zoom lens
  • 2002

    • LEICA M7: Rangefinder system camera
    • LEICA R9: SLR camera
    • LEICA DIGILUX 1: Digital reportage camera with triple zoom lens and a large 2.5? monitor
  • 2003

    • LEICA MP: Purely mechanical rangefinder system camera
    • LEICA D-LUX: The new, elegant LEICA D-LUX digital camera
  • 2004

    • LEICA DIGILUX 2: The “analog” digital camera
  • 2005

    • Digital Modul R: Taking digital photos with LEICA R8 and R9
    • LEICA D-LUX 2: The compact digital for mega pictures



In 1945, Nippon Kogaku K.K. considered the production of a small film camera. Until this time, Nippon Kogaku had only manufactured aerial cameras, as well as 2 m/3 m/5 m telescope cameras. The first cameras produced by Nippon Kogaku were popular with the Allied occupation troops, including American soldiers, leading to an increased demand. The company hastily began the production of more cameras. In April, 1946, the company decided to build a twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera (lens 80 mm f/3.5, using 120 format film, 6 cm × 6 cm format 12 frames) and an universal type small-size camera (using 35mm (135 format) film, 24mm × 32 mm format 40 frames.

The designs for the small-sized camera were to promote the advantages of the Leica" and “Contax” models. These models were considered the best models available at the time. The features were designed to be a 35 mm focal-plane shutter camera with a negative size of 24mm × 32 mm format. The 3:4 proportion seemed to have better proportions than the “Leica” format (2:3), and it could also take 40 frames. From the beginning, the small-sized camera used the first name of “Nikorette,” based on an abbreviation of Nippon Kogaku (“Nikko”) and adding “ette” to indicate “small-size.” The name was never fully embraced and Nikon soon became the formal company name.

The first prototype, the Nikon I Camera, was completed in November, 1947.

The following information is from the corporate history section of the Nikon Web site:

  • 1917

    • Three of Japan’s leading optical manufacturers merge to form a comprehensive, fully integrated optical company known as Nippon Kogaku K.K.
    • The company manufactured optical glass for glasses and other lenses.
  • 1932

    • Nikkor adopted as brand name for camera lenses.
  • 1945

    • With the end of World War II, production shifted to cameras, microscopes, binoculars, surveying instruments, measuring instruments and ophthalmic lenses.
  • 1946

    • Pointal ophthalmic lenses marketed.
    • Nikon brand name adopted for small-sized cameras.
    • Tilting Level E and Transit G surveying instruments marketed.
  • 1947

    • Nikon I small-sized camera marketed.
    • Model I profile projector marketed.
  • 1950

    • The New York Times introduced superior features of Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses.
  • 1952

    • Nikkor Club established to promote photography culture.
  • 1954

    • Model SM stereoscopic microscope marketed.
  • 1957

    • Nikon SP small-sized camera marketed.
  • 1959

    • Nikon F, Nikon’s first SLR camera, marketed.
  • 1963

    • NIKONOS all-weather camera marketed.
  • 1966

    • Photoslit lamp microscope marketed.
  • 1968

    • Rotary encoder RIE digital measuring instrument marketed.
    • Photo gallery Ginza Nikon Salon opened.
  • 1970

    • Photo gallery Nikon House opened in New York City.
  • 1971

    • Nikon F2 SLR camera marketed.
  • 1974

    • 105cm Schmidt-type telescope installed at Tokyo Astronomical Observatory.
  • 1980

    • Nikon F3 SLR camera marketed.
    • Nikon 10cm refractive equatorial telescope for astronomical observation marketed.
    • Nikon SLR cameras delivered to NASA for use on the space shuttle.
    • Development of dental root implant utilizing bioactive glass announced.
    • NSR-1010G Step-and-Repeat System (stepper) for VLSIs marketed.
  • 1984

    • Successful development of magneto-optical disk-drive systems announced.
    • NT-1000 35mm film direct telephoto transmitter marketed.
  • 1986

    • TRISTATION three-dimensional coordinate measuring machine marketed.
    • Nikon F-501*1 autofocus SLR camera marketed.
    • Corporate name changed to Nikon Corporation.
    • Nikon F4 SLR camera marketed.
  • 1992

    • NIKONOS RS, world’s first underwater autofocus SLR camera, marketed.
  • 1995

    • E2/E2S digital still cameras marketed (jointly developed with Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.).
  • 1996

    • Nikon F5 top-of-the-line SLR camera marketed.
    • Nikon PRONEA 600i*2 Advanced Photo System SLR camera marketed.
  • 1997

    • COOLPIX 100 digital camera marketed.
  • 1999

    • Nikon D1 professional digital SLR camera marketed.
  • 2004

    • Nikon D-70 marketed.



Olympus, a company recognized worldwide, has produced an extensive line of excellent cameras and optical products for many years. Olympus opened its doors in 1919 under the name Takachiho Seisakusho with the goal of becoming a leader and innovator in the mass production of optical microscopes.

By 1921, the company had adopted Olympus as the brand name. In 1935, Olympus opened an optical research facility dedicated to making high-quality camera lenses. Olympus has evolved as rapidly as the technology has evolved and has developed products such as acoustic microscopes, ultrasonic endoscopes, reagent AIDS detection, digital voice recorders, and the Infinity Stylus—one of the best-selling 35mm cameras in history. Today, 82 years later, Olympus is actively developing new technologies and products including its successful E-1 line of digital cameras. Its self-cleaning chip technology has received much praise for innovation. http://www.olympusamerica.com


The Polaroid Corporation celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1987. The following abbreviated chronology of its history was supplied to the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography , 3rd Edition, in 1993:

1926— Edwin H. Land leaves Harvard after his freshman year to pursue his own work on light polarization. 1928— Land creates the first synthetic sheet polarizer. 1929— Land files the patent for the first synthetic polarizer on April 26. 1932— Edwin Land joins Harvard physics section leader George Wheelwright, II, establishes the Land-Wheelwright Laboratories to continue research and to manufacture polarizers. 1933— Land-Wheelwright Laboratories is incorporated to manufacture polarizers and to continue research into applications of polarizers in sunglasses, photographic and microscopic filters, and automobile headlights. Land is issued the patent covering synthetic sheet polarizers formed of parallel-oriented submicroscopic crystals embedded in plastic film. The product is known as J-sheet. 1934— Eastman Kodak signs a contract with Sheet Polarizer Co., Inc., to purchase light polarizers for the manufacture of photographic filters. 1935— Land displays his invention to a representative of the American Optical Company. The American Optical Company signs a license agreement to use the polarizers for the manufacture of sunglasses. At the end of 1935, the first polarizer advertisement appears in a scientific journal, and Land receives the Hood Medal from the Royal Photographic Society. Land and Wheelwright develop the Polariscope, which is used to detect strains in transparent materials like glass and certain plastics. 1937— On September 13, the Polaroid Corporation is organized under the laws of the state of Delaware. 1938— Polaroid produces drafting table lamps, desk lamps, dermatology lamps, and polariscopes. Utilizing polarizing sheets, the company introduces variable-density windows. The first installation is made on the club car of a Union Pacific streamliner. 1939— Curved lenses for prescription polarized sunglasses are developed using the glass/polarizer/glass laminates, making it possible to manufacture ground-and-polished prescription spectacles. Polaroid’s stereoscopic motion picture, In Tune with Tomorrow , is shown at the New York World’s Fair as part of the Chrysler exhibit. The first year’s film is in black and white; the second year’s is in color. 1940— Polaroid announces Vectograph 3-D pictures. The Vectograph represents the fusion of the company’s original technology, the polarizer, with photography. Among other applications, Vectographs will be used for aerial reconnaissance surveys during the Second World War. Other products include optical goods, lighting equipment, three-dimensional picture viewers, polarized sheeting, variable-density day glasses, study lamps, three-dimensional motion pictures, and polarizers. 1941— The ability to produce stereoscopic motion pictures is adapted for three-dimensional sound movies and optical bullets. 1942— Most of Polaroid’s products are for the war effort. With the invasion of Guadacanal, aerial vectographs are used extensively for military reconnaissance. 1944— Land conceives of the one-step photographic system. Only after three years of intensive work will Land and a group of Polaroid scientists and engineers produce the complete photographic system. 1945— A polarized, daylight driving visor is developed as a result of research into a polarizing system to eliminate glare from oncoming headlights. 1946— Research continues on one-step photography: a new method of color motion picture processing (called Polacolor) and Vectography. 1947— Land announces the one-step process for producing finished photographs within one minute. 1948— The first Land camera, the Model 95, is sold in Boston at Jordan Marsh department store on November 26 for $89.50. 1949— Photographic sales of the Polaroid Land camera Model 95 for the first year exceed $5 million. Land hires Ansel Adams as a consultant. 1950— By 1950 more than 4000 dealers throughout the United States sell Polaroid cameras, film, and accessories. A contract from the Signal Corps results in the Tell-tale, a film badge that records radiation over a period of time. The resulting radiation record is developed in 60 seconds. 1951— A print coater is added to black-and-white film. The print coater is a simple treatment for long-term image stability. The chemical components of the coater liquid neutralize any alkalinity and remove any residual processing reagent left on the sheet. The coater solution then dries to a hard coating that protects the print from atmospheric contaminants. Type 1001 Land film for radiography is introduced and becomes the first in a continuing series of Polaroid instant x-ray products. Type 1001 produces a 10 × 12-inch x-ray print in 60 seconds. The Land Roll Film Back adapts professional cameras and various types of industrial and scientific instruments for use with Polaroid roll films. 1952— Polaroid introduces the Model 110 land camera, called the Pathfinder. This camera is designed for professional use and is equipped with an f/l4.5 lens and provides shutter speeds to 1/400 of a second. 1953— Polaroid begins to develop x-ray film for the civilian market. 1954— The Model 100 debuts. It features special long-life roller bearings and a heavy-duty shutter. The camera is for use in business and industrial applications. 1955— PolaPan 200 Land picture rolls are introduced to the public. 1956— The one-millionth camera, a Model 95A, comes off the assembly line in September. 1957— Polaroid markets several new cameras, and the Polaroid Transparency System is introduced. 1958— One-step photography is extended to conventional studio and press cameras. The 50 Series of Land films (Types 52 and 53) and the 4 × 5 film holder become almost indispensable proofing tools for the professional photographer. 1959— Polaroid markets the Wink Light Model 250 and Model 252. Type 47 Land film, rated at 3000 ASA, becomes the fastest film available. 1960— Polaroid introduces its first automatic exposure camera: Model 900 with Electronic Eye. 1961— Polaroid releases two electric-eye cameras, the Model J66 and Model J33 in the $75 to $100 range. Type 55 P/N Land film is introduced. Polaroid continues to commission artists as consultants during the early 1960s. 1962— The Polaroid MP-3 Land camera is introduced. 1963— Polaroid debuts Polacolor. Products released this year include the CU-5 Closeup camera, type 510 Land film, featuring high-contrast reproduction for industrial applications and Type 413 Infrared L and film for use in laser research, military surveillance, and document analysis. The 5 millionth Polaroid Land camera, an Automatic 100, comes off the assembly line in Little Rock, Arkansas. 1965— The inexpensive Polaroid Swinger is introduced. 1966— CU-5 closeup framing kits are introduced to the industry. The ID-2 Land Identification System premieres. The ID-2 is the first in a series of self-contained identification systems using Polaroid instant photography. Among its applications, the system will be used for driver’s license photos. 1967— Five Electric-eye 200 Series cameras are introduced worldwide. Type 51 film is marketed for high-contrast reproduction of line art work. Speed of Type 1461 Land film is increased to 320 under daylight/electronic flash illumination, 125 under tungsten. Polaroid releases an Instant Halftone System for the MP-3 camera. 1968— Polaroid introduces a number of additional new products: the M-10 camera, for low-level aerial reconnaissance pictures; the Special Events Land camera Model 228, for producing pictures on a high-volume, continuous basis; and a new Polaroid 4 × 5 film holder (Model 545). 1969— The Polaroid Model ED-10 Land Instrument camera is introduced for educational institutions and research labs. A special adapter enables it to fit over the eyepiece of a microscope to provide a simple method of making photomicrographs. The Polaroid 300 Series pack cameras are introduced. The top-of-the-line Model 360 Land camera represents the first incorporation of integrated circuits into a consumer product and includes an electronic flash. 1970— Coaterless black-and-white film Type 20C for the Swinger camera goes on sale. 1971— The ID-3 Land Identification System is introduced. 1972— The revolutionary SX-70 system realizes Dr. Land’s concept of absolute one-step photography: new concepts in camera and film interaction lead to the design of the first fully automatic, motorized folding single lens reflex camera that ejects self-developing, self-timing color prints. 1973— The Clarence Kennedy Gallery is established. The gallery serves as a showcase for the work of emerging and professional photographers using Polaroid products. The MP-4 technical camera replaces the older MP-3. 1974— Polaroid estimates that well over a billion instant prints will be made this year, about 65 percent of them being made in color. 1975— Polaroid begins marketing Polacolor 2 film (Type 108). It is the first peel-apart color film that uses a color negative manufactured by Polaroid (Polaroid has made color negatives for integral X-70 film since its introduction in 1972). 1976— The inexpensive Pronto! camera is introduced. The Pronto! uses SX-70 film and features a distance scale on the lens ring and an automatic electronic exposure setting. 1977— The OneStep Land camera is introduced. Polaroid introduces the 20 × 24-inch camera; the prototype camera weighs 800 pounds. The camera produces color 20 × 24-inch photographs in 60 seconds. By the 1980s improvements to the camera reduce its weight to 200 pounds and add swings, tilts, and rising fronts. 1978— Research into sonar technology, initiated in 1963, results in the Sonar Autofocus system for the SX-70 and Pronto! cameras. Polavision, a new instant color motion picture system, makes 2-1/2-minute films in self-developing cassettes. The system includes a camera, a self-developing film called Phototape, and a player. 1979— Polaroid Type 611 video image recording film is introduced for use with medical diagnostic systems. Dr. Land demonstrates Time-Zero film. It is a brilliantly colored film for the SX-70 that produces an image visible in seconds and a developed print in 1-1/2 minutes. 1980— The Polapulse P100 battery, first developed for SX-70 film, is introduced for commercial applications. New products include Polaroid Colorgraph film Type 891, the Polaprinter, and a new 4 × 5 professional pack film system. 1981— The Polaroid Sun System brings the domain of automatic light mixing to amateur picture taking. Polaroid Colorgraph 8 × 10 Land film (Type 891) becomes the first instant color transparency film for overhead projection. Polaroid also releases a new 4 × 5 eight-exposure pack film system, which includes the Model 550 4 × 5 film holder, PolaPan Type 552 black-and-white film, and Polacolor 2 Type 558 color film. 1982— Ultrasonic Ranging Systems are introduced. They are used in areas from instrumentation testing and hospital use to robotics. The company also introduces the SLR 680, a folding single-lens reflex camera using 600 ASA instant color film. The camera has a built-in strobe that uses sonar to precisely determine the distance to the subject. 1983— The introduction of the 35mm Autoprocess System makes Polaroid’s instant photography products compatible with standard 35mm cameras and equipment. Autoprocess produces rapid-access color or black-and-white transparencies without the use of a darkroom. Polaroid enters the computer and video industries. Supercolor video cassettes are premiered abroad with plans for national distribution in 1984. Polaroid introduces Palette, a low-cost computer image recorder that is supplied with Polaroid graphics software. 1984— Technical improvements in existing cameras lead to the Sun 660 Autofocus and Sun 600 LMS. Both include integrated circuitry called SPARR (Strobe Preferred Automatic Rapid Recharge), which allows one to take pictures in rapid succession without recharging the strobe. 1985— Recent developments result in the perfection of a continuous embossing process that makes low-cost, mass-produced holograms for commercial applications. The company announces the Polaform Process, a new custom service for the creation and mass production of embossed surface relief holograms, which can be viewed in ordinary light. The first conventional color transparency films, Polaroid Professional Chrome films, are distributed on a limited basis for commercial and industrial photographers. 1986— The Spectra camera debuts at Jordan Marsh department store in Boston, thirty-eight years after the Polaroid Land camera Model 95 was introduced. 1987— PolaBlue 35-mm instant slide film produces white-on-blue images from text, line art, graphs, and charts. A four-minute processing time in a Polaroid processor yields a high-quality presentation slide. 1989— The Polaroid 600 series camera is restyled and called Impulse. A conventional, non-instant photographic film called OneFilm is introduced. 1990— Polaroid expands its range of computer peripherals with photographic scanners and computer color image recorders for PCs and Macintosh environments including the Polaroid Palatte. 1991— A new, high-definition Spectra film becomes available. 1992— Introduction in Europe of a new format film and compact instant camera called Vision. 1993— The Vision camera becomes available in North America. Introduction of a professional rugged camera called ProCam for use in high-volume photographic documentation of events occurring in difficult work areas such as construction sites and the MicroCam for microscopy are released. Polocolor Pro 100, a peel-apart high-definition color film, based on hybrid chemistry becomes available. 1994— Sprint Scan 35 and ID4000 products are released. 1995— Polaview 105 video projection is released. 1996— PDC 2000, Polaroid’s first digital camera is released. 1998— Polaroid releases the Color Shot desktop digital color printer. 1999— i-Zone camera is released; 400,000 digital cameras were sold as well as 9.7 million instant cameras. 2001— P-500 Digital Printer is released. 2001— Polaroid files for Chapter 11 petition. 2005— Polaroid becomes part of the Petters Group Worldwide.


ACCESS Fifty Years by Richard Saul Wurman, © 1989 Access Press, Ltd.


Sony Corporation, or Soni Kabushiki, is a Japanese company known worldwide for its electronic products and media businesses. Sony has its world headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, and was founded in 1945 in a radio-repair garage by Masaru Ibuka. Ibuka visited and collaborated with Bell Labs in the 1950s to learn more about transistors, and while many companies at the time were making transistor products, Ibuka targeted the communications industry rather than science and military applications. Transistor radios became popular in America in the 1960s with the evolution of rock and roll, and Sony radios were popular with that market.

Sony has been associated with high-quality electronic products since the 1960s. In March 2005 Sony reported to shareholders that it employed 151, 400 people and had $67 billion in sales. Throughout its history, Sony has continued to innovate with its product line, creating the Sony Trinitron television in 1968. They also invented the Betamax video technology used from 1975 to 1988 a direct competitor to VHS technology, which ultimately became the market’s first choice for home video cameras and players.

Sony was very well-known in the video-technology industry and produced its first electronic still camera, the Sony Mavica, in 1981. The Mavica was an analog still video camera. Mavica cameras became known for recording images onto 3.5-inch floppy disks. This feature made them very popular among early adopters of digital photography since all computers at the time had disk drives compatible with this removable media. Sony manufactured many models of this successful camera line, which held the largest American market share through 2003. Starting with the floppy disk drive camera models, Sony produced the MVC-FD75, 73, 71, 78, 92, 83, 81, 85, 90, and 88 models. Sony also manufactured a CD camera—the MVC-CD200, 250, 300, 400, 500, and 1000 models. Sony has pioneered many digital photography innovations such as its Memory Stick technology. In June 2006, Sony produced its first DSLR camera, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A100, a 10-megapixel digital SLR. This was the first camera to come out of the Sony and Konica Minolta marriage, with many similarities to the Konica Minolta 5D.



Svema is a Ukrainian company and a registered trademark of the Shostka chemical plant, located in Shostka, Sumy Oblast, Ukraine. Svema was a major film manufacturer in the former Soviet Union, but like many Soviet companies lost most of its film business to imported products during the late 1990s. Today Svema still makes black-and-white films and enlarging papers. Currently Svema is still manufacturing on a smaller scale.


3M was founded in 1902 in Two Harbors, Minnesota. Five speculator/businessmen set out to mine a mineral deposit for grinding-wheel abrasives. But the deposits proved to be of little value, and the new Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. quickly moved to nearby Duluth to focus on sandpaper products. In the early 1920s, 3M developed the world’s first waterproof sandpaper, which reduced airborne dusts during automobile manufacturing.

A second major milestone occurred in 1925, when Richard G. Drew, a young lab assistant, invented masking tape—an innovative step toward diversification and the first of many Scotch brand® pressure-sensitive tapes. In the ensuing years, technical progress resulted in Scotch® Cellophane Tape for box sealing and, soon, hundreds of other practical uses.

In the early 1940s, 3M was diverted into defense materials for World War II, which was followed by new ventures, such as Scotchlite™ Reflective Sheeting for highway markings, magnetic sound-recording tape, filament adhesive tape, and the start of 3M’s involvement in the graphic arts field with off set printing plates. In the 1950s, 3M introduced the Thermo-Fax™ copying process, Scotchgard™ Fabric Protector, videotape, Scotch-Brite™ Cleaning Pads, and several new electromechanical products.

Dry-silver microfilm was introduced in the 1960s, along with photographic products, carbonless papers, overhead projection systems, and a rapidly growing healthcare business of medical and dental products. Markets further expanded in the 1970s and 1980s into pharmaceuticals, radiology, and energy control. In 1980, 3M introduced Post-it® Notes, which created a whole new category in the marketplace and changed people’s communication and organization behavior forever. In the 1990s, sales reached the $15 billion mark. 3M continued to develop an array of innovative products, including immuneresponse modifier pharmaceuticals; brightness-enhancement films for electronic displays; and flexible circuits used in inkjet printers, cell phones, and other electronic devices. In 2004, sales topped $20 billion for the first time, with innovative new products contributing significantly to growth. Recent innovations include Post-it® Super Sticky Notes, Scotch® Transparent Duct Tape, and optical films for LCD televisions.



Optical Instruments, founded by Carl Zeiss, opened for business as a German lens manufacturer in 1846. More than 150 years later, Zeiss is still considered a world leader in optics and lens manufacturing. Since 1905, six Nobel prizes have been earned by optical scientists employed by Zeiss. Products include a variety of camera lenses and precision instruments, including microscopes and other instruments that create magnified images. As imaging technology has evolved, Zeiss’s product lines—like those of all manufacturers—reflected its markets. In 1941 M. Herzberger showed that complete color correction of a lens was possible, and in 1972 the Zeiss
250-mm f/5.6 Superachromat lens was introduced, using four types of glass and fluorite in its design. Spectral correction is for 400-1000 nm without any focus correction required, so the lens is ideal for infrared photography. The Zeiss Luminar lenses are no longer considered by many experts to have produced the highest optical resolution of any lens ever made for magnification imaging applications, which was only limited by diffraction effects. Zeiss’s current camera lens lines support ALPA Superior Swiss precision in medium format; ARRI and its cine productions; Contax, a joint Carl Zeiss and Kyocera company that was closed in 2005; Hasselblad, a very mature medium-format system; Rollei, a high-quality, automated, medium-format system; and Sony cameras.


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