Relax, there are photos at the end of this. But I read this last night and I suggest you go and read the original (and use the links at Thom Hogan’s page to get your next lot of film from B&H: support a good critic and keep analog going. He’s talking electronic here.
…. just saw another private report this past week that predicted what would be 30% upswing in ILC camera sales by 2018. There’s just one problem with that report: not a single person can tell me why we’d have 30% more buyers in a few years, let alone the author of that report. They can’t point to a camera idea that they think will drive that. It’s as if they magically think that the camera buying public—who’s currently deserting the market in dramatic double digits a year—will suddenly discover their folly and come back to cameras that just have more pixels, more features, incremental performance gains.
Not going to happen folks.
What has to happen is simple, and I’ve been saying it for seven years now: the camera needs to be reinvented. Workflow is a huge part of that.
Maybe I should just stop using the word workflow, because even some of you reading this who have that problem just don’t resonate with that word. How about this: convenience? Substantive improvements in convenience will make me want to buy a new camera. 1.18x more resolution won’t (that’s 50mp versus 36mp, by the way). Heck, even half the weight and size for the same results wouldn’t excite me as much as this scenario:
Before heading off to Patagonia in March, set my camera to reflect that (file name = YYYYMMDD_Patagonia_SUBLOCATION_SEQUENCE#). Hmm, SUBLOCATION and SEQUENCE# seem to be variables (as is YYYYMMDD, actually). When I move to a new location within Patagonia, I just pick it from a predefined list I made before the trip (I know where I’m going ;~). Better still, the camera uses its GPS or a connection to my smartphone to figure out the SUBLOCATION.
Whenever I get within communication distance of my computer, the camera automatically moves all files over to the computer. This is verified by the two upon completion of the move, as well. Whenever my portable computer has the bandwidth to do so, it automatically sends a copy of the files to my archive, which lives in the cloud. This, too, is verified. When I get home the laptop automatically moves and integrates my images onto my desktop machine and into my chosen image browser. Status of these things are clearly shown to me on at least one convenient display on the camera, and on the computer.
When I chimp on my camera, I can start the select/output process by marking these files in numerous ways (selects, send to Facebook, send via email to Mom, etc.). And yes, when those files get to my computer, the things that can and should be done automatically are, and when I ask my photo editing program to show me my current selects, I see just them.
That alone would cause me to upgrade my D810 to a D811, my E-M1 to an E-M2, and so on. It would also be a selling point to the smartphone crowd: want better quality but the same convenience?
Frankly, I’m not sure why the camera companies are in a panic. There’s actually a huge opportunity sitting out there for the one who figures out the real problem and the real answer to it first.
When I am at home I have a quiver of cameras, for different jobs and different moods. Doing scenery and not worrked about fast autofocus? Medium format: either a TLR or rangefinder, and both are from Mamiya.
Need to add street photography but want the ability to change up and shoot scenery? 35 mm Rangefinder — with either internal metering or a Gossen Digisix on the hotshoe. Alternatively, Ricoh GXR — APS in a cheap small and discreet size, and I can use the same lenses for both digital and film.
want really fast autofocus? Or Macro? Or wildlife? Nikon one.
But if I want to do all my big question is how far I will be travelling. If it is car based and I have a very fast computer to deal with big, big photos — DLSR. I like my Nikon D800 and I don’t think the iterations (D810 and the 50 MP Fx which is surely planned) are going to make me want to move on. If I want to carry the kit a long distance or am travelling, Micro 4/3, which can do almost everything well enough.
But consider workflow.
For analogue (film) it is easy — send the film to Reatha if colour and get her to scan it: I can develop black and white develop myself,but not scan as well as she can. (There is a huge problem with scanners. You have to get them locally and slide/film scanners are specialized things, not easily available in NZ. If you get one from overseas — after being clobbered by duty and GST — you better make sure that it can handle NZ voltage or you will brick it). When I get the scans in dropbox, then convert them for export, or send to directly off for printing.
For colour it is worse. Download into shotwell, which at least puts things in date order, and extracts JPEGs. Open Rawtherapee or Darktable. Manipulate until correct. Export. Or… for the Nikon one, if using social media, download photos to phone (use “recommended” not raw), and then post them to dropbox and facebook.
What electronic cameras need to be able to do is share the jpegs freely (lofi) and then use the cloud to backup the RAW files for when you need them.
But at present, that half occurs. In part this is because bandwidth, particularly in the wild places, is via 4G, which is very expensive. In part it is because the tools we have don’t talk well to each other. In the analogue world this all happened in the lab. But the lab is now bits.
Google has this automation working for Android phones (probably better than Apple does with icloud) The Camera makes would be wise to leverage the work done by these organization,s particularly as a fair amount of it is under open source licensing.
And now some Nikon One photos — doing what it does best, dealing with rapid focus of flowers mainly, while a strong nor-easterly is blowing — the embedded JPEGs, extracted by Shotwell
Nikon One V3, 18mm F 1,8 lens wide open. It’s worthwhile noting that the wind was blowing these flowers about 5 cm away from rest at times.