Digital SLR camera, Canon EOS DCS 1, plastic / metal / electronic components, made by Eastman Kodak Company / Canon, United States of America, 1995
The transition of analogue photography to digital is an important technological and cultural shift. Although not that long ago, because of the rapidly changing nature of digital technology, devices which straddle the analogue/digital technologies are becoming long-forgotten before their time. And becoming landfill.
These cameras and accessories were purchased by the Powerhouse Museum for use in the Photography and Conservation departments. Professional digital photography was not the dominant medium in the mid 1990s, but the Museum experimented with its merits. The Conservation department had some success with the digital medium, but technology progressed quite quickly, and the cameras were superseded by the early 2000s.
The camera was designed and manufactured by Canon and Eastman Kodak Company in United States of America, 1995. The Canon EOS DCS 1 and 3 were the result of a partnership between rival camera designers and manufacturers Canon and Kodak. The camera body is a Canon EOS SLR, which has been incorporated into the digital processor, memory cartridge housing and power pack unit designed and made by Kodak.
SLR, or single lens reflex cameras have long been the preferred choice of professional photographers. This is because, unlike twin lens reflex cameras, what is seen through the view-finder is the same angle as the lens, allowing more accurate shooting. Camera manufacturers designed their SLR lines for the professional market. With the move of many technological devices from analogue to digital, camera makers began to research and develop digital cameras. While amateur digital cameras were successful, initially film was still preferred by professional photographers. This camera is an example of the pre-transition to the take-up of digital technology in professional photography.
It was used by the Powerhouse Museum's Photography and Conservation departments from 1995 to 2004. Nitsa Yioupros, the Powerhouse Museum's Conservation Photographer says 'I began using that camera in March 1997 for the digitization project that we received funding for at the time, headed by the then Registration manager. The idea was to get the digital image numbers up for the Museum's collection and it was decided that, as I shoot many views of one object for Conservators that it was ideal that I convert to digital imaging rather than continuing with film. Photography staff were only using the camera one day a week for new acquisitions at the time. They continued working in film until the technology improved. I initially did training with the Photography staff and as you can imagine we were all on a steep learning curve as we had to get our heads around all this new technology, not only the camera use but the darkroom had now become 'Photoshop' software using the computer. So for me at the time it was huge'.