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Photography (1553-1996)

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The development of still photography from a single chemical plate to the invention of digital cameras.

From the 16th Century photography has been used to capture the still image so that a scene or view may be preserved.  The uses of photography now covers most spheres of human endeavor from the wholly scientific to the artistic.

This timeline describes the advancement of still Photography from the early 'pinhole' cameras to the introduction of modern image capture using digital cameras.

    1553  CEGiambattista della Porta, Italian inventor, improved the camera obscura.
    1558  CEGiovanni Battista della Porta, Italian artist, published his 'Natural Magic', the first published account of the use of the camera obscura as an aid to artists.
    1560  CEThe portable camera obscura allows precise tracing of an image in Italy.
    1727  CEJohann Heinrich Schulze discovers and experiments with the darkening action of light on mixtures of chalk and silver nitrate (1725-1727)
    1760  CETiphaigne de la Roche predicts photography in 'Giphantie'
    1777  CECarl Wilhelm Scheele proves ammonia stabilizes darkened silver salts
    1786  CEGilles-Louis Chrétien develops the Physionotrace for profile portraits
    1802  CEThomas Wedgwood, following the experiments of Schulze and Scheele, produces silhouettes by use of silver nitrate but is unable to fix the images
    1806  CEWilliam Hyde Wollaston invents the camera lucida
    1807  CEThe camera lucida improves image tracing.
    1816  CEJoseph Nicéphore Niépce's attempts at photography he called heliography (sundrawing). He records a view from his workroom window using an 8 hour exposure on paper sensitized with silver chloride, but he is only partially able to fix the image.
    1816  CEThe single-wire telegraph is introduced.
    1819  CESir John Herschel discovers the photographic fixative, hyposulfite of soda.
    1822  CENiépce succeeds in obtaining a photographic copy of an engraving superimposed on glass
    1826  CENiépce achieves his first photographic image with a camera obscura (1816-1826)
    1826  CEThe invention of the Thaumatrope, a 'persistence of vision' toy, is credited to John Ayrton Paris
    1826  CENiépce, using a camera, makes a view from his workroom window on a pewter plate
    1827  CECharles Wheatstone describes a moving shutter
    1829  CEDaguerre joins Niepce to pursue photographic inventions.
    1829  CENiépce and Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre form a 10-year partnership to develop photography
    1832  CEJoseph Plateau builds the Phenakisticope, an optical toy, that creates the illusion of movement by mounting drawings on the face of a slotted, twirling disk
    1832  CEWheatstone invents a non-photographic stereoscopic viewing device
    1833  CEWilliam Henry Fox Talbot begins experimenting with photogenic drawings
    1835  CEJoseph Niepce and Louis Daguerre produced the first daguerreotype photograph.
    1835  CETalbot photographs window at Lacock Abbey
    1837  CELouis Jacques Mandé Daguerre creates his first daguerreotype. He cut exposure times to 20 minutes.
    1838  CEIn England, Wheatstone's Stereoscope shows pictures in 3-D.
  2 Jan 1839  CEFrench photographer Louis Daguerre takes the first photograph of the Moon.
    1839  CEFox Talbot in England begins producing photographs from negatives.
    1839  CEHerschel invents photographic hypo fixative.
    1839  CEThe Daguerrotype photo process announced at French Academy of Science.
    1839  CEJohn Herschel takes the first glass plate photograph.
    1839  CEThe daguerreotype is publicly announced at the Academy of Sciences in Paris
    1839  CEHippolyte Bayard produces direct-positive photographic images on sensitized paper.
    1839  CEGiroux Daguerreotype camera is introduced it is the first commercially-manufactured camera
    1839  CEAlexander Wolcott receives first American patent in photography for his camera
    1839  CEThe Petzval photographic lens is introduced.
    1840  CEJohn W. Draper of New York invents astronomical photography and makes the first US celestial photograph of the Moon.
    1840  CEAlexander Wolcott patents Photographic Process.
    1840  CEDraper takes first successful photo of the Moon (a daguerrotype).
    1841  CEPetzval of Austria builds an f/36 photographic lens.
    1841  CEWilliam Henry Talbot patents the Calotype photographic process.
    1843  CEThe photographic enlarger is invented in the US.
    1843  CEAnna Atkins produced the first photographically illustrated album 'British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions'
    1844  CETalbot publishes 'Pencil of Nature'
    1845  CEH.L. Fizeau and J Leon Foucault take the first photo of Sun.
    1845  CEMathew Brady begins to photograph famous persons of his time, including Daniel Webster, Edgar Allan Poe, James Fenimore Cooper
    1846  CEIn Germany, Zeiss begins manufacturing lenses.
    1847  CELouis Désiré Blanquard-Evard improves Talbot's Calotype process and sets up a photographic printing establishment
    1848  CEJames K Polk became the first US President to be photographed in office (by Matthew Brady).
    1848  CEClaude Felix Abel Niépce de Saint-Victor uses albumen on glass plates for negatives
    1849  CEThe photographic slide is invented.
    1849  CEWilliam Bond obtains the first photograph of Moon through a telescope.
    1849  CEPortrait photography studies by D.O. Hill and Robert Adamson (1840-1849)
    1849  CEMaxime Du Camp travels to Egypt to photograph monuments
    1850  CEMathew Brady publishes a collection entitled 'A Gallery of Illustrious Americans'
    1850  CEAlbumen printing paper is introduced by L. D. Blanquart-Evrard
    1851  CEIn Britain, Talbot makes first instantaneous photographs using electric spark illumination with a 1/100000 second exposure.
    1851  CEFrederick Scott Archer publishes wet-collodion photographic process (the 'wet plate' process).
    1852  CETalbot patents photoglyphic engraving which produces printable steel plates
 12 Jul 1854  CEGeorge Eastman was born in Marshall, NY
    1854  CEDisderi patents carte-de-viste portraiture which simplifies photography.
    1854  CEAmbrotype, a positive collodion photographic image, is patented in the US.
    1855  CEFerrotype photographic process (tintypes) is introduced to US.
    1856  CEPoitevan starts photolithography.
    1856  CEThe Tin-type camera is patented by Hamilton Smith of Gambier, Ohio.
    1856  CEPhotojournalism of Crimean War documented by Roger Fenton, James Robertson, and Carol Popp de Scathmari.
    1856  CEAlexander Parkes, years before its photographic potential was realized, invented celluloid as a 'transparent support for sensitive coating', but he never was able to use it photographically.
    1857  CEScott's phonautograph is a forerunner of Edison's phonograph in France.
    1857  CEFrederick Laggenheim takes first photo of a solar eclipse.
    1857  CEIn Britain, photographer Oscar Rejlander creates allegorical multiphoto compositions.
    1858  CEDonati's comet becomes the first to be photographed.
    1858  CEFrancis Frith photographs scenes from Upper Egypt and Ethiopia
    1858  CEHenry Peach Robinson's photograph 'Fading Away' establishes him as a chronicler of the Victorian scene with multiple negative compositions of a life near its end
    1859  CEThe wide-angled lens first appears on cameras.
    1859  CESutton panoramic camera is patented
    1860  CEThe first aerial photo in the US is taken from a balloon over Boston.
    1860  CEAbraham Lincoln is photographed during his first presidential campaign by Mathew Brady
    1860  CENadar photographs Paris from a balloon
    1861  CEFrancois Willeme opens a photosculpture studio in Paris
  1861  CEOliver Wendell Holmes invents popular stereoscope viewer
  1861  CEJames Clerk Maxwell's writes 'On the Theory of the Three Primary Colours'
  1861  CEChambre Automatique de Bertschis the first sub-miniature camera
  1863  CEA patent granted for a process to make color photographs.
  1863  CEThe photograph 'The Sharpshooter' by Alexander Gardner was taken after the Battle of Gettysburg.
  1864  CEJulia Margaret Cameron begins to photograph soft and impressionistic portraits that challenge the accepted ideas of focus
  1864  CEJoseph Wilson Swan perfects the carbo process
  1865  CEMathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and others document the American Civil War (1861-1865)
  1865  CEDubroni-In-Camera processing was developed where the plates were sensitized, developed, and fixed within the camera inside a glass bottle that was part of the camera body
  1866  CEThe Woodburytype photographic process is patented.
  1868  CELouis Ducos du Hauron patents trichrome color photographic process.
10 May 1869  CEThe photograph 'A Golden Spike for the Transcontinental Railway' was taken by Andrew J. Russell
  1869  CEThe subtractive method was introduced for colour photography.
  1869  CELouis Ducos du Hauron's 'Colors in Photography' describes the principle of color photography
  1870  CERichard Leach Maddox invents the gelatin dry plate silver bromide process
  1871  CEDuring the Siege of Paris, pigeons are used to carry microphotographed messages across enemy lines (1870-1871)
  1872  CEHenry Draper invents astronomical spectral photography and photographs the spectrum of Vega.
  1872  CEJohn W. Hyatt begins manufacturing celluloid.
  1873  CEThe term is 'Celluloid' registered as a trademark.
  1873  CEFirst photo is reproduced by the halftone method
  1873  CEHermann Wilhelm Vogel increases the spectral sensitivity of photographic emulsions by adding dyes
  1874  CELéon Vidal combines chromolithography with Woodburytype printing
  1875  CEÉmile Reynaud invents the Praxinoscope
  1877  CEEadweard Muybridge experiments with multiple cameras to take successive photographs of horses in motion
  1878  CEThe Dry-plate photographic process was invented.
  1878  CEFirst attempt at motion pictures by Muybridge who used 12 cameras, each taking 1 picture. This experiment was to see if all 4 of a horse's hooves leave the ground.
  1878  CEGeorge Eastman begins to simplify the complicated wet plate process
  1878  CEKarl Klic invented the most precise and commercially successful method of photogravure printing
  1879  CEGeorge Eastman invents an emulsion-coating machine which enables the mass-production of photographic dry plates
  1879  CEDennis Redmond develops the electric telescope to produce moving images
  1880  CEGeorge Eastman begins to commercially manufacture dry plates
  1880  CEMuybridge demonstrates to an audience at the San Francisco Art Association Rooms his Zoopraxiscope, a Zoetrope adapted to project photographic images in motion
  1881  CEEastman Dry Plate Company is founded
  1881  CEFirst book about television, The Electric Telescope, is published
  1882  CEGeorge Eastman and William Walker devise a roll film holder, a flexible film layered with gelatin emulsions on paper backing (which is stripped away after development) and a machine to produce the film
  1882  CEFrench physiologist Étienne-Jules Marey invents the chronophotographic gun, a camera shaped like a rifle that records twelve successive photographs per second.
  1884  CEThe first known photograph of a tornado is made near Howard in the US.
  1884  CEThe Stebbing Automatic Camera is the first production camera to use roll film.
  1885  CEEastman makes coated photo printing paper.
  1885  CEThe earliest photograph of a meteor shower is made.
  1885  CEEastman American Film is introduced as the first transparent film negative
2 May 1887  CEHanibal W Goodwin applied for a patent for a transparent roll-film made of nitro-cellulose and camphor. However, Goodwin’s claim was not specific enough for the patent examiners and he was not granted a patent until September 1898 after several revisions and delays.
  1887  CECelluloid film introduced and eventually replaced glass plate photography.
  1887  CEThomas Alva Edison commissions W. K. L. Dickson to invent a motion picture camera
  1888  CEEastman Kodak forms.
  1888  CEThe first motion picture films are made on sensitized paper rolls taken with a camera by Louis Aime Augustin Le Prince
  1888  CEThe name Kodak is born and the Kodak Camera is placed on the market and is loaded with 100 exposures on a film roll for $25
10 Dec 1889  CEThe Eastman Company was granted a patent for a nitro-cellulose roll-film which included a non-curling layer of hardened gelatin on the back of the celluloid. They were eventually sued sucessfully for patent infringement by the owners of The Goodwin Film & Camera Company and settled for five million dollars.
  1889  CEKodak #2 is introduced
  1889  CEThe first commercial transparent roll film is put on the market by the Eastman Company.
  1889  CEThe development of motion-picture roll film
  1890  CECharles Driffield and Ferdinand Hurter publish their work on emulsion sensitivity and exposure measurement
  1890  CENadar, a famous Parisian photographer makes several studio portraits of George Eastman.
  1891  CEThe telephoto lens is first used with cameras.
  1891  CEW. K. L. Dickson and Thomas A. Edison patent the 'peep-show' Kinetoscope, a type of viewing device in which a film loop ran on spools between an incandescent lamp and a shutter for individual viewing
  1892  CEFrederick Ives develops first complete system for natural color photography
  1893  CEFred Ott sneezing in 'Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze January 7 1894', was filmed at the 'Black Maria', a motion picture studio that rotates on tracks to follow the light of the sun built by Edison
  1893  CEDickson's camera is patented as the Kinetograph which was a device that ensured the intermittent but regular motion of the perforated celluloid film strip to ensure precise synchronization between the film and the shutter.
  1894  CELouis and Auguste Lumière invent the Cinématographe in Lyon, a combination camera-projector that can project moving images onto a screen.
  1894  CEEdison opens the first Kinetoscope parlor in New York City.
  1894  CEPhoto Club of Paris is established.
  1894  CERobert Barker opens the first Panorama, prototype of future movie houses
8 Nov 1895  CEGerman physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovers x-rays and the world immediately appreciates their medical potential.
  1895  CEFrance's Lumiere brothers build a portable movie camera and show a film of an oncoming train for a paying Paris audience.
  1895  CEThe Pocket KODAK Camera is announced
  1895  CEThe birth of cinema: In Berlin, Max and Emil Skladanowsky show a 15-minute public program of films made using their Bioscop
  1895  CEFirst advertised public screening of films at LeGrand Café, Paris including the Lumière brothers' 'Arrival of a Train at a Station', one of the many actuality films or documentary views they made is screened
  1896  CEPublic demonstration in New York City of the Edison Vitascope designed by Thomas Armat, bringing projection to the United States
  1896  CEBritain's first projector, the Theatrograph (later the Animatograph) is demonstrated by Robert W. Paul
  1896  CEJosef Maria Eder and Eduard Valenta publish stereoscopic Röntgen photographs.
  1896  CEBritish photographers George Albert Smith and James Williamson construct their own motion picture cameras and begin production of trick films
  1897  CE125 people, most of them from the upper classes, die during a film screening at the Charity Bazaar in Paris after a curtain is ignited by the ether used to fuel the projector lamp
 Sep 1898  CEHanibal W Goodwin was granted a patent for a transparent roll-film made of nitro-cellulose and camphor.
  1898  CEPhotographs are first taken by artificial light.
  1899  CEDickson's kinetophone synchronizes the kinetograph and the phonograph (1891-1899)
  1899  CEFounding of Pathé-Frères, the world's largest film producer and distributor through WW I
  1899  CEPascal develops the first photographic roll film spring wind motor advance.
  1900  CEFirst mass-marketed camera, the Kodak Brownie, costs $1.
  1902  CEGermany's Zeiss invents the four-element Tessar camera lens.
  1904  CEHine photographs America's underclass.
  1906  CEGeorge Albert Smith and Charles Urban develop first commercially successful photographic colour process called 'Kinemacolor'.
  1906  CEPanchromatic plates are marketed by Wratten and Wainright in England.
  1907  CELumière Brother's autochrome colour process is marketed.
  1908  CEGabriel Lippmann wins a Nobel Prize for his method of reproducing colour by photography.
  1910  CESweden's Elkstrom invents 'flying spot' camera light beam.
  1912  CEThe Pocket Camera is introduced.
  1913  CEEastman Kodak Company establishes first industrial photographic research laboratory.
  1914  CEIn Germany, the 35mm still camera is introduced by Leica.
  1914  CEFirst 35mm still cameras are developed.
  1915  CEPluto photographed for the first time (although unknown at the time)
  1916  CECameras are deeloped with optical rangefinders.
  1916  CE3A Autographic with coupled Rangefinder is introduced.
  1916  CEAlvin Langdon Coburn's Vortographs: deliberate abstractions.
  1916  CEPaul Strand's photographs emphasize abstract and objective qualities.
  1920  CEAmerican artist Man Ray creates the Rayogram, a collage of objects placed onto photographic paper and exposed to light.
  1920  CEAmerican photographer James Van Der Zee creates memorable portraits of African-Americans.
  1920  CEEdward Steichen becomes chief photographer for the fashion magazines 'Vogue' and 'Vanity Fair'.
  1922  CEThe first microfilm device introduced.
  1924  CEThe first photo facsimile transmitted across Atlantic by radio.
  1924  CEErnst Leitz designs and then markets the 35mm Leica cameras.
  1925  CELászló Moholy-Nagy's 'Painting Photography Film'. Experiments with photograms.
  1927  CEGeneral Electric invents the modern flashbulb.
  1928  CEThe first fully automatic photographic film developing machine patented
  1929  CEThe 'Film and Foto' exhibition that synthesized modernism in photography is held in Stuttgart.
  1930  CE(Between 1930-1940) Nickolas Muray's photographs from the 1930s.
  1930  CEGaspar bleached-colour process is announced.
  1931  CEThe first infra-red photograph, Rochester, NY
14 Mar 1932  CEGeorge Eastman dies in Rochester, New York.
  1932  CEAnsel Adams founds Group f.64 dedicated to straight photography. Group f.64 photographers use large cameras and small apertures to record nature's light.
  1932  CEFirst light meter with photoelectric cell, invented by Bernard-Ferdinand Lyot, is introduced.
  1933  CEThe first known photo of Loch Ness monster (or whatever) is taken
  1934  CERetina I introduced using standard 35mm case.
  1935  CEEastman Kodak markets Kodachrome film.
  1936  CEThe first photo finish camera installed at Hialeah Race track in Hialeah FL
  1936  CEAmerican combat photographer, Robert Capa captures on film the Spanish Civil War, notably 'Death of a Loyalist Soldier'.
  1936  CEAmerican photographer Margaret Bourke-White takes the cover photo for first issue Life magazine.
  1936  CELife magazine begins.
  1938  CEThe first Xerox copy made
  1938  CEAmerican photographer Walker Evans has his first showing at the Museum of Modern Art, the basis for his book 'American Photographs'.
  1938  CESuper Kodak Six 20-Autoexposure is developed.
  1939  CE'Farmer and Wife' by Arthur Rothstein from portfolio of FSA Photographs.
  1940  CEAnsco, Agfa, and Sakura Natural colour films are introduced.
  1945  CE'V-J Day in Times Square' by Alfred Eisenstaedt (sailor kissing a nurse).
  1946  CEEastman Kodak introduces KODAK Ektachrome, the company's first colour film that can be processed by the photographer.
  1947  CEThe first instant developing camera demonstrated in NYC, by E H Land
  1947  CEDennis Gabor describes the principles of holography.
  1948  CEEdwin Land markets the Polaroid camera.
  1948  CEFirst 35mm Nikon camera is introduced.
  1948  CEHasselblad 1600F introduced.
  1949  CEThe first magazine on microfilm offered to subscribers (Newsweek)
  1949  CEThe first Polaroid camera sold $89.95 (NYC)
  1950  CE(Between 1950-1959) American photographers Irving Penn and Richard Avedon become known for their work in advertising and fashion photography.
  1951  CEStill camera get built-in flash units
  1951  CEAaron Siskind's photograph 'New York 2', demonstrates a trend toward abstraction.
  1951  CEW. Eugene Smith's photo essay, 'Spanish Village'.
  1955  CEEdward Steichen organizes 'The Family of Man', one of the most popular exhibitions of photographs ever presented.
  1956  CEThe Leica M3 introduced.
  1959  CEBob Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor, U.S., prints an entire electronic circuit on a single crystal or microchip of silicon using a photographic process. This breakthrough enables the computer revolution to begin.
  1959  CENikon F is introduced.
  1960  CEEG&G develops an extreme depth underwater camera for U.S. Navy.
  1960  CEFirst successful hologram is produced.
  1961  CEEastman Kodak introduces faster Kodachrome II color film.
  1963  CE126 Cartridge / Instamatic Cameras are introduced.
  1963  CEPolaroid introduces instant colour film.
  1968  CEPhotograph of Earth from the moon.
  1968  CE'Robert Kennedy Moments After He Was Shot' by Bill Eppridge.
  1968  CE'Vietnam Execution' by Eddie Adams (Viet Cong officer killed).
  1969  CEAstronauts send first live photographs from the moon.
  1970  CE(Between 1970-1979) German-born British photographer Bill Brandt and American photographer Jerry Uelsmann practice the movement toward the fantastic in photography through manipulation.
  1970  CEAmerican photographer, Eliot Porter publishes the collection of wildlife photos, 'Appalachian Wilderness'.
  1972  CEPolaroid camera can focus by itself
  1972  CEBritish researcher Godfrey Hounsfield develops a computerized axiomtomography CAT scanner to cross sectionally x-ray the brain.
  1972  CEPocket Instamatic Camera-110 is introduced.
  1972  CEPolaroid introduces one-step instant photography with the SX-70 camera.
  1972  CE'Terror of War: children on Route 1 near Trang Bang' by Huynh Cong (Nick) Ut.
  1973  CEFairchild Semiconductor releases the first large image forming CCD chip with 100 rows and 100 columns.
  1976  CEAmerican photographer Richard Avedon publishes the collection 'Portraits'.
  1976  CECanon AE-1 first 35mm camera with built in microprocessor is introduced.
  1977  CEAmerican photographer Cindy Sherman creates the photographic series 'Untitled Film Stills'.
  1978  CEThe first point-and-shoot camera from Konica
  1978  CEKonica introduces first point-and-shoot, auto-focus camera.
  1984  CECanon demonstrates first electronic (digital) still camera.
  1984  CEJapanese newspapers cover the opening of the Olympics in Los Angeles with Canon RC-701 Still Video Cameras and analogue transmitter.
  1985  CEMinolta Maxxum 7000 auto-focus, 35mm SLR.
  1986  CEMinolta introduces first professional auto focus camera, the Maxxum 9000.
  1987  CEBoth Kodak and Fuji introduce novel disposable cameras, such as the Kodak Fling.
  1987  CECanon produces RC-760 Still Video Camera with a 600,000 pixel CCD.
  1987  CEEastman Kodak announces the 1.4 megapixel CCD for digital cameras.
  1987  CE'USA Today' begins to cover special events with the Canon RC-760 camera.
  1988  CEEastman Kodak announces a 4 megapixel CCD.
  1988  CEPhotoMac is the first image manipulation program available for the Macintosh computer.
  1988  CESony and Fuji announce new digital cameras.
  1989  CE'After The Massacre In Beijing One Man Faces Down The Army' by Stuart Franklin.
  1989  CEFollowing the dismantling of the Soviet bloc, film companies are privatised and western films are welcomed in eastern Europe.
  1989  CELetraset releases Color Studio 1.0 (TM), the first professional image manipulation program for Macintosh computers.
  1989  CESony announces MCV-5000 twin ship camera with two separate CCD elements for luminance and chrominance.
  1990  CEHubble Space Telescope sends its first photograph's from space.
  1990  CEAdobe Photoshop 1.0 (TM) is the second professional image manipulation program available for Macintosh computers.
  1990  CEDycam releases an electronic camera for business imaging applications.
  1990  CEEastman Kodak prototypes an electronic camera back designed for the needs of photojournalists.
  1990  CEKodak announces the development of its Photo CD system.
  1991  CEElectronic imaging plays an important role in coverage of the Gulf War. Although most still-image photojournalists on the scene use conventional cameras and film for shooting, electronic techniques are widely employed to transmit the pictures home.
  1991  CERollei and Arca Swiss announce their digital studio cameras.
  1991  CESony releases the SEPS-1000 Digital Studio Camera for modest quality advertising.
  1991  CEThe Kodak Professional Digital Camera System is introduced.
  1992  CELeaf Systems announces the Leaf camera back for studio cameras, such as Hasselblad or Sinar.
  1993  CEAdobe Photoshop is available for MS-DOS/Windows platforms.
  1993  CELivePicture image manipulation software is announced by HSC, Inc.
  1993  CENikon, Canon, Leaf Systems, and others announce new digital cameras for photojournalists and studio photographers respectively.
  1994  CEApple Computer introduces RISC technology to the desktop computer market with the new PowerPC line.
  1994  CEApple Computer, Sony, and Kodak announce new digital cameras.
  1994  CEAssociated Press announces the AP/Kodak NC2000 digital camera for photojournalists.
  1996  CEAdvanced Photo System (APS) is introduced using a 24-mm film format, features of the system include: leaderless cassette, easy loading and unloading, smaller cameras and three print formats interchangeable on the same roll of film.
  1996  CEAdvantix Camera is introduced.
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