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Author Topic: Five ways the digital camera changed us  (Read 5081 times)

Offline Simon

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Five ways the digital camera changed us
« on: January 12, 2012, 21:52 »
Photography firm Kodak has run into hard times, with critics suggesting it has failed to effectively adapt to digital. But four decades ago Kodak was credited with building the first digital camera, an innovation that has changed the world.

The first was a box the size of a small coffee machine with a cassette stuck to the side.

Little did anyone know when it took its first image in 1975 that this Heath Robinson-esque prototype would nearly obliterate the market for camera film and turn us all into potential Robert Doisneaus or Henri Cartier-Bressons, recording everything from the banal to the beautiful on our mobile phones.

Steven Sasson invented that boxy first digital camera for Kodak. But the company has struggled to fully profit from its invention, and with its share price plunging last year there has been growing disquiet about the company's prospects.

Now, according to Samsung, 2.5 billion people around the globe have a digital camera.

The advent of digital has changed the traditional camera, but its most revolutionary aspect has been the advent of the camera phone.

In 2011 big breaking news stories - from the capture and killing of Colonel Gaddafi to outbreaks of serious looting in England's summer riots - were captured on camera phones.

But when the camera was first put together with a phone, they were seen as strange bedfellows.

"I remember Sony Ericsson in 2001 showed off a phone with a clip-on camera," says Jonathan Margolis, a technology writer for the Financial Times. "Along with everyone else, I thought 'why would you want a phone with a camera?'"

Although standalone digital cameras were widely popular by 2005, it was the mobile phone, and especially the smartphone that brought digital photography to the masses.

The impact on professional photographers has been dramatic. Once upon a time a photographer wouldn't dare waste a shot unless they were virtually certain it would work.

Margolis recalls the story of a photographer working in Berlin in 1939. The man had eight photographic plates - eight pictures - to use in six weeks of work. "He'd be covering Nazi rallies and would go the week before to plan it like a film shot, making sure he got the right angles. In the end, out of the eight plates he got four award-winning photos."

Even when rolls of film were at their most popular, photography could be an expensive hobby for the amateur.

But now in the digital age there is almost no consequence or cost to taking pictures, beyond charging the phone or dedicated camera.

The most popular camera used on photo-sharing website Flickr is actually an iPhone, says Nate Lanxon editor of technology site wired.co.uk. The rise of the camera phone means that compact digital cameras are on the way out, with only the larger digital SLR cameras - used by keen amateurs and professionals - doing good business.

Now the iPhone 4S has a resolution of eight megapixels, not far off that of the bottom end of 10 megapixels carried by most cheap cameras.

But how have digital cameras changed us?

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Offline Rik

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Re: Five ways the digital camera changed us
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2012, 09:26 »
Completely. ;)


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