Future Photos Trends: Simply Click

Dennis Faas's picture

Back in 1888, George Eastman started selling the new $24 “Kodak”, saying “press the button, we do the rest.” All a snap shooter had to do was shoot, then mail the “box camera” back to Rochester NY, where Kodak processed the film and sent back small black & white prints along with the reloaded camera. By the way: for the young photographers, cameras back then were all mechanical, without light meters, and were pre-set for taking pictures on bright sunny days. ;-)

Fast forward 117 years to the digital age.

We are still hearing “Press the button, we do the rest!” Of course, the image quality has greatly improved since those early days, but now manufacturers are striving to add features and automate the process.

Sharing photos is the reason to take pictures, so the newer models to grow in size, reversing a trend towards small one-hand-only cameras that have been coming out in the past couple of years. Cameras are being forced to get bigger because of bigger LCD screens in the back, making viewing and sharing photos easier.

Cameras are also getting “a lot more in-camera software,” says Nikon’s Director of Marketing, Bill Giordano, who tells how the newer cameras will automatically remove the “red-eye” created by the flash, eliminating the need to open files in the computer. Hint: Red-eye can also be eliminated by using a shoe-mounted strobe, which also yields a better looking picture.

Another idea for sharing memories with family and friends is Kodak’s plan to add WiMAX technology from AT&T to send photos up to the internet for real-time sharing. Look for the next generation of EasyShare cameras to go wireless, with images automatically organized by date. Now I ask you, do we want to share EVERY moment? It might be wise to stop for a moment, hold off going real-time and make sure some photos get deleted.

In the film era, I would send prints along with my Christmas card, but today I merely e-mail animated Christmas cards to friends and tell everyone to log-on to my photo album on the net. You can be my guest. Go to FotoTime.com and type in 'domketx(at)sbcglobal.net'. Anytime, 24/7.

Many photogs feel that the internet is a good place to archive images. Fototime lets you upload any size file and format, so I send my 20 mg Tiff file (suitable for a high quality 11x14) online and it is saved on their server, backing up my computer as well. For those of you who fear CDs becoming obsolete, this is a good alternative for preserving the important moments in your life. (Note: Be careful. Some “internet albums” only take low-res jpeg.)

ACD Systems joined U3.com to create a portable operating system. In December, they introduced a portable Windows XP device that will sync up to any hard-drive. No need to know the password when logging onto someone else's computer. ACD’s PhotoSee program comes with auto back-up and can save a low res thumbnail on the hard-drive to share with the next user.

Camera dealers fear that cell phones will replace digital cameras. With the picture quality getting better there may be reason to worry, especially since many phones already link to the internet.

I’ve always admired Sony’s pioneering designs and innovations, like the idea of writing images directly to a CD. Even though this meant you had to wait for the camera to save the images to the CD, the images were undeletable and easy to copy off the CD. However, Sony no longer saves to a CD. New cameras are multi-functional, using a memory stick and/or memory card.

In November Sony introduced the Cyber-shot line, which features “clear photo LCD plus,” has a CMOS chip instead of the CCD which according to Sony means longer battery life and better image quality.

The N1 model is their compact camera with a touch screen replacing tiny buttons. It also comes with a pencil (stylus) that enables you to draw “paint” and write on the image. The M2 camera, which looks like a cell phone, includes a built-in “photo album” like that of the N1 along with one for making prints. It also creates another low-res VGA (640 x 480 pixel) file for viewing in the camera.With 57 Meg of built-in memory it will store 1,100 images (compared to only 500 images in the N1).

Put your "album" in your pocket and you will always have some photos to share with a friend while you wait for lunch to be served. Or, you can hook the camera up to the monitor in the company’s conference room, and let everyone see what you did over the Christmas holiday. Simply press the button, and the camera does the rest.

- By J.G. Domke / jim(at)jgd-reporting.com

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