Another “Future of Photography” post

Much in the news of photography today, much of which is not good. First up, our favorite camera store, Penn Camera, has filed for bankruptcy. They’ll be closing stores almost immediately. That leaves only a very few, scattered independent shops in our area, most of which suffer from small product lines.

The logo from 1987 to 2006. "Evolution of...

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Second, Kodak is also filing for bankruptcy. In my opinion, this has been a long time coming, and taking our Kodachrome away was the nail in the coffin. Not that I ever liked Kodachrome. I always thought Fujichrome was a much better film.

Sony Alpha NEX-7

Sony Alpha NEX-7 with 18-55mm lens

Meanwhile, Trey Ratcliff has posted an interesting article on his blog announcing the death of the DSLR. Instead, Trey imagines a future of 3rd generation digital cameras, most without mirrors, and many without even any kind of viewfinder except for the big screen on the back. Indeed, new mirrorless cameras like Sony‘s new NEX-7 offer all of the image quality of today’s APS-C DSLRs in an amazingly compact package. With adapters available allowing a wide ranges of lenses to fit on the NEX cameras, they’re sure to be a hit. The NEX-7 is poised to be a very capable, professional quality camera once some serious lenses are available.

Full circle?

Years ago, professionals relied heavily on superb-quality 35mm rangefinder cameras with interchangeable lenses from Lieca, Nikon, Canon, and others. They loved them for their small size and weight and excellent image quality. A glance at the pages of any new photography magazine shows some of those same players are back at it today, introducing high-end “digital rangefinders” aimed squarely at professional or semi-pro markets.

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5 thoughts on “Another “Future of Photography” post”

  1. It’s sad that Penn is closing, they have been a good store for a long time. Luckily for the DC metro area, Ace Photo is still growing after 20 years in the business. With an inventory rivaling the New York camera stores, Ace has is the largest ( both in size and the sheer amount of products) camera store in the Mid-Atlantic. If you’ve never been to Ace, you should come out. Every single day, new customers come in for the first time and say “WOW! I never knew there was such a gigantic camera store in the area”. We carry EVERYTHING, and we have New York prices. The entire sales staff is comprised of professional photographers who moonlight at the store when they don’t have shoots. We offer every photo product you ever heard of, world class processing, and awesome classes

    …you should check it out. Ask for Frank!

    http://www.acephoto.net

    1. Thanks, Frank, for the tip. How often I’ll get down there, though, is questionable. It’s at least a 1 1/2 hour drive from my home. If I come from work, it would be a rush-hour trip around the D.C. Circle of Death that would take at least two hours. That’s hardly a local camera shop, unless I have some other business in the area.

      I will add the store’s web site to my links page, though, and check their web site out when it’s up and running again… :)

  2. For years, I took thousands of great pix using a 35mm Ashai Pentax. I finally replaced it with a Nikon SLR with a huge gadget back and abou $3k worth of lenses, filters, etc.
    About ten years ago, I got my first cheapo digital and have never looked back. I’m many friends with fancy DSLRs but I’ve found that the SuperZoom crossover Panasonic FZ100 will do more, with a lot less work than my old Nikon. At this point, I seen no reason to spend the money nor the effort to schlep around extra lenses.
    Just MNSHO of course.

    1. Where the superzooms fall down is in the sensor, and critical image quality in low light/high ISO situations. Typically, the sensors are about 1/5 the size of those found in DSLR (or other APS-C sensor cameras). For web posting, computer or TV viewing and, small prints (8×10 or smaller), they do fine. On occasion, you can get a bigger print, but it takes a fair amount of work and luck.

      Whether a superzoom camera will work for you depends on what you expect to see, and your usage. As a professional photographer, I can’t depend on them to produce the image quality that my clients require. — they’re just not capable of doing it.

      Cameras like the Sony’s NEX-7 or NEX-5n, Nikon’s new “1? series, and a few others can finally offer a truly compact camera that produce professional results. But, they still require interchangeable lenses.

      I think we’re going to see a trend towards simpler, smaller is better. A lot of stellar images were made with a Leica or Voightlander rangefinder with a 50mm f/2 lens.

  3. That camera is no nice. I like Son’y camera a lot because even on the digital camera, it can take good quality pictures, and film HD videos. Nice review!

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