Digital Camera’s have change the world (and are being changed by Cellular Cameras).

I was thinking about this on Christmas while watching a basketball game. Digital cameras have really changed the world. That is the opening problem statement of my book “The Syncverse.” My grandfather and father were avid amateur photographers taking pictures from roughly 1958 until 2014. During that time they were predominantly taking slides and still pictures. They took between 2o and 25 thousand pictures. That is the basis of the family history project we have been doing the past 4 months.

My dad slowed down on pictures and really stopped taking new pictures in roughly 2010. Jakki and I since roughly 2002 have taken 65,000 digital pictures or more than twice as many pictures. First off the things you can photograph now are so much more varied. You have cameras that can go underwater with no loss of picture capabilities (other than light). You can attach your DSLR or get a specialized camera that fits right on your telescope. Stop motion, panorama or even Microsoft’s Photosynth project make photos better.

So the capabilities are improving. The cost of taking pictures is going down (memory card and storage cost should be included). The number of pictures is exploding. My grandfather and father took 25.000 pictures in 56 years. The cost of those pictures would be found roughly by the 25000 – 2100 digital pictures. Now average the remaining number between 24 picture rolls and 36 picture roles (and let’s assume equal distribution) for a resulting 801 rolls of film and processing. The film was 4 dollars and the processing normally 10 average over the years. That results in more than 12.000 dollars invested in the family history project. When you look at pictures in that manner – you can buy the best digital camera on the market and still save money. Frankly a lot of money in the end.

Good digital camera 400 bucks. You replace it every 5 years. That means over the course of a 50 year period including buying a nice printer (replaced every 10 years but toner replaced every five) means you will end up spending around 8,000 dollars to produce the same output as my father and grandfather did. The thing is, you don’t with a digital camera you produce many more pictures at a much higher rate. The actually cost per picture is only 2/3 of print film producing at the same rate. But in most cases people produce two and three times more pictures. So the net cost is 1/3 of the print picture cost or less.

That doesn’t in the end even include the time spent getting film, and in the end going to the store to get them developed. My father built a darkroom in our house in Sycamore Knolls. In the end now I realize he was trying to cut the cost of his hobby. He spent hours in the darkroom developing the rolls of film and producing prints of that film.

The digital revolution changed photography. The camera included with every cellular device is changing it even more. The great camera companies are slowly losing market share to the innovation of camera phones. Why lug around a DSLR when you have a cellular phone. Goodness knows what the image production rate increases to with cellular cameras over traditional film cameras. Is it 5 or 6 times more images? Your cellular device is with you a lot more than a film camera ever was.

Another craze is of course the appearance of utility cameras. High speed digital camera’s are interesting because they allow you to photograph things people wouldn’t have 20 years ago. You can capture a hummingbird in flight or a baseball on its way to home plate. You can get a photography drone and photograph from above. You can get an aquatic sub and photograph under water. Your cellular device can take panorama, HDR and video images for those moments you don’t have your digital stand alone camera. Most digital cameras are adding features (GPS, projection) that make them more interesting so they can at least compete with cellular phones. The world of 3d camera’s is about to explode. The world of camera’s that you we4ar that snap a picture every x amount of time is growing.

Tomorrow always brings something new. What was, expensive equipment and production becomes expensive equipment but virtually no cost production.

Why of all of this discussion. Cameras are a component of the Internet of things. They produce data that has both relevance and application. The better the camera or more complex the image the more data that is produced.

Its not longer a cost issue. It is a Data of the Internet of things (DiOT) issue. What do I do with all my images.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.