Digital photography – past the tipping point
The run up to Christmas found me once again looking for the digital camera that I want (and many hours at dpreview.com). My requirements are simple (and I’m not deceived by the ‘megapixel madness‘) – I’d like a large imaging area (e.g. 35x24mm), a reasonable size and weight (<600g is probably in the right ball park) and not too expensive (<$1000 seems about right). Basically I want a high end sensor in a consumer body. Nobody makes such a camera, and from what I can tell nobody plans to make one in the foreseeable future. So… I gave up on the specs, and ended up buying a cheap end of line compact that was defined by having a very good image sensor – handy for those low light shots without flash.
My experience since then has convinced me that buying a DSLR would probably have been an error anyway. You can only take pictures when you have the camera with you, and that’s a whole lot more likely when it fits into a pocket rather than requiring its own luggage. I’m willing to concede that a very small lens on a reasonably small DSLR body might just about do the trick, though I somehow feel that being the guy walking around with a camera slung around their neck defines somebody as ‘photographer’. Anyway, I wouldn’t have got this shot with a DSLR, as I had to poke the lens through the bars of the cage:
This particular camera is now my 3rd digital compact, and it seems that the 3rd time is the charm. My first was hopelessly lacking in resolution (at a mere 1.3MP) and the second just wasn’t responsive enough. The best thing about the new model is that it does stuff immediately when you press whatever button. Things also seem to have improved in UI land over the last few years with stuff like transitioning from review mode back to taking pictures.
The improvement in responsiveness seems to have been what was needed to get Rachel to leave behind her 35mm compact and go digital on our recent Christmas holiday. This allowed us to share pictures with family and friends back at home in a way that leaves me questioning the need for hard copy prints. In the end we got some hard copies anyway, with the plan being to create a collage, and every print was good because we had the opportunity to crop and edit and eliminate red eyes before pigment ever met paper. I’m impressed with the quality of some of the highly cropped pictures too. For ages I’d clung on to using a 35mm SLR and a 12MP film scanner for stuff, but now I realise that I’ve still not done anything about the SCSI driver issue I met with the film scanner versus my new PC – and that was almost 2 years ago.
So… it seems digital photography is ‘winning’, and like most things digital it’s winning on convenience more so than quality.
Filed under: photography | 4 Comments
Tags: camera, DSLR, photography