"...We can comfortably say that in 10 years photojournalists will only be carrying video cameras."

—Dirck Halstead

Many readers have recommended Dirck Halstead's editorial essay "The Coming Earthquake in Photography" from the April 2007 issue of The Digital Journalist. Predicting the future has never been a high-percentage business, and it's possible that some of Dirck's predictions are "mileu-specific"—that is, he's looking at photography through the prism of photojournalism—quite naturally, since that's his bailiwick. You might not read the same predictions in the pages of PDN, for instance—I can't see studio advertising photographers succumbing to a pressing need to shoot video—and of course the camera market as a whole, despite the preturnatural popularity of the deathless marketing word "pro," is almost entirely driven by amateurs, enthusiasts, and consumers. It's a fascinating essay nonetheless.

And check out the Red Digital Cinema Camera Company's Red One, which to me looks for all the world like the over-the-top plastic alien-zapping space guns I used to buy for Zander at the Toys'R'Us when he was a little guy. It'll shoot 60 12-megapixel frames per second. And you thought your Canikon had good buffer depth.

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON, thanks to erlik

Featured Comment by Juan Buhler: Regardless of whether still photography dies completely, this is extremely interesting. Imagine what would happen to street, 'decisive moment' photography when there is a device that fits in the palm of your hand and can capture 60 12MP images per second. Will pictures that we would consider great today lose some of their value?

I think this goes right in the heart of what is art and what isn't. Is the difficulty involved in making an image an intrinsic part of the image's value? It is a fascinating issue.

Featured Comment by Matthew Miller: This is just the first step. In the somewhat farther future, but very possibly within our lifetimes, lenses will be obsolete.

Instead, a sensor will capture the unfocused image and transform it digitally into the focused one—you'll pick focus point, focal length, and aperture in post-processing. Combine with the idea of constant recording, and you can choose the instant you want and select "exposure" too. The shutter button just becomes a handy way of tagging interesting points.

Sounds crazy? Consider this: a lens is just an analog computer which does a mathematical transform on the input data (light rays striking the front element). Anything an analog computer can do can be approximated with a digital one with the right algorithms and processing power. We don't have that yet, but it's a very safe prediction to say that we will. At that point, instead of primarily analog cameras with a digital recording element, we'll have real digital cameras.


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