I try to keep up on photographic technology as much as I can, or can afford to. I am a purist at heart but do appreciate and actually use the benefits of technology. I changed from film to digital in about 2006 with a Canon 30D and only then did I start working in Photoshop and really getting used to it. With the technology of the Canon 5D MK II, and the relative ease that programs like Final Cut Pro offers, I am now able to shoot and edit films for clients with no need for different cameras or more powerful computers. Watching the whole Final Cut X debacle unfold in real time in the Apple App store and infinite number of blogs has been proof that sometimes this technological progression can ruffle a few feathers. (The best of which I thought were by the New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, I think he stepped into a bit of a shark tank judging by the comments. Column 1 & Column 2).
As photographers we had to stand by and watch as our private party of film users was gate crashed by frat boys and there digital cameras. But it happened… it passed, the world survived and we are the better for it. Now the video guys are going through the same thing. The guys who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lenses, cameras and various gear are now being joined by kids with a Canon 7D.
The reason I bring this is up is I have recently seen a new development in not only photography but photography thinking. The Lytro is a new camera apparently being released sometime later in the year. The technology in this camera means the user does not have to focus… at all. The depth of field is taken care of later in software if need be. You can see how the principle works here and how the imagery works below. Just click on the part of the frame you want to be in focus.
Now if/how this works outside of the casual user, or what this will mean to photography remains to be seen. It could change the scene or come and go in a whisper. The concept is fascinating and to photographers (particularly like me who grew up on manual focus) this could be welcomed with open arms or absolutely disregarded and shunned. The technology could potentially be a game changer in the advertising photography world where time is money and any tool to help streamline the process is usually welcomed (by agencies anyway). That is if the we are shooting still images in 5 years.
I think in the next 5-10 years imagery, still or moving, will be unrecognizable as medium from where it is today. If we go back 10 years and reflect where we were it will be very interesting to see where we will be in another 10. Between the RED Epic, the next incarnation of Canon’s 5D or Mark xx 1DS series and who knows what kind of technology is waiting in the wings I think we’re in for some real crazy stuff soon.
Rob Haggart at aphotoeditor.com had an interesting discussion with Vincent Laforet about this change in technology. Watch for this quote, says it all (And read the comments, too. Very entertaining).
“We want to take your still jobs away from you, just like you want to take our video jobs away from us with your HD SLRs.”Read More