When Did Modern Video Cameras Come Out?

Pinpointing a specific starting point for the birth of filmmaking can be tricky. Was it in 1912 when the 35mm film camera gave birth to Hollywood movies? When did video cameras come out?

The Biggest Breakthroughs in Modern Video Cameras

The term “video” describes a motion picture recording made digitally. This contrasts with analog cameras that reproduce movies using film. Here are important steps along the way:

  1. Super 8: When Kodak released this 8mm camera in 1965, it used a sealed cartridge that made shooting home movies easy. However, 8mm film is analog, not digital, so the Super 8 wasn’t technically a video camera.

  2. Sony Portapaks: Featuring a heavy handheld camera connected via wire to a VCR slung from a shoulder or carried by a second person, Sony Portapaks signaled a transformation to digital video. However, its unwieldy size made shooting impractical for many aspiring video enthusiasts.

  3. Sony Betamovie: Considered by many the first video camera, the 1983 Betamovie combined camera and video cassette recorder in a single unit.

  4. JVC VHS-C camcorders: In 1984, JVC released a smaller camcorder that used lightweight VHS-C cassettes instead of the full-size VHS tapes of some companies.

  5. Sony MiniDV: The first video camera capable of recording true digital video and sending it to a computer for editing, the MiniDV debuted in 1995. It used much smaller MiniDV cartridges, reducing the camera’s total size and weight.

  6. Hitachi DVD-RAM cam: Instead of cassettes, this Y2K release launched direct to digital recording on mini DVDs.

  7. Panasonic HD video camera: Panasonic’s 2005 AG HVX200 was capable of recording high definition video using memory cards.

  8. RED One professional video camera: While the high price tag of this 2007 camera meant it was limited only to Hollywood filmmakers, it was the first in its class that could shoot 4K movies.

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