Back in The Olden Days, photos, and photographic equipment were nothing like they are today. At first, "snaps", or photos, were only black and white (or "grey-scale") and only professional people with expensive cameras on stands could achieve any level of success. The lay-person usually relied on a Box-Brownie camera or similar, which produced photos that were recognizable but lacked detail. Many of the rolls of film were developed and printed by the photographer in their own dark-room. Later, color photography came along and because the development and printing was so much more involved, the rolls of film, usually with 12, 24 or 36 photos on them, were handed to an expert to develop.
Once a photo had been taken, that portion of the roll of film could not be re-used so there were often shots of thumbs, or blurred photos that were useless. For these reasons, photos were fairly expensive, and pictures were carefully chosen and set up to minimise waste.
The Polaroid camera used a process invented by Polaroid founder Edwin Land, which was to move dyes on a negative sheet coated with silver halide to a positive sheet by squeezing them through a set of
rollers. A reagent was spread between the two layers, and some of the unexposed silver halide grains were made soluble by the reagent and transferred by diffusion from the negative to the positive. After a minute, the
back of the camera was opened and the negative peeled away to reveal the print.
In 1963, Land introduced Polacolor pack film, which made instant color photographs possible. This process involved pulling two tabs from the camera, which pulled the film sandwich through the rollers to develop the image outside the camera.
In 1972, integral film was introduced which did not require the user to time the development or peel apart the negative from the positive. The film itself integrates all the layers to expose, develop, and fix the photo into a plastic envelope. The Polaroid SX-70 camera was the first to utilize this film.
The reflex camera uses internal mirrors to display the image as seen through the lens to a viewing window so that the image seen by the user is exactly the same as that seen by the lens, without the parallax error introduced by having a "viewfinder" lens near the photographic lens. The SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera became the preferred design in the 1960's for this reason.
Gradually, the quality of lenses and shutter-speed of all types of cameras improved, giving much finer detail and allowing slight movement of the subject to be ignored.
Now, of course, with digital cameras, we can take hundreds, even thousands of shots of a subject without any added expense, delete the ones we don't want immediately, and download the rest onto our computer for instant viewing, editing and printing. Suddenly, everyone's an expert photographer!
Here's the blurb for a modern Canon camera:
Adaptable, customisable and designed to capture every moment, the fully weather-sealed 7D Mark II comes with a 20.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, Dual DIGIC 6 processors and a 65-point cross-type AF system, capturing images at a blistering speed of 10fps with ISO capabilities up to 16,000 (expandable to 51,200). The 7D Mark II replaces the 7D and is the latest flagship model in the cropped sensor line-up, delivering cinematic-style Full HD 1080p recording at 50 or 60fps, dual card slots, GPS, a 3.0 LCD screen and an optical viewfinder with 100% coverage. The Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens is a high performance zoom lens, equivalent to a 24-136mm focal length lens (5.6x standard zoom lens). Designed for EOS EF-S mount bodies, the lens covers wide angle and portrait focal ranges.
Not only has the the quality and cost of photos improved, but cameras have become smaller and lighter as well, so that now, a good quality camera can be encapsulated in your mobile phone, allowing full telephonic and photographic functions to be carried in your pocket!