Sunday, April 16, 2017

Comparing cameras

On the left is a 2003 marvel of technology. The quick rundown is that it is 3 megapixel, one of the first image stabilized super zooms and did VGA video.

On the right is a marvel of 2012 technology. The quick rundown is that its is 12 megapixel, has image stabilization and high definition video.

The camera on the left cost $500 from Best Buy. The camera on the right I paid $60 for the camera, $60 for the lens, $10 approx for the strap, lens cap and polarizing filter. New, I'm sure that lot would have cost about the same as the Best Buy purchase.

What has all this technology done in the intervening decade? Not much to be honest. The image size is bigger but that's really about it. They've tinkered with ISO speeds raising a 400 max to 12,800, tinkered with image size and gone from standard AA batteries to some funky-ass lithium firebomb. That's it. That's all a decade of development has produced. It's as though camera companies have been happily sitting on their thumbs for a decade.

I can take a video with the Canon and publish it on YouTube and it will be indistinguishable from a video taken with the Olympus. By the time the video has been viewed at VGA resolution, there's no discernible difference. To be honest, who wants to spend the time downloading high resolution videos anyway? The content quality just is not worth spending the time on, even on professionally produced commercial videos. They're just moving wallpaper.

I can take a photo with the Canon and compare it with one taken on the Olympus. While the size is larger, that's the only difference. Viewed and shared online there is no difference. Who wants to spend the time downloading a high resolution image of Machu Pichu? We've all seen it - a grey stone ruin on top of a green hill surrounded by forests. No point in downloading yet another image and spending the bandwidth nor the storage space.

Photography in the last decade has become disposable. Nobody wants to lug a camera around and why should they? The photo of the two cameras was taken with my tablet. Even I don't use a camera very often now. Sure, I'll use one if I go on a special trip but 90% of the time even the worst photo from the cheapest cellphone will do.

Look online and you'll find cellphone images everywhere. A photo of aunt Maud and Uncle Albert standing in front of the pizza house or the White House or their own house. It's a matter of personal family record and that's it. No more, no less. There's no need for a high quality image.

When people pass away, what are the images their heirs treasure? Not the 50,000 photos of a perfume bottle standing on a table but the family photos. Content trumps everything.

The change in focus of photography toward disposable imagery has pretty much killed the passion many held for photography. That and the fact it's no longer a challenge. When it was harder to take good photos, there was an interest and a challenge. Now that every camera from the last decade can take well saturated, well focused, blur free images and in fact so can just about every cellphone and tablet, the interest has gone for most. That leaves me feeling somewhat of a dinosaur!

I'm going to have to say there's no difference really between any of the cameras/phone cameras produced in the last decade. I'll get pundits arguing against me but that's par for the course online. They will show me pretty pictures and explain at length why they think I'm an arsehole. The reality is that a picture is a picture; content is still king and every camera from the last decade will produce an equally acceptable image.

No comments:

Post a Comment