History disagrees on how and when the camera was invented. Depending on how you actually define a camera, it can be said it was invented clear back in about 470 t0 390 B.C. by a Chinese philosopher named Mo-Ti.
Mo-Ti didn’t call his invention a camera; instead he called it a locked treasure room. His invention was what is now called a pinhole camera. Not much else was done regarding cameras until around 1000 AD when an Egyptian named Abu Ali Al-Hasan Ibn Al-Haitham brought out a type of pinhole camera and documented how it worked in his book, “Book of Optics.” This was a set of seven books on this topic.
A man named Johannes Kepler invented a camera lens in the 1600s to add to the pinhole camera and his helper, Robert Hooke worked to make the camera more portable.
First Real Photograph
About 200 years later, a French officer named Joseph Nicphore Niepce made what is considered the first real photo with a camera he called “Obscura.” It was made of two wooden boxes, one had a lens and the other had a ground glass screen. They were hooked together by a bellows and there was a diaphragm that could be adjusted to change the aperture and improve the image. He produced his photo by projecting his photo onto a sheet of paper sensitized with silver chloride so it could act as a negative.
Neoce’s partner, Louis Jacques Daguerre, who invented the first useful method of making a photograph called a daguerreotype. He used a silver coated copper plate and iodine vapor to treat so it would be light sensitive. Mercury vapor and salt solution were used to develop the image.
Prior to this time, cameras as such could only project an image on a screen and if you wanted a copy, it had to be traced on the screen by hand.
Improvements Over Time
As time went on, the camera underwent a lot of changes and improvements from differences in film, flash, color, lenses, and much much more. There are also many different type, sizes, capacity of images, etc of cameras today that wouldn’t have been at all possible just a few years ago.
For instance, the early cameras were so large an entire person could fit inside of one, whereas now there are tiny spy cameras and even a pill camera that doctors can have patients swallow to record activity inside their body.
All in all, the camera has come a long way from the primitive pinhole camera to today’s cell phone cameras and professional SLRs.