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It seems like there are new advancements in digital photography every time you visit PhotographyTalk.com. Digital cameras can’t reheat your coffee or make your day job easier. Unlike traditional film cameras, however, which could only produce still pictures, today’s cameras shoot video, give you instant access to social media to share your images and automatically select settings, such as exposure and focus, so your photos are often better than what you could do on your own.
The digital revolution has permeated enough of our culture that no one should be surprised when unheard-of camera technologies suddenly become reality. For example, during February 2012, a company named Lytro introduced a rather boxy camera of the same name that allows you choose which objects and subjects you want in focus AFTER you shoot a photo and transfer it to your computer. That might not be an important digital photography capability for you, but everyday is proving to be a great day to be a digital photographer—casual shooters, serious amateurs and the most acclaimed professionals.
As happened during the early years of personal computers, and even today, you can’t wait for the “next big thing” before purchasing your first digital camera or a new or upgraded model. If you did, then you would never buy a camera! You don’t have to leap into the photography technology stream blindly either. Knowledge is the key; and, as of the writing of this PhotographyTalk article, there are six current advancements you must keep in mind when choosing your next digital camera.
1. Both compact and DSLR cameras have had video capabilities for some time; however, video has been more appealing to casual photographers than the pros. Today, even some of the smallest and most affordable point-and-shoot cameras record 1080p Full-HD video. Professionals have been less inclined to embrace video, which is why many high-end DSLRs have not offered this feature. Their perspective is changing, as more of the pros are realizing the value of creating multi-media presentations that combine both stills and video.
The major camera manufacturers have also noticed this change too, which is why Nikon’s new D800 DSLR was specifically designed for this new breed of professionals who require broadcast quality video. They will be able to record 1080p Full-HD video at 30/25/24p or 720p at 60/50p in AVC format. Connect the D800 to an external monitor via its HDMI port for simultaneous Live View as well as recording to a computer or external drive, without filling the dual memory card slots. Audio capabilities are also pro quality with connections to stereo microphones and headphones as well as monitoring audio from the LCD monitor.
Canon has also responded to the new multi-media market with the video capabilities of the new EOS 5D Mark III. Its predecessor, the Mark II, was the first DSLR with Full-HD video and has had much to do with convincing professionals that video on a high-end DSLR is a good idea. The Mark III continues that tradition with the same 1080p30 Full-HD video with stereo sound.
2. One key element of photography that hasn’t changed since the first cameras were developed during the mid-19th century is light. The latest sensor technologies in digital cameras build on what has been learned since that time to make it possible to capture excellent images even when the light is low. Plus, many DSLR cameras are designed with wireless systems, so cameras and better flash units carefully coordinate the exact level of artificial light for every scene or subject, and then remotely trigger the flash (or multiple flashes).
3. A GPS unit is becoming a common fixture on many digital cameras, which automatically registers the exact location of where photos were shot, with longitude, latitude and time data. For casual photographers, this has become part of the attractiveness of sharing photos with family members and friends via social media. For professionals, especially landscape and wildlife photographers, geotagging data make it easy to return to excellent shooting spots that may have required many hours, or even days, of hiking to find initially.
4. Probably, the first draw of digital photography was the automatic registering of an image without the need for developing film or making prints. Now, digital photography technology has advanced this capability even further with cameras that are Wi-Fi enabled. “Instant” photos can be instantly shared with anyone, without first downloading them to a computer.
5. As the motion picture industry discovered how to advance 3-D technology for movie theaters and the big consumer electronics companies developed 3-D TV sets, digital camera companies were quick to add a 3-D feature to their products too. Although 3-D is found on a limited number of camera models, select Sony, Panasonic and Olympus cameras do offer this feature. Fujifilm was one of the first to design a model, the FinePix Real 3D W3, primarily to be a 3D camera.
6. These advancements in digital photography have also presented more amateurs with opportunities to sell photos part-time, without having to leave their day jobs. If you’re interested in turning your passion for photography into some extra dollars, then click here to learn some of the insiders’ secrets.
No doubt, additional advancements in digital camera technology are just over the horizon, but the six in this PhotographyTalk article are those you want to weigh carefully if you plan to make a new camera purchase soon.
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Photograph by PhotographyTalk Member Les