1992 the Photo CD

In 1979, Philips and Sony, with the collaboration of Hitachi, perfected the sound CD (Compact Disc), whose commercial production began in August 1982.

The compact disc has a reflective surface with many cavities. These are “read” by a laser beam and produce binary variations, and so digital, which are transmitted to a sensor. In 1985, the CD ROM came onto the market, designed to be read by a computer.

In 1992, Kodak launched the photo CD for storing digitised photographs. This system accessible to everybody, private individuals and professionals, the first “bridge” between analogue and digital, enabled the storing of around a hundred analogue pictures scanned with high resolution. It was thereafter possible to introduce these photos into a computer to process them – Photoshop came out in 1990 – view them and store them.

Most of the big laboratories offered this service to their customers. They were equipped with a KODAK PCD Imaging Workstation (PIW) system, comprising a film scanner, data processor, colour monitor, CD recorder, a thermic printer for the indices and suitable software. It was also from this moment that the commercial printing of “family photo” films became digital without the user necessarily knowing.


A Kodak technician inspects the surface of a photo CD with a microscope (Don Cochran, 1993).