Constantly Changing Digital Camera Technology

Technology is such a wonderful thing? Digital camera manufacturers constantly come out with new models, enhancements and improvements two or three times a year, each company trying to get an edge on the other. The latest product is a bottomless memory card which virtually any camera into a WiFi camera allowing your images can be wirelessly transmitted to your iPad, iPhone, or Android phone, where you can then email them anywhere. ✓ 

As I write this we in the midst of another technical camera revolution. Just as film has all but virtually disappeared, we're seeing other changes almost as obvious. Cameras are shrinking in size while becoming more powerful, we are beginning to see DSLR cameras, Interchangeable lens cameras (MILC), Point and Shoot cameras, Video cameras and Smart Cell Phone Cameras all blend into one.

Now some new cameras are arriving with an expert photographer built right in. There' called scene modes. They have discovered that image sensors can be coated to give them increased speed and resolution. There are so many new cameras with HD video, nobody will hardly give a second look to a camera with it although AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4/H.264) in Dolby stereo sound. video is starting to replace plain HD. And how about image stabilization, gotta' have that. 36 Scene Modes, all those are way too important to do without and so the list goes on.

Pentax Q Compact Interchangeable Lens Mirrorless Camera - Flash
Pentax Q Compact Interchangeable Lens Mirrorless Camera

Let's highlight a few of these new technology changes:

3D - 3D Photo mode creates a 3D image right inside the camera. Shoot 20 panning photos and let the camera automatically select a pair of the most appropriate images - one for your right eye and another for your left eye - to compose a 3D synthesizes. You can then view 3D image on a Autostereoscopy (a method of displaying 3d without the need for special glasses) VIERA HDTV. The 3D image format that's compatible with MPO that may be played on other compatible MPO devices like TV's, Digital Photo Frames or Printing

Diagram of the difference from a Backlit image sensor and a typical CMOS or CCD image sensor
Diagram of the difference from a Backlit image sensor and a typical CMOS or CCD image sensor

Geotagging - a method of labeling (tagging) your photos, to indicate where they were shot. Tags allow easier searching of your images while sharing them has more meaning allowing you to see your images on a map, or search them by location

HD Video - 1080, 720, 480 was adopted by the FCC in 1996. 720p HD, 1080p HD AVCHD with each having their own advantages. For example 720p features higher vertical resolution over 1080i, allowing it to be preferred for sporting events such as auto sports and basketball which are very fast paced on live television.  And the latest, Dolby stereo zoom microphones

Image Sensors - One of the major components in digital photography the camera's image sensor, the device that acquires light and transfers this information to the image processing engine which then formats the image. Traditionally there are two major types of image sensors: CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) and CCD (Charge-coupled device). Now there's a new adaptation of these sensors.

The Omnivision backside-illuminated (BSI) image sensor, although not a totally new type of image sensor, however components from inside a CMOS or CCD are rearrange to allow the maximum volume of light to access the sensor.

As the supporting configuration of the image sensor is relocated to the rear, more light is available to arrive at the sensor. When more light reaches the sensor, it may become more light sensitive which is useful for photographing in poor light. Normally, images shot at night employing high ISO are speckled with digital artifacts. However BSI sensors let photographers obtain superior low-light shots by letting the ISO sensitivity be reduced while preserving the same light capture volume as in higher ISO settings. See the diagram above

Image Stabilization - can typically allow using shutter speeds 3-4 stops slower (8-6 times longer exposure time), although even slower successful speeds have been accounted.

LCD - It appears the the upper limit of size has reached a plateau at around 3 inches (a restraint of camera size), however many now swivel (articulated) while the dots per inch are increasing to allow brighter displays and many are now touch screen.

Megapixels - Megapixels have moved up to an average of 16MP up from 12-14MP just a year ago.

Memory Cards - (Flash Card) Most new cameras allow you to use SD/SDHC/SDXC cards - Standard sizes range from 2GB to 64GB, plus the WiFi memory cards I discussed above

Scene Modes -  Some these modes are: Art Filter, Anti blur, Aquarium, Baby, Backlight, Candlelight, Children, Close-up, Color Swap, Coupling, Documents, Face detection, Faithful, Fireworks, Film Grain, Fisheye, Flash, Foliage, Food, High dynamic range, High speed burst, Indoor, Intelligent Auto, Kids, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Movie, Museum, Natural green, Night Portrait, Night scene, Party, Panning, Panorama, Pets, Pinhole, Portrait, Sepia, Soft skin, Smile shutter, Soft, Sports, Starry Sky, Sunset/Sunrise, Underwater, Vivid, You Tube Capture. While you might not want to use all of these, a few might come in handy.

If I could have a wish list, I'd like to see image sensors become interchangeable just like camera film, and plug-in LCD screens and a standard lens mounting system without the need for adapters

And then we wonder why are cameras become functionally obsolete within months. Perhaps you should re-read  this article from the top again for the answer. Nobody want to buy a camera without all the latest widgets. This is just the price we pay for technology. Maybe it's time for a new term for this, such as 'Digital Depreciation. New Article Sep 19, 2011

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