Photography in the 21st CenturyPrint
Despite the title, this will not be a discourse on the current state of photography in general, but rather very specifically my take on how I want to pursue photography today. I just bought my latest digital camera – more on that later.
I started out with a film camera in about 1970. The Pentax Spotmatic was a very capable camera for its time, though I eventually replaced it with a series of Canon SLRs. My last Canon film camera was the F-1, which I’d probably still happily be using today had not digital come along when it did.
Looking back, the problem with film cameras was not the cameras and lenses available; it was the limitations of film stock. I shot transparency film almost exclusively – slide film. For years I shot Kodachrome 64, and later Fujifilm 100. With modern digital cameras, relatively low-noise images are feasible at ISOs as high as 3200 or 6400.
Here’s a sample of images captured on slide film, and scanned as digital files:
My new camera is a micro four-thirds Panasonic. It is rated very highly, and is considered a camera appropriate for what the industry labels ‘serious or advanced amateurs.’ It is a seriously capable computer…..errr, camera. But in fact, unlike my old mechanical Canon film cameras, my new camera really is a computer, just one that is designed to capture images. And it has a long list of features, which will take me some time to come to grips with.
How do I feel about my new camera? It’s a tool, and likely a far too complex tool for my tastes. What I want from a camera is that it not come between me and making photos. So I will start out with the camera set on full automatic, and see what kinds of photos it takes. I’m quite sure they will be very good. Maybe not photographically good, but technically quite good – in focus and well exposed. If the compositions are boring, that’s my fault.
Cameras today are different than what I grew up with, but the real question is whether today’s cameras will allow me to capture better images than I used to take. I rather doubt that, because my eye is probably not any better than it was back then.
Ideally I’d have a few sample images from the new camera to share, but I haven’t quite warmed up to the new camera yet. One of these days ...