2/2/09 - This year in Photography

This year in Photography

January has come and gone. It seems like time just keeps going faster. And technology in digital photography is no different. It used to be that you purchase a camera and it was many years before you out grew it or needed another camera. Not so with digital cameras. I guess we can liken them to the computer. When you first get a new digital camera you're amazed at the quality and speed. After a couple years of use they seem slow and everyone around you seems to have better one.

I think 2009 will be a little bit of a slow down in advancements. I'm not saying there won't be anything new, I'm just think we won't see huge leaps and bounds like in the past five years. Improvements will be less visible concentrating on improving internal functions like correcting for optical short comings of the lens and increased internal speed. I also believe we will finally see more budget models with less bells and whistles. I don't think cameras will get any smaller but they might get thinner. One area to watch is the micro four thirds movement. These cameras will produce the results of SLRs in a much smaller package and will have interchangeable lens. I would say it takes us back to the days of range finder cameras in a smaller package.

Point and Shoot cameras will continue to have more computer aided intelligence. I expect that someday the camera will actually shoot the pictures for you, all you do is turn it on and point. Several years ago I thought that the point and shoot would be replaced by the cell phone camera. It makes sense because you always have your cell phone with you so why would you want to take another device. Well, we haven't seen that yet but I do think the cameras in cell phones will get better and more usable. Until then camera manufactures will continue to improve the quality of point and shoot digital cameras hoping to keep ahead of cell phone technology.

In SLRs, I don't expect any huge changes. Mega pixels will increase and speeds will improve. Face detection will be added and most will do some video. Prices should remain about the same but I bet we will see more budget models. We might even see some manufactures pull out of the SLR category. I think those companies will move to the four thirds/micro four thirds design. I also think we might see a swivel monitor appear on a SLR. Live view is almost standard and it just makes sense that you would want to move the monitor around for better viewing.

As for pictures, I unfortunately think that printing will continue to decrease. I don't like to see this because I think it's a great way to preserve images. It's much harder to throw a print in the garbage than it is to press the delete button. Printing at home will increase but only slightly. And home printing will get better in regards to longevity. Photo gifts will increase. It seems you can put a photo on just about everything these days. We at Leo's will be taking a good hard look at expanding in this area. I'd like to produce books, cards, and calendars sometime this year.

Well, there you have it, my thoughts. I could be completely wrong or I could be partially right. I must warn you though, I think about this every year and I'm still amazed when the announcements are made. This industry shocks me every year with new technology, stuff that I didn't even think about, so don't be surprised if I'm totally in left field.