Throwback to 1997: The Story of Our First Digital Camera

Because today is National Camera Day, we thought we’d take this opportunity to share the story of our first digital camera. Did you know that Deforest Group made the transition to digital photography in 1997?! That's right, it's been 25 years.


When one of our customers encouraged us to make the leap into digital—we were happy for the opportunity to use their products as our test subject! We knew the digital transformation would affect everything—our processes, storage, and equipment… yet our photographers were eager to try it out! After assessing the early digital products available on the market, the team decided that the PhaseOne PowerPhase was the right scanning back for us, and from there our team undertook a major crash course in the technology of digital photography that forever changed our business.

The scanning back attached to our existing camera system.

Because the digital back attached to our existing film cameras, this allowed us to continue using the cameras and lenses we already had, which certainly made things a little easier! This digital back did three scans for each shot —Red, Green, and Blue. As a result, each shot took anywhere from 15 seconds to 20 minutes to capture! Due to this, the digital scanning back was only a good fit for inanimate objects—shooting anything with movement would be blurry.


Curious to know what our very first shot from our first digital camera looked like? It's definitely not a portfolio piece, but it helped us evaluate color, texture and the file itself.

The first shot from our digital scanning back, 1997.

Believe it or not, we still have this camera in our possession today — a tangible piece of history to remember a big milestone for Deforest Group.


Over the next few years, digital photography technologies rapidly changed, and we were on to bigger and better things before we knew it!


Today, our team employs the latest in 4K video technology coupled with digital photo capture at rates that were unthinkable 25 years ago!