Press-Republican

Guest Column

January 12, 2014

Tech brings more chances for good and mischief

In the old days (pre-1980), if you invested in a quality camera like a single lens reflex, the only things you bought after that were film and various accessories like camera bags and additional lenses.

And, unless you dropped it from a moving car, you didn’t buy another camera for the rest of your life. Today many of us own several digital cameras, lured by the astonishing progress in the technical specifications: more megapixels, which generally means higher resolution photos; more sensitive light sensors, which means clearer, crisper pictures; built in telephoto lenses (up to 60x at this writing); shorter lag times between shots; and smaller in size and weight — not to mention less and less expensive, giving us more bang for the buck.

Also changed is the way we take our pictures. When we had to carry rolls of fairly expensive film to record our adventures, we very carefully took one, two or at most three shots of a scene in the hope that one would turn out well. After a trip to the drugstore, who sent them off to a photo lab, we waited impatiently for two weeks to get our prints and slides and negatives back, before embarking on the last stage of sticking them into a photo album or carousel or shoebox to be retrieved once or twice per year at various family gatherings.

Nowadays, with digital cameras that take multiple pics per second, I can take 10 to 15 snaps and be quite certain one of them will be good  — blissfully unaware of all the time I will spend later on my computer winnowing them down to the one or two best shots. After that arduous process I can upload them to an online photo service and post them on their or a multitude of other free websites inviting whomever I wish to view them. If I feel a bit old school, I have prints or a photobook made.

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