There is no doubt that Fujifilm is an innovator. They seem to always come out with technology that somewhat goes against the grain. Fujifilm is a company that is not afraid to go out on a limb by leaving behind old technology or even cannibalizing current products. This is how they get ahead of the curve.
Up until the mid 1980’s, anyone into film photography (no matter what level), knew the Fujifilm brand. They were right up there with Kodak as one of the big two companies who manufactured film for the world of photography.
But, in the depth’s of Fujifilm’s engineering department, something revolutionary was being worked on.
In 1988 at the Photokina show in Germany, Fujifilm unveiled a game changer to the world of photography: the world’s first fully digital camera.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “wait a second, digital photography wasn’t anything new by 1988…” and you are right, it was not. However, what was new and what Fujifilm had managed to do, was capture images on a CCD sensor and then transfer that information to an internal SRAM card to save the photo in a digital format.
Saving a digital file of a photo to an internal, removable, semiconductor memory card, had not been done before. Previously, this was done in an analog format with what was called “video floppies”.
For it’s time, video floppies were the best thing since sliced bread. However, because of the media’s low capacity and because of the fact that the disc had to be rotated precisely, it was not the best solution for storing photos.
Though, until semiconductor memory came down in price, the video floppy was there to stay.
Fujifilm did not sit around with their hands under their butt though. They had a feeling that the cost of semiconductor memory, digital sensors and image processors, was going to steadily come down as the years passed in the early 1980’s.
At this point in time, this is where Fujifilm put on their thinking caps and became proactive in developing a camera that would be able to function in a fully digital capacity.
What Fujifilm unveiled at Photokina in 1988, showed the world how forward thinking they were.
The camera that was unveiled, carried the name DS-1P – pictured above – and was to become known as the world’s first fully digital camera.
The camera had a 400 kilopixel CCD sensor, stored the images on removable Toshiba SRAM (10 photo capacity), had a built in battery to maintain the memory, had a fixed focus 16mm f/5.6 lens and had a shutter speed of 1/60 – 1/2000 second.
Despite Fujifilm demonstrating the camera at Photokina in 1988, there is no record of Fujifilm marketing or selling this camera to the public. It would not be until a year later with the DS-X, that Fujifilm would market its first digital camera.
Nearly thirty years later, Fujifilm is not holding back with their innovative spirit. From the hybrid viewfinders on the X series cameras, to the X-trans sensors, Fujifilm is continuing to think outside of the box.
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