The short history of the Advanced Photo System film camera

Short history of the Advanced Photo System
Since you couldn’t look at the negatives, the processed APS film cartridge was returned with an index print. (Image credit: Kodak)

Like it or not, the camera phone represents the culmination of what the photographic industry had been trying to achieve for the best part of 150 years. It’s a compact device that’s easily carried anywhere and delivers an acceptable result in most situations without requiring anything more than the press of a button. Of course, it helps that you can now essentially run your life with your smartphone, but the photography element was where the compact point-and-shoot camera was always heading… minimum fuss, maximum reward. 

There was a good century of development from rollfilm to ever smaller format films packaged in various cassettes and cartridges – 35mm, 126, 110 and Disc – designed to make for easier handling with fewer mistakes. Each succeeded to some extent, but there was always room for improvement and so, in the early 1990s, work began on the most ambitious cartridge-based film system ever devised - the Advance Photo System.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Paul Burrows

Paul has been writing about cameras, photography and photographers for 40 years. He joined Australian Camera as an editorial assistant in 1982, subsequently becoming the magazine’s technical editor, and has been editor since 1998. He is also the editor of sister publication ProPhoto, a position he has held since 1989. In 2011, Paul was made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute Of Australian Photography (AIPP) in recognition of his long-term contribution to the Australian photo industry. Outside of his magazine work, he is the editor of the Contemporary Photographers: Australia series of monographs which document the lives of Australia’s most important photographers.