The future of Photography

Photography is a fast moving technology. Even when film was the only medium for cameras, keeping up with the new advances (or at least the new equipment) was difficult if not impossible. Once photography evolved into digital, the market exploded. Everything became easier. You could see you photo right away, no waiting days for developing. This meant experimenting was also much easier and productive. Now, on a cloudless night I can take a 30 sec. exposure at 1600 ISO that would have taken approximately 15-30 minutes to image on film.

Additionally, with smartphones you carry a camera around with you in your pocket that does a reasonable job of capturing. With cameras becoming more software capable new ways of capturing are being introduced. Stop-motion for example has always been difficult because the lighting will change between the shots. Now lighting can be adjusted in advance and even control the lighting electronically in software. No more flickering.

With smartphones the interface has been opened up and amazing features are introduced every year. The more high-end camera or SLR (standard lens reflex) from Nikon, Canon, Sony and others haven’t been so eager to innovate. The Old Guard of the established camera companies are sticking to the their old stand-by of put in a few features (usually a little higher ISO, etc.) and release a new camera. Rarely are their cameras updatable in any way other than releasing wireless or GPS add-ons (that cost as much as a smartphone!). They aren’t seeing the bigger picture and it may be too late for them to keep up with this business model.

What is really unfortunate is that there are so many features that haven’t even been touched. For example, in 3D you create a scene and everything is in focus, you can create a ‘depth map’ to blur the objects at different distances. On a camera you set the depth of field which controls what is in focus. Cameras in the 80’s had sonar that could tell exactly where everything was ensuring focus automatically. They could be used to create a depth map similar to what is used in 3D. SLRs could take the image all in focus and you could change the focus on the computer. Then the worlds of 3D modeling and photography would become more seamless.

That is just one example. Hopefully the major camera companies will come to their senses before it is too late and open up their electronics to outside minds.

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