Changing Times

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by jvgig, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. jvgig

    jvgig TPF Noob!

    Sep 26, 2007
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    There have been many very critical threads in the past few months regarding the new technologies showing up in the upcoming generation of dslrs. While I can see that some would never use some of the features, it just seems rather ridiculous to disregard a camera as inferior just because it has a few extra features. In a digital world stills and video are exactly the same thing except for the fact that one is a series of the other stored in a single file. Canon's 50D announcement with its addition of face recognition also met harsh criticism. Why would it be a bad thing for a camera to be able to recognize certain patterns and apply a preset set of settings? You could very easily customize this to your liking which could be a significant advantage in certain settings: instead of changing the the camera mode to one of your own presets, you could just point your camera and it could do it for you instantly. It would not even have to be limited to faces, you could say if you see this pattern within these limits, then apply settings X. This could also lead to variable iso across the sensor.

    I don't think anyone is arguing that these features will be perfect the first round through, but they have to start somewhere. Maybe the video will be glitchy in the D90, maybe the face detection will only be fully auto in the 50D, but in the D120, or the 70D, you may be able to do amazing things with these seemingly useless features. It seems to be a very similar debate to autofocus which is now widely accepted and crucial to many applications.

    I believe the only reason that these technologies came out on P&S style cameras first is that they are less precise and therefore do not need to as reliable. Face detection requires a lot of computing power, video requires sensors manufactured to a much higher standard. These are much easier on small sensors where the user has very limited manual settings. You can write a code that never needs external input which vastly limits the variables. The physical size of the sensor makes heat management much easier.

    What is next? Maybe an audio processor? Maybe vector images? Maybe super high variable iso with a dynamic range greater than the human eye? All that is certain is that as technology increases, more devices can and will be combined. If you are a professional photographer that has a camera that is capable of taking crystal clear gigapixel images with a full dynamic range at 1000fps, why not add video and audio capabilities to the same device? Every aspect of computer technology is increasing, so it will only be a matter of time until this is all possible. Those who refuse to accept such technologies will only end up limiting themselves as the next generation grows up embracing them. Good luck getting a future job in photojournalism or in sports photography when you refuse to use that video feature that just runs in the background because it is a gimmicky feature that no professional would ever want.

  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Oct 26, 2003
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    I think the criticism they get is not "the feature is useless". It's more a case of "I can't believe they spend money on this ****!" It is a clear sign that the marketing department is taking over the R&D direction. Yes the camera is as good as the previous generation but that is exactly the problem that angers the purist photographers.

    Why is the camera as good as the last? Because the R&D budget is blown on things we didn't need. Instead the 50D has a 15mpx sensor instead of the 10mpx. Where's the investment in Fovern sensors, or the experimentation Nikon did with JFET amplification in the Nikon D2H. This may not be a problem now with only a few of these gimmicks but it's a step in a very bad direction.

    The new cameras appeal more and more to the masses and less to the professionals. The D300/D700 caused some of us to drown in our own drool with the high iso performance in such a tight budget. I don't think it's even been mentioned here that it has liveview. Conversely I haven't seen much discussion on the the D60/D90/50D with relation to image quality. Just "and high ISO is slightly better OMG IT HAS VIDEO"
  3. Drake

    Drake TPF Noob!

    Nov 19, 2007
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    Very true. I am kind of a minimalist when it comes to equipment. I used to like stuff with just as many features as I'd use, nothing more. When I was getting my xti, I already knew xsi was soon to be on sale, but I thought I didn't need it's features. Live view? What, to make me look like a snapshooter with an ultra-zoom p&s? No way. And now when I see all the new consumer cameras, I start to regret a bit. I mean I love my camera, always will, but I bought it just half a year ago, and all the new ones are already way ahead. I am not talking specific about the live view, just general about some features.

    Now I've got a different opinion than half a year ago. Nothing against any new features, as long as I will be able to turn them off and use my camera the way I want.
  4. JHF Photography

    JHF Photography TPF Noob!

    Jul 18, 2007
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    I think Garbz has hit the nail on the head with his post. I know for myself, instead of things like video capabilities, I would WAY rather see things like improved dynamic range, even better high ISO performance, better sensor designs, etc, etc, etc.

    Why spend the budget on new and somewhat gimicky options that we don't REALLY need, when they could be spending it on improving the existing technology, and blowing our minds like they did with the D3/D700 performance?

    Because that's what the average consumer wants to see, DSLR's that are no different than their little P&S's.
  5. Thanks jvgig to take the time to express those thoughts. The only people with the bullhorn these days (in all matters, not just photo gear) are the ones angry about stuff they don't understand.

    I think new features are great. I won't use some of them either, but every feature will find its niche. Remember, there are people who used to complain about built-in light meters, or spools of pre-cut film.

    Look, the whole dSLR is a compromise driven by marketing. The design doesn't make sense in the digital age. It's really a means of taking advantage (at its inception) of an existing market of prior film SLR owners, and the fact that the market perceives SLRs as "more serious". Now it's grown so large that it must be considered to be a self-supporting market.

    But in the digital age, you don't actually need a mirrorbox/film-shutter/retrofocus design. If anything, the most revolutionary design announcement to date is the micro Four/Thirds design.

    Every company will try to include every piece of technology it has developed. LiveView is a good example, and not that difficult. The camera companies were already used to taking the data off the sensor and playing it back. But SLRs have mirrors in the way... but most also have Mirror Lock-Up. Then they combined those, and created LiveView. Now the processors and memory are also big enough to record this data, so suddenly they can offer video. Ironically enough, there's little R&D here - AND they get to satisfy another segment of the market by including video. And if it becomes a desired feature, ALL the camera manufacturers will include it.

    There's three main components to camera design: the hardware, the firmware, and the sensor. The manufacturers have LOTS of experience with hardware. Sensor development is a BIG deal, and there are actually only a few sensor companies out there. Many camera manufacturers license or buy their sensors from other companies. The firmware is simpler, and a lot of the developments we're seeing are primarily firmware based. This is not to be underestimated - and none of it can be done without interacting with the other segments of design - but this isn't exactly heavy-duty R&D either.
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Aug 25, 2003
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    "Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not important." -Henri Cartier-Bresson

    The technology of photography has been constantly changing and generally improving since the beginning. Here's a far from complete time line. If the predictions of what's going to happen to computer technology in the next 20 to 30 years are true then photography may be radically different technology-wise in the next few decades from what we have now. Yet what makes a good photo will still be the same as what it was 150 years ago.

    300 BC: The optical principles of the pinhole camera are understood by the Chinese and the Greeks. Aristotle knows how the optics of the eye work.

    200 AD: Magic Lantern (simple projector with lens) used in China.

    1000 AD: Alhazen builds the first camera obscura (box, often room sized, with hole or lens that projects image on to interior wall).

    1500 AD: Artists were probably using camera obscuras. Leonardo Da Vinci writes about the camera obscura.

    1727: J. Schulze accidentally discovers the first photo sensitive compound.

    1750: Artists using camera obscuras.

    1800: Camera Lucida patented (although it's probably 200 years older). The camera lucida is a very portable optical device using a prism that allows an artist to sort of trace scenes before them. T. Wedgewood begins making "sun pictures" (like photograms) using photo sensitive paper.

    1816: Niepce puts photo sensitive paper in a camera obscura.

    1826: Niepce creates the first permanent image created with photo sensitive materials.

    1834: Henry Fox Talbot, discouraged with his sketches using a camera lucida, uses paper coated with silver iodide to create a negative, which is fixed with potassium bromide, and then contact printed to create a positive. He calls the process Talbotype. It's the first negative-positive photo process. Fox Talbot

    1837: Louis Daguerre creates the Daguerreotype process, and begins to market it. Daguerreotype creates a single, irreproducible photograph. which is actually a negative, but because it's on a polished mirror looks positive.

    1841: Talbot begins marketing his Talbotype, or Calotype process.

    1851: Frederick Scott Archer publishes, but does not patent (meaning anyone can use it without paying patent fees) his wet plate collodion process which creates negatives on sheets of glass. Wet plates must be prepared and processed at the time of exposure. The process is inexpensive compared to Daguerreotype, creates much more detailed photos than calotype, and allows for unlimited reproduction.

    1857: Several forms of direct positive photography are available: ambrotypes, and tintypes or ferrotypes .

    1878: Commercially produced dry plates are available. Photographers can purchase or make their own dry plates ahead of time, and processing isn't necessary immediately after exposure.

    1880: Eastman Dry Plate Company (Kodak) is founded.

    1889: George Eastman introduces a camera which comes pre-loaded with roll film. When all the exposures are made the camera is returned to Kodak for processing marking the first time in history photographers didn't have to have access to a darkroom. The sales slogan is "You press the button - We do the rest.", and thus with the introduction of film snap shot photography is invented.

    1892: 35mm film available for movie cameras.

    1900: Eastman introduces the easy to use Kodak Brownie. It is easily loaded with film in the daylight, and is marketed as so simple that even children can become photographers.

    1906: High quality, panchromatic, BW film becomes available. The color separation method begins to be used for color photographs.

    1907: Autochrome plates are available. This is the first commercially available color photographic process.ère

    1914: Oscar Barnack builds a tiny still camera that uses small format, 35mm motion picture film.

    1917: Nippon Kogaku (Nikon) company founded.

    1924: First Leica 35mm camera.

    1928: First Rolleiflex twin lens reflex camera (6cm x 6cm).

    1931: Edgerton develops strobe photography.

    1932: Color photographic process and cameras available for making movies.

    1934: Fuji founded.

    1936: Kodachrome (color positive film) is introduced. The Exacta camera is introduced; it is the ancestor of the 35mm style SLR and DSLR.

    1942: Kodacolor (color negative film) is introduced.

    1948: First Hasselblad camera (medium format roll film SLR). Pentax introduces the automatic diaphragm (aperture). Polaroid sells instant black and white film.

    1949: First 35mm SLR with a pentaprism viewfinder (Zeiss Contax S).

    1959: Nikon F introduced.

    1963: Color Polaroid available. Kodak introduces the Instamatic.

    1973: C-41 color negative process introduced.

    1975: First CCD digital still camera.

    1985: Minolta markets the first autofocus 35mm SLR.

    1987: Canon introduces the EOS system (the first highly electronic SLRs).

    1990: Adobe Photoshop released.

    1991: Kodak creates the first digital SLR from a Nikon 35mm SLR.

    1999: Nikon introduces the first APS-C format DSLR.

    2003: Canon introduces the first sub- $1000 APS-C format DSLR.

    2005: Canon introduces the first 35mm format DSLR with a regular size body.

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