A snippet of Digital Photography history


Herzlia, Israel.

26th March, 2015

Liad   1994

Liad - Portrait

Liad – Herzlia, 1994


While cleaning up (Muda*) I came across an almost forgotten photo of my daughter, Liad that I shot and printed in 1994. The color has changed to sepia. I have lost the original digital file so I re-digitized it.

In 1994 I was working in R&D at Scitex, one of the first high-tech companies to be established in Israel. Scitex was a pioneer in digital technology. In 1990 and 1992 Scitex had acquired two companies originally from Massachusets, USA. One was named Iris Graphics and the other Leaf Systems.

This photo was taken with the world’s first digital photographic back, The Leaf DCB, aka the “brick” and was printed on an IRIS, the world’s first digital ink-jet printer. I was privileged to to be part of a team working with these two revolutionary devices.

   leaf-dcb11                                                                         iris_graphics_3047


Price for the Leaf DCB was about $30,000 and for the IRIS 3024 was about $75,000.

The DCB had a black & white CCD sensor with 4MP resolution. Color was achieved by shooting images through 3 filters (Red, Green and Blue) that were combined on the computer to produce a full color image.


The IRIS, coupled with a Scitex Prisma workstation using Trans/4 technology (developed by our team) having two modules. One for scaling up images with high quality and the other for color-management and maintaining accurate color.

Prisma workstations were priced at $500,000!

All this was before the introduction of personal computers.

There are some lessons to be learned from the above.

  1. Archive all your digital images and maintain a back-up system.
  2. Print your images on archival paper and with archival inks. Physical assets are less prone to loss than digital ones.
  3. Practice “Muda” from time to time.

* Muda (無駄) is a Japanese word meaning “futility; uselessness; idleness; superfluity; waste; wastage; wastefulness”,[1] and is a key concept in the Toyota Production System

One thought on “A snippet of Digital Photography history

  1. לאון, כאחד האנשים שנטלו חלק ולו צנוע, במאמץ הפיתוח של גב המצלמה הראשון של ״ליף״ ודורות נוספים של מוצרי גב כאלה, אני בהחלט חושב שאתה והקבוצה שלך הצלחתם להרים מוצר מדהים ואיכותי שהיווה פריצת דרך טכנולוגית.
    אני אכן מתגעגע בערגה לימים הטובים של סאיטקס- שנות השמונים והתשעים.
    המשיך לעשות ולהצליח.

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