To the right you find links to several dozen columns that chronicle the appearance and advance of digital cameras since 1998. They were all published as my "Viewfinder" column in each issue of Digital Camera Magazine which I co-founded in late 1997.
Today, digital cameras aren't viewed as anything special. Cameras simply are digital. Sure, there's still this older technology around -- film -- but that's on its way out. At least that is the way the younger generation sees it. Film is what their parents used. My now ten-year-old son has never had a film camera. He doesn't know what "film" means, and what we used to have to go through until we held those shiny prints in our hands.
It's easy to forget that digital camera technology has been around for just a few years. Sure, there were pioneering digital cameras well over a decade ago, and some extremely expensive professional models even earlier. The first consumer digital cameras were viewed as little more than yet another funky computer peripheral. Apple introduced the QuickTake 100 in early 1994. It looked like a big set of binoculars and took 640 x 480 pixel pictures.
At that time I used to go to every electronics and computer show in my capacity as editor-in-chief of Pen Computing Magazine. That's where I saw the first digital camera that really impressed me. It was an early Olympus. We couldn't convince Olympus to let us have a review model, so I actually went to Fry's and bought one.
The Olympus far exceeded our expectations. It could take 1024 x 768 pixel images that were good enough to be used in magazine production. The resolution wasn't high enough for full-page pictures, of course, but plenty good enough for many of the small shots we routinely included in the print magazine. We were so impressed that we decided to launch Digital Camera Magazine, the first all-digital camera mag ever.
The columns I wrote sort of chronicle the birth and development of digital cameras. I wrote about what I liked and what I didn't like. I wrote about my impressions with digital cameras on trips and how well they worked in this and that situation. I complained a lot about some of the early shortcomings and made a lot of suggestions.
Looking back it is amusing how even years after the first digital cameras appeared, the prevailing opinion among photography experts was that digital would never replace film. I recall a conversation with the publisher of a large photography magazine. She was smart and savvy and certainly well versed in technology. Yet, when I asked her when digital would replace film, her firm answer was, "It will never happen." Well, it did happen, and a lot sooner than almost anyone predicted.