The Great Digital Chess Game

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Stigg Regular Member • Posts: 336
The Great Digital Chess Game
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The title of my post expresses exactly what I think is presently occurring in the digital camera world. The game started years ago but has now become much more intense and aggressive. I'm enjoying DC (digital camera) news for a change.

My stock and trade is in film and manual SLRs that I keep cobbled together with my increasingly aged network of technicians, darkroom magicians, lighting gurus and other assorted malcontents - all holdouts since the 70s when we came of age - and now completely out of step with the outside world. Its great fun!

With my manual 135 format film cameras I have photographed presidents, prime ministers, horrific accident scenes, cheap plastic products and many luxury models in various states of undress (or fashion as some would have it). The list of photographic subjects I have covered is much longer and laborious than the highlights, and I have slowed much in pace since then. In recent years I have concentrated on my own preferences and interests for environmental portraits and abstract street photography.

My book series and many notable images that entered the mainstream press on several continents are doing nothing more than collecting dust on shelves (or in the case of the books on exposure, composition, etc., mouldering in rubbish bins or thrift store bargain bins). That's all fine and well. That era is long gone.

Despite my vocal distaste for digital imaging (its not really photography in the true sense of the term) and my insistence on the use of film and manual SLRs, I have had to grudgingly admit that "digital" has a purpose in our increasingly puerile world. As film stocks dwindle, darkroom masters pass on to greener pastures and precious parts become harder to locate, digital can save the day (or at least my day) for my relatively new avocation of nature and outdoor photography. It never made sense to waste precious film on blurred images of ducks but that has become a thing of the distant past - or about 20 years roughly.

Now that I'm an observer waiting with baited breath for the next earth-shattering rumor I think I can see a trend afoot, and after much melancholy and nostalgic babble of my own creation I sense an urgency amongst the players both major and minor of this new age. This pressure, much like the urgency of pressure on the inner side of the bladder wall after many quaffs of water on a summer day, is the sight of the long-term end-game for digital. Now that numerous players have crossed a nonsensical divide into mirrorless (or fully electronic cameras) the finish line is near.

To put it more bluntly, the electronic junk won't get much better and these companies know that and have their eyes on something else that may have been written up in a research journal at some benighted university. From now until the point where they have something completely new and revolutionary to sell us they are loosely conspiring to dump their repetitive iterations of "product" at lower prices in a slow burn fire sale to cover their costs and many losses. Whatever this new form of imaging takes, it will undoubtedly and instantaneously reduce the Mark Vs and other $X,000 (and $X0,000) cameras and lenses to car boot sale status, and at several dollars per pound to boot.

Presently I am in earnest to find my future boot fair rubbish because in between I will be snapping many thousands of images of non-human subjects at anywhere from 1000-3000mm and maybe more if someone will offer that. Its already great fun.

I won't hazard a guess as to what form and what time frame the next great change will arrive in. It could very well be much sooner than I think and while some of us are still breathing. I would very much like to see this revolution and starting with laser holography back in the dinosaur era we have been expecting some new birth eventually. The pace has quickened and sharp young servile minds everywhere from Port Moresby to Michigan State are pushing towards a breakthrough. Maybe the camera companies know it will be sooner than later and are gearing up for it as they unload the next dinosaur era products. Wouldn't it be stunningly hilarious if it happened only a few years from now? It certainly would be for me.

- And one memory and image I will always keep in my mind regardless of the state of photography is the look on Adams' face after I sauntered up to him in Colorado and announced, "Antsy old boy, you have the most awful breath!"

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