2001: Ricoh RDC-i500
The unusual design of the Ricoh RDC-i500 comprises a flat box measuring 14x7.5x2.5cm with the lens and flash on the narrow side and a small LCD screen to display various functions on top. It offer 3.1mp and, along with its eye-level viewfinder, it features 2-inch flip-up screen that can be orientated to face forwards, backwards or at an angle of about 45°. The camera offers all the usual exposure modes with shutter speeds of 1/2,000sec down to 8 seconds, a 7.3-21.9mm f/2.6-3.4 autofocus zoom lens with macro setting, a movie setting and an option to record voice memos. The 8mb internal memory stores images, and can be expanded by use of a compact flash card, typically 64mb. Video output allows pictures to be viewed on a computer or television.
But, back in 2001, what put this camera ahead of its rivals, was its ability to connect to the internet. It did this by way of a modem card that fitted into the slot for the compact flash card. With this, the photographer could dial up an internet provider and upload pictures, either by file transfer protocol (FTP) or as attachments to emails. Because, yes, the camera could also send and receive emails. Additionally, the modem card allowed images to be transferred wirelessly to a computer.
It is pictured here (right top to bottom) from the front with its flip-up screen raised, from the top with the screen lowered and from the rear showing the compact flash card in its slot. No pictures have yet to be taken with this camera.