Before the invention of CCD and CMOS chips,
video cameras used vacuum tube technology to capture images
The Vidicon was developed at RCA in the late 1940's by by P. K. Weimer, S. V. Forgue, and R. R. Goodrich.
Vidicon's were the first low cost television camera imaging tubes, created to be a much smaller and a more affordable replacement of the previous vacuum tube based video camera technologies - the Iconoscope, and RCA Image Orthicon.
Vidicon camera tubes were used throughout the 1950's up until the mid 1980's in Television studio broadcast cameras, CCTV (closed circuit television) video surveliance cameras, and in handheld video cameras.
Vidicon camera tubes were used in the NASA space missions of the 1960's, 70's and early 80's, including the Mariner and Viking deep-space probes, as well as in the Landsat earth imaging satelites, and the first weather satelite, the Tiros 1.
The first color video cameras made by RCA and other companies for the television industry used three seperate vidicon tubes, each with either a red, green or blue color filter.
The world's first color home video camera with a single image tube was introduced to consumers in 1974 by Toshiba, the model IK-12. In 1978, RCA introduced their first color video camera for consumers that featured a single Vidicon camera tube, the RCA CC-001.
The Vidicon and similiar vacuum tube technologies used in video cameras would eventually be replaced by the introduction of solid-state CCD imaging chips, first introduced in broadcast video cameras in 1984.
Related: Vacuum Tubes RCA Semiconductor