What Is Ahead For 2003
The Assignment We Gave Our Writers, What Is Coming In Film And Digital Photography In The Year Ahead
My litmus test for a good
fortuneteller is whether he or she can tell me who will win tomorrow's
third race at Belmont. I like my fortunes to be practical, and let circumstance
take care of the rest. Photographers need a bit more information, as
many times what's ahead can determine what they buy and use today,
when they need it. Big changes can mean instant obsolescence, a true
problem for those investing their hard-earned dollars in their working
gear. But what's ahead can affect more than just what you intend
to buy--it can give you a sense of how photography is going to
change, and whether that change will be meaningful in a way that will
add to your creative kit.
What happens next year in imaging depends not just on the technology mavens but also on all kinds of geopolitical events that can only be guessed at as we go to press. Since I'm always looking to stick my neck out, here goes:
Medium Format Moves?
More Affordable D-SLRs?
Film & A Hope For An Easier Digicam Experience
Anybody that has used a long telephoto lens knows they either have to use a sturdy tripod, or fast shutter speed, or both to obtain sharply detailed images. There are several brands of tele-zoom lenses that now include optional internal image stabilization capability allowing them to be used handheld at slower shutter speeds and still obtain excellent images. This, in my estimation, is one of the more significant innovations of recent years. Therefore, I believe this helpful function will be offered in a wider variety of telephoto lenses in the near future since it's such a desirable extra feature.
Ease Of Use?
For The Future
I can only give you some
thoughts on 2003 that have come my way in conversations with photographers
so I hope they may be of some help. A New York photographer cites the
example of walking a path and sighting a large boulder that blocks his
way. "You can kick and scream," he says, "or walk
around it." That's the reality of our economy today.
I've been in the photo
industry for about 25 years. Yes, there was color film and printing
when I started, but it wasn't all that great. You could still
have things done in black and white if you wanted to save a few bucks.
A typical session was 8-10 shots. I did passport photos on a view camera
shooting 5x7 film with a split back. And 35mm cameras were for amateurs.
A Bold Prediction
Lens & Ink Jet Tech
A year ago when a 3-megapixel
D-SLR camera body cost at least $3000 we were all hoping that by now
we would be able to get a 6-megapixel camera for the same price. Reality
proved better as 6-megapixel camera bodies have appeared and they only
cost around $2000.
New Tech Coming
Our photographic imaging
industry is now irreversibly linked to the computer industry. As computers
go, so goes the photographic industry. If you are one of those still
clutching a roll of film and a bottle of chemicals, you need to seek
Not long before being informed
of this assignment to comment on what I think 2003 will be like in photography,
I heard a somewhat credible rumor of a major technology breakthrough
in digital imaging that was supposed to be announced officially in the
fall of 2002. Not long after writing this current bit of prognostication,
I would be very surprised even if such a technology breakthrough will
affect 2003 very much. Photog-raphy, even digital photography, does
change and 2003 will be different than this year, but mostly because
of what has transpired all across the photo community gradually and
accumulatively leading into another new year.
Digital SLRs & Lenses
Although most manufacturers
are devoting the majority of R&D dollars to digital gear, we should
still see some advances in conventional SLR cameras and accessories.
Here's a sampling of what I see coming in the year ahead.
Digicams, New Memory Cards & Bye-Bye APS
It's not so much that
2003 will herald any dramatic changes in traditional and digital imaging.
For that to happen, it would require a major overhaul in chip technology,
and that is several years away, at best. While one day we may see nano-technology
playing an adaptive, if not interactive, role in the way we take and
manipulate pictures before they even get to the computer, for now we'll
have to settle for cameras with improved available-light measuring capability,
an enhanced interface between flash and camera, faster and more positive
autofocusing, and speedier processing particularly in digital cameras.
While the technology exists to activate a camera or color viewfinder
automatically and to detect what our eye is actually focusing on (putting
control more in our hands), these are yet baby steps to what we can
look forward to.
1. Hasselblad will
introduce PFFT, the Divorce Camera, which features a unique split-screen
back that permits wedding photographers to capture photographs that
can later be instantly altered to remove ex-wives, husbands, and in-laws
from wedding- day images.
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