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.
There's no question that we've seen some major changes in
the last few years. Will 2003 bring some breakthrough technology that
will sweep away all that came before? Or will we see an evolution of
past changes, ones that refine and codify what has by now become standard
practice? With all that in mind we polled our contributors about what
they see for 2003. Some waxed philosophical; others based their
predictions on insider information that has not yet been revealed to
the general public. Their responses ranged from the sublime to the tongue-in-cheek,
with more than a few wish lists thrown in. As you might imagine, digital
thoughts dominate the following essays, although we should note that
some interesting developments in film photography should also be coming
down the pike.
Do we claim to be the final word of what's ahead for 2003? There's
no way we can do that, but we can tell you that whatever happens in
this diverse and exciting field we'll be there to cover it and
to bring you the latest news and technological developments as they
occur. That's one thing we do know about the coming year.
From A Digital Point Of View
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?
As more and more people go digital, medium format has gone into the
tank but with even the least expensive medium format back costing almost
$10,000 you gotta wonder what the dudes who build these things are smokin'.
If two major camera companies can build introductory pro-level digital
SLRs for $2000, why can't somebody build a Hasselblad or Mamiya
digital back using those same chips for $2000? (Sure I understand the
so-called "magnification factor," but the idea is to get
gear in people's hands so they can use the cameras they have now!)
The first company to figure this one out is gonna make a lot of bread
and save the medium format camera industry. Maybe in 2003.
More Affordable D-SLRs?
The $999 (plus battery and charger) digital SLR that uses interchangeable
lenses is around the corner and I wouldn't be surprised if it
doesn't arrive soon. The first company to the finish line with
an introductory level digital SLR that uses lenses that many photographers
already own is the winner. The others will have to play catch-up. Somebody
recently asked me about the viability of an inexpensive digital SLR
with an all-new series of interchangeable lenses designed specifically
for digital use. It's an interesting concept, but give me a camera
body I can use with the lenses that I already own now, not later. The
major players in this game already know this.
In 2003, the Internet won't have the effect it should on imaging
because of the mess the telecommunications industry is in and the lack
of broadband communication outside (and even inside some) major metropolitan
areas. In writing Web Profiles each month, I often run across heavily
multimedia'd sites that simply will not load because of my slow
dial-up connection. When I ask about it, the Webmaster tells me, "I
assumed everybody has a broadband connection." This kind of Marie
Antoinette viewpoint is caused by the lack of a focused national policy
on telecommunications and keeps professional, aspiring pros, and amateur
photographers from realizing the World Wide Web's true potential.
Will this get fixed in 2003? I don't think so, Tim.
Where is film in all of this? Let me tell you a story: Six weeks ago
I did a test shoot with a model. One of the major film companies asked
me to shoot some of their film that they were going to process and return
to me with prints. I exposed four rolls of film, but also shot a hundred
or so exposures using my pro digital SLR. Two days after the shoot the
model had photos from the digital shots on her web site but I'm
still waiting for the processed film and prints to be returned.
What's the message here? Film isn't going away just as platinum
printing hasn't gone away but the number of its practitioners
is going to get smaller and this decrease is going to happen faster
than anybody currently expects. Traditional photographers can just cry
in their beers about this much as the daguerreotypists did when faced
with wet plate photography. This doesn't change the fact that
while we all admire tradition and respect the past, we live in the present
and strive toward the future.
Film & A Hope For An Easier Digicam Experience
Robert E. Mayer
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?
Hopefully, the designers and engineers producing all of the new models
of digital cameras will make a serious attempt to make these products
more user-friendly. Although I have well over 50 years practical experience
using all sizes and types of film cameras, I'm still a beginner
and novice with digital cameras. The several I do have are just such
a royal pain to work with that I seldom experiment and try to learn
how to use them properly. My main gripe is there are just too darn many
controls and buttons scattered around the body on some of them requiring
reference to the instruction book every time I try to use one. They
just are not simple and intuitive to easily use.
I personally like the smaller APS format film, and many of the recent
cameras finally have taken more full advantage of the concept by producing
ever smaller and more interesting cameras. But, the handwriting sure
seems to be on the wall that this format will not be around much longer.
When I recently compiled a chart listing both APS and 35mm film camera
products and features there was a noticeable decline in new APS introductions
and some firms have dropped their APS cameras entirely. A local camera
dealer I just spoke with said APS sales have dropped drastically in
recent months. I believe the well thought out APS concept just ran into
the juggernaut digital camera revolution and could not successfully
I don't see the possibility of many additional improvements in
film technology. Today's color films all have exceptionally fine
grain and are easily processed and printed most anywhere by either one-hour
or overnight labs. It's good that 400 and 800 speed films have
such fine grain today, since many new compact cameras have both a relatively
slow maximum lens aperture and if they have a zoom lens, it too is very
slow in maximum aperture speed at the full telephoto position. Both
of these factors make the use of a fast film almost imperative to get
better flash range and a faster shutter speed in daylight.
It's encouraging to see more and more fine art and even wedding
photographers using black and white film these days. After years of
decline in popularity, black and white has become the "in"
type of film to use for impact. Once again, what's old is what's
new for a new century and generation of photographers.
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.
Most photographers are hoping for the best but are trying to be prepared
for the worst. With corporations sitting on their wallets there's
not a corner of the industry that is a happy place. Wedding photography,
often looked down on by many photographers, seems to be doing well and
attracting more shooters who are seeking new markets.
Digital is the big word, the line in the sand. The huge technology change
has also created a huge learning and cost curve and in many cases a
photographer has to go digital or lose his accounts. With business on
the downslide many photographers are in a panic mode and the costly
equipment is a major consideration.
I think photographers are going to have to be more efficient in the
way they run their businesses. In the past, with money rolling in, good
business practices were often overlooked. With the economy asking people
to be more productive photographers may have to take a long hard look
at new ways to promote their work and must look at their business in
a larger sense if they are to succeed.
Interestingly, photo education is up. School enrollments have escalated
and a lot of people are re-evaluating their lives since 9/11, setting
out to live their dreams and enjoy what they do for a living.
So many forces are changing the photography market and the industry
is indeed in flux. Ad agencies are giving out fewer assignments and
finding other ways to satisfy their clients' marketing needs.
There is more stock being used and the agencies are killing each other
off trying to go royalty free, which is taking a heavy toll on the photographer's
income. Tony Stone began "PhotographersChoice" and for some
photographers it is a chance to pay $75 a shot on site and if the image
sells a percentage will go to the photographer. Perhaps "online"
is the way to go.
What happens in 2003 will depend on how reliably the economy comes back
and when and if the advertising, editorial, and corporate markets loosen
their purse strings.
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.
Man, have things changed. More has changed in the last three years than
in the 25 preceding it. The conversion to digital photography is the
biggest change since the switch to color photography. I spoke recently
with Ken Wilson, owner of Lustre-Color Lab in Massachusetts. He said
last year less than 5 percent of his proofing was from digital files.
This year it's about 25 percent! I don't think anyone in
the industry would have believed these figures three years ago. So now
that it looks like this digital stuff is going to stick around a while,
I'll dig out my crystal ball and turban and try to divine the
future. Of course, I could be wrong, but I can't think of that
ever happening before. OK. Maybe a couple of times. Here goes.
The second generation of digital pro SLRs (Nikon D100, Fuji S2, Kodak
760, Canon D60, etc.) has made many new believers. And well they should.
As good as the first cameras were, the new ones are spectacular. File
sizes are bigger, quality is improved, and more file types are available
as options, such as RAW files that hold more information and allow more
fine-tuning without harming image quality. Will they get better? Of
course. The stakes are high and the winners will reap the financial
A Bold Prediction
With great hardware, we need great software, so I'm going to make
a bold prediction. It's already started to happen, especially
from Nikon and Kodak, but I think we're going to see more sophisticated
yet easier to use software ship with the cameras. It's a pain
in the butt to have to open Photoshop every time you just want to make
a little correction or adjustment. I'd like to see very simple
and inexpensive software that can do basic image editing and correcting
shipped with the camera and not be an extra cost add-on. I think this
would be a big selling feature for the camera. I'd also like to
see someone (Corel?) make a real challenge to Photoshop's dominance.
I don't have anything against Adobe and I use Photoshop 7, but
look how much better our film choices got when Fuji challenged Kodak
in the US market? Competition is good for the consumer.
And how about film? I still love film. I still shoot all my family portraits
on film and have no plans to change anytime soon. It has a beautiful
look, wide exposure latitude, and you can enlarge a medium format negative
to 24x30" and know it will hold together. It also does a better
job of handling deep shadows and hot highlights. The only disadvantage
is cost and the fact that you can't see the results right away.
Hey, bang, light bulb going off in the head! How about a film camera
with a digital capture at the same time for viewing and ordering? Then
just ship the film, tell the lab what number to print and you're
done. I'm not talking about any beam splitter, studio-only contraption
that weighs 87 lbs either, I mean nothing bigger than your current camera.
Man, what a great idea! Whoever makes it, don't forget to send
me the royalty checks! I think I saw George Jetson with one!
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.
While it would be nice to imagine that we'll be able to buy a
9-megapixel camera with a full-size sensor for $1500 by the end of 2003
I suspect it will remain a dream as such a camera will probably cost
The constrained supply for the current camera bodies from Canon and
Nikon show that there is tremendous demand for high-quality digital
camera bodies. When demand exceeds supply prices stay high--it's
a fact of life!
New Tech Coming
There are two new technologies that should be making in-roads in 2003.
One is the Foveon chip and the other is the all-new system demonstrated
at photokina by Olympus and Kodak. If either proves to be any good they
will probably be the most significant cameras on the market in 2003,
as they will appeal to those photographers who do not own Nikon or Canon
Hopefully, rather than see potential customers going to Olympus, which
has always been a potentially strong third player in the field, such
an "Olydak" camera system will encourage Canon and Nikon
to be more price competitive. They might even have to introduce a similar
system as it'll be fascinating to see if smaller lenses, designed
from the outset to work with the smaller CCDs, currently used in digital
bodies, will prove to be better than regular 35mm lenses. Optically
there is a benefit to only using the center part of a lens on current
cameras, which means in theory a regular lens will not be optimal for
use with a full-size chip.
To date the Foveon chip, while showing promise, has remained a bit of
a mystery. Only time will tell if its technology is a significant improvement
over traditional CCD and CMOS chips.
On the prosumer side of the equation my dream is to be able to have
a camera that is instantly on when powered up, has no shutter lag, and
can capture shots without having to wait more than half a second between
shots. That should be easily doable, as it only requires a faster processor
and increased memory buffer. Integrated circuits don't cost much
to manufacture once they have been developed, so there's no reason
why we can't have faster operating cameras costing under $1000.
Beyond that I reckon it'll be difficult to improve on the current
crop of point-and-shoot cameras.
Printing digital images is still a pain for most people. The quality
of prints produced by ink jet printers, such as those from Epson, is
not a problem. The problem is getting consistently good colors and avoiding
the hassle of using a computer. By the end of 2003 hopefully we'll
have printers that are idiot-proof and will not need a computer for
operation. The ones on the market to date have just not been able to
deliver on the promise. Oh, and ink cartridges need to have a higher
capacity and cost less--it's not very clever when it costs
more to do your own printing at home than it does to have them produced
by the latest digital printers in the corner drugstore. Joe Public will
eventually win this battle over the high price of ink in printers.
On the computer side of digital imaging, laptops will begin to take
over from desktop computers. The newest laptop computers are plenty
fast enough and some of them, such as the Apple iMac and PowerBook,
have screens with good enough quality for accurate viewing of digital
images. When you can have a computer that works as well as a desktop
for not much more money, why would anyone want a big box that cannot
be moved easily?
Darryl C. Nicholas
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
The computer industry will continue to crank out bigger and better performance.
DVD recorders will break the $250 price-point, and we will all consider
giving up our CD-R recorders in favor of 4.7GB DVD recorders.
Digital cameras will get faster and higher in resolution. Look for a
10-megapixel camera under $1000 by year's end. Ink jet printers
will get faster; have greater tonal range; and over 100 years of image
stability will be commonplace. Image manipulation software will continue
to evolve and become smarter. Get ready to talk to your software instead
of memorizing keyboard short cuts.
Computers at the consumer level will begin to become "intelligent"
with "eyes" and "ears" to judge your moods and
attitudes; voice recognition that really works; and artificial intelligence
that will allow the machine to perform most tasks with only minimal
verbal instructions from you, all made possible by a new leap forward
in operating systems and a radically new CPU design concept from Intel.
Intel will announce a new family of CPUs that will jump-start us forward
into the era of smart computers that we can talk to. For the first time,
some companies will offer full-featured workstations with no keyboards
in favor of voice control. You will be able to tell your computer to
"brighten the highlights" and "soften the shadows"
in your pictures.
Dial-up telephone connectivity will clearly begin decreasing in popularity
in favor of the various broadband services. Broadband will allow you
to send higher-resolution pictures over the Internet faster by a factor
of times 20.
Cell phones will begin offering Dick Tracy's long-awaited video-phone
service for the masses. Hard-wired, in-house telephones will clearly
begin to decrease in favor of purely cell phone connectivity. Your cell
phone will be wirelessly networked to your home and office computers.
For the first time, it will become commonplace for our home and office
computers to be left "on" 24/7/365. Just like your refrigerator,
you'll shut it down only for maintenance.
For the first time, manufacturers of film scanners will sell fewer than
they did in the previous year due to sagging film sales in favor of
digital cameras at the professional level.
Manufacturers of film, paper, and chemicals will all announce stunning
new wet-darkroom products in a failed attempt to boost sagging sales
of wet-darkroom products and services.
Camera manufacturers will begin offering digital cameras with built-in
cell phone capability to transmit still images immediately to news organizations.
For the first time, a grandchild will ask a grandfather, "Did
people really take pictures with plastic film and chemicals when you
were a little boy?" And, a few days later, a roll of camera film
will be placed on the shelf, next to a flash bulb and a "Brownie"
in your local museum.
David B. Brooks
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.
In spite of the fallout from a disastrous calamity, an economy that's
down and just bumping along, and a future that only seems to raise questions
and doubts, from my perspective I have seen continued movement into
digital by the photographic community on all levels. That more and more
photographers are using computers to work with their images, I believe,
is the significant indicator of what 2003 will look like.
We are used to a high level of progressive technological change in the
digital world that is unprecedented compared to the analog past. But
now added to that are more and more photographers who have a growing
body of experience using a computer and the digital darkroom. I believe
what they do and demand of the industry will become increasingly a factor
in the way photography will grow and change. This has become more and
more evident in the e-mail and other correspondence I receive in response
to my Digital Help department. The most recent questions reflect that
more photographers have learned the basics of the digital darkroom and
are wanting to advance and refine what they do to obtain greater satisfaction
in the photos they are producing using a computer.
Whether the digital photography hardware and software industry is aware
of this growing need for more and better information that supports refined
and competent photography using a computer remains to be seen. But I
do see in software, for instance, an indication of more competition
with companies like Ulead Systems and Corel expanding their reach with
new products for the Apple Macintosh users, which incidentally continues
to increase its share of the personal computer market. I also see companies
like Digital Art Supplies expanding and diversifying what they are offering
that supports digital printing as a serious use of digital photography.
On the other hand, the mainstream PC market is no longer experiencing
the meteoric growth it had become used to, and consolidation has occurred
at a dramatic pace reducing the range of choices that are available.
Although many computer makers market digital cameras, and scanners,
and even bundle low-cost color printers with their PCs, only Sony makes
a serious effort to offer photographers PC machines that are designed
to support photo and video from the ground up. But then, Sony is the
only major player making PCs that also makes both top-selling digital
cameras and video cams. Meanwhile Apple, although they no longer offer
a digital camera of their own, is providing increasingly effective and
elegant support for both digital photography and video.
So, how will 2003 look? Much like 2002 with continued progress and improvement
in what supports the digital darkroom experience; that is, if economics
and politics in both the national and worldwide arenas do not get in
Digital SLRs & Lenses
Peter K. Burian
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.
Lenses: Since optical image stabilizer technology has proven to be successful
in some Nikon and Canon products, expect to see this feature included
in more lenses. Both manufacturers should be expanding their line of
IS and VR models, but I suspect that 1/3 will announce lenses with a
similar technology in 2003.
Four manufacturers already offer lenses with an ultrasonic focus motor
that produces ultra-fast and nearly silent AF operation. Canon and Contax
USM, Nikon AF-S Silent Wave, and Sigma HSM lenses have become very popular.
Surely a couple of other manufacturers are planning to introduce lenses
with ultrasonic focus motors as well, perhaps at the February 2003 PMA
trade show. It would be a logical step for any lens maker.
To date, Canon has announced only one DO lens: with Diffraction Optics
taking the place of low-dispersion elements to correct optical aberrations.
Their EF 400mm f/4L USM DO model is substantially smaller and lighter
than the same lens would be with conventional technology. Of course,
it's also very expensive. Once Canon begins to mass produce diffraction
optics, it should appear in less pricey models, too, though not in the
"very affordable" or entry-level zooms. During 2003, I suspect
that Canon will announce one more "DO" lens, but it's
unlikely that they'll begin to license this technology to any
other manufacturer for some years.
SLR Cameras: The electronic menus that are common on digital cameras
have become familiar tools to numerous snapshooters and serious photographers.
So far, this feature has appeared on only a single SLR camera, the Minolta
Maxxum 7. Although it has received mixed reviews ("too complicated"
or "very logical design") the electronic menu, employing
an oversize LCD data panel, will eventually become standard equipment
on all film-based cameras. In 2003, I would expect to see at least a
couple of models that sport this feature.
Otherwise, I don't expect any significant new features in the
next 12 months. Current models will be replaced with new cameras with
more advanced autofocus and metering systems, faster motor drives, and
so on, but any "revolutionary" technology is unlikely to
appear in 2003.
Digital SLR Cameras: Throughout 2002, we have heard rumors of a new
system including a camera and lenses designed very specifically for
that model. Optimized for the smaller CCD instead of a larger 35mm film
frame, these may indeed produce superior image quality with that digital
If the economy is strong, and if market research indicates that this
concept will succeed, expect other manufacturers to take a similar step.
This would not be difficult for any current manufacturer of SLR cameras
and lenses, and the new lenses could use the same mount as their previous
products. They would simply be smaller and optimized for use with digital
SLR cameras; they may or may not be suitable for use with conventional
Frankly, some lenses are already being designed with digital cameras
in mind, particularly those with very short focal lengths. However,
the manufacturers have not specifically advertised them as "optimized
for digital SLRs." During 2003, that concept is likely to expand
because it's logical and because more and more photographers are
adding a digital SLR camera to their systems.
The cost of developing 6-megapixel SLR cameras has begun to pay off,
so several manufacturers are probably working on 12-megapixel sensors
for use in new models. Some camera makers have yet to introduce a single
digital SLR model, but I do expect them to do so in 2003. Will they
employ a 12Mp sensor? Probably not, since that would make the price
excessively high for the mass market. Besides, a 6 million pixel image
already meets the needs of 90 percent of photographers; the current
models produce image quality that's adequate for a beautiful 11x17"
print, or for a good 12x18" print.
Does the market need many 12Mp models? Will most consumers be willing
to pay substantially more? Probably not, so I don't expect to
see more than a couple of 12Mp models, targeting professional photographers
who have yet to switch to digital. Once they can buy a 12Mp model, many
wedding studios and stock photographers, for example, will move toward
digital. They can justify paying the extra money and probably do need
more resolution than the current 6Mp models can generate.
Ink Jet Printers: In 2002, several models were introduced with "up
to 4880" or "up to 5760dpi" resolution. Whether this
a true benefit or a marketing tool is debatable. Frankly, print quality
is more dependent on ink droplet size and on how ink is laid down on
the paper. In any event, expect to see many more printers with high-resolution
More importantly, we should hear about further development in ink jet
technology for droplets smaller than the current typical 4 picoliters.
More new inks should also be announced, offering a high lightfast rating.
Seven ink colors will also become more common in new models, spurred
on by Epson's May 2002 introduction of the 2880dpi Stylus Photo
2200 that uses a full seven ink tanks, and micro-fine droplets, to make
absolutely stunning, archival 12x18" prints. Should we hold our
breaths waiting for printers that employs eight ink colors? Probably
not. Let's hope that several manufacturers will introduce more
affordable models that produce the same quality and lightfast rating
as the pro caliber printers that were announced this year. That's
not an unreasonable expectation, at least according to my crystal ball
that predicts superb seven color printers starting at $329.
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.
So what does 2003 herald? Sleeker digital cameras, for one, following
the trend begun in 2002, with ever higher resolution and enhanced functionality.
While a slimmed-down camera is nice, it would be nicer still for it
to deliver the kind of functionality that comes with the heftier models--but
not at a hefty price. Manufacturers will be ever more price-conscious,
although the world economy may influence that trend either way, subject
to the geopolitical climate. Still, digital cameras will continue to
be priced higher than conventional cameras, feature for feature. On
the other hand, the almost toy-like quality of some of the newer, more
hip-looking digicams will herald a new generation of users among teens.
Moreover, portable devices, such as cellular phones, PDAs, and MP3 jukeboxes,
will increasingly take on more of a multimedia role, as we've
seen them start to do in 2002. Will the quality of a digital camera
option on these devices compete with a stand-alone digital camera? No,
but for many consumers, convenience is as important as picture quality,
if not more so.
Finally, with the proliferation of digital cameras, we will see an even
more dramatic decline in design, development, marketing, and sales of
APS cameras. As digital cameras get better and better, easier to use,
and more affordable, we can expect to see them compete handily with
35mm point-and-shoots, especially in 2003 by the holidays. The design
and development of 35mm SLRs will move forward, spurred on by the need
to adapt these cameras to the digital market--and based on their
traditional standing in the photographic community.
Oh, and one more thing on the digital front. The variety of memory media
will increase, confusing consumers even more. The good news is that
ever increasing numbers of digital cameras will support at least two
discrete forms of memory card. The trend will be a move more toward
the new xD-Picture Card and enhanced SD and Multimedia cards--and
cards of this ilk, and away from the larger CompactFlash and SmartMedia,
although CompactFlash (in the form of the IBM Microdrive) will continue
to hold sway in high-end digital SLRs.
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.
2. Ritz Camera will buy McDonalds. "Point-and-Shoot With
3. Casio-DaimlerChrysler will introduce the world's smallest
digital camera and will begin a search for a person with fingers tiny
enough to operate it.
4. Online photofinishing services Ofoto, Shutterfly and Snapfish
will merge to form Shuttersnap O'Flyfish.
5. Kodak, Fuji merger talks will break down. The deal-breaker
will be whether to call the new company Fudak or Kofu.
6. Microsoft-AOL/Time/Warner-Bell Atlantic will announce the
Global Positioning Camera. "Now photographers will know exactly
where to stand," Bill Gates will say.
7. Microsoft will buy the entire photo industry; cameras will
now be called "Explorers."
8. Fortune-Business Week will proclaim, "Film Is Dead.
Really. This Time It Really Is. We're Not Kidding."
9. In a last ditch effort