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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Digital Journalist

Whilst googling for Harry Benson, I stumbled across a fascinating website called the devoted to photojournalism, appropriately called The Digital Journalist. Next to portraiture, photo-journalism is probably my favourite type of photograph to view - first because there are normally people involved and second because there is usually some narrative or story to tell.

I have also been looking for a primer on Flash photography for a presentation.  As usual, wikipedia came through.

For light painting work,  I am a big fan of the Maglite. Not the cheapest flashlight in the world, but certainly the best design and construction quality I have come across. There are now a bunch of thirty parties who sell extras and add-ons for this popular torch.  The latest innovation in the world of flashlights is the use of powerful light emitting diodes to replace normal halogen bulbs.  It will be interested to get a hold of some of these and use some lights with completely different colour balances...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What's bad about Digital SLRs

I was fascinated by a project feature on the Gadget Show, by tech-journalist Jason Bradbury.  He has created a camera that takes a picture of what he sees and uploads it to the internet in real time, every 30 seconds, 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.  Five years ago this would be the sort of thing done by a final-year MIT student for his dissertation and it would involve building some electronics and writing software.  Jason did his Life Cam by combining a camera phone with other consumer products, free software and commercial services.

Camera phones, bluntly, don't take great pictures.  Fitting a sensor and optics into a small device that also makes telephone calls involves something of a compromise and that compromise is picture quality.  However, cameraphones impress in two ways that Digital SLRs do not - they can be programmed and they are networked.

Evolving Digital SLR technology has brought us a sensor the same size as a 35mm frame, with similar sensitivity to film, albeit at considerable cost.  Other than making this more affordable, camera makers Canon and Nikon need to be considering where to go next.  I would plead to add more programming and networking features - not as optional extras - but physically built into the camera:-
  • I would love to do auto-exposure bracketing, by aperture change, in manual mode - but I cant. 
  • I would love to set my camera on a tripod and set it up to do time-lapse photography - but I cant.
  • I would love to reprogram my camera's buttons to make mirror lock-up more accessible - but I cant.
  • I would love to transfer my photos to my laptop using built-in wifi - but I cant.
  • I would love to pop in a SIM card and upload photos to the internet automatically - but I cant.
So build me an SLR that's more like a camera phone.