Smile please, you're on electronic camera: No winding on, no waste, no mess . . . Christine Hewitt glimpses the future of photography
Monday 21 December 1992
Dr Brian Iddon, from Salford University, claimed in a recent lecture that 'by the year 2000 electronic photography will have completely replaced current photographic techniques'. And it is British chemists who have scored another first by inventing the special dyes needed for the printing end of the process.
'The new technology will give very sharp colours and extremely precise pictures,' said Dr Iddon, demonstrating the invention by taking a picture of his audience with a charged-up 'filmless' camera. A reusable magnetic disc cassette replaces the usual silver halide film, avoiding all that fiddly winding on. Dr Iddon placed the cassette into a printer looking much like a video recorder and linked to a television screen. Within a few seconds he showed the picture on the screen.
This means that you do not need to develop and print all exposures on a film, only to find that half are worthless. If landscapes are over-exposed or portraits have granny's head missing, you can spot this on the television image before developing and printing. Waste and expense can be avoided. You can even rewind the electronic tape and take the shot again, or alter the colours or contrast on the screen.
To turn a passable screen image into a colour print, a heat- based technology - 'dye diffusion thermal transfer', or D2T2 - is used. This is a hi-tech version of the iron-on system used to print motifs on T-shirts, in which the heat transfers a pattern of dyes from thin paper on to the cloth.
According to Dr Iddon, D2T2 needs a much higher transfer temperature - about 400C - than that produced by a household iron, so conventional dyes were unsatisfactory. 'Out of over a million known dyestuffs, none was found to be stable enough,' he said. ICI's Colours and Fine Chemicals business in Manchester came up with dyes to fit the demanding bill for stability, colour quality and fastness.
In D2T2, a colour ribbon and the print receiver paper are pressed together under an array of 'thermal heads' in a printer resembling a mangle. The ribbon holds panels of yellow, magenta and cyan dyes which are transferred in the required pattern - programmed by an electronic message - to the print. The finished print paper feels similar to normal photographs.
Dr Iddon also stressed the environmental advantages of electronic photography: it is a clean and dry process with no used developing or printing solutions to be poured away.
- 1 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 2 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...