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7th March 2012, 04:27 AM
Digital Technology Impact
I interpret Technology in my own words, techniques compiled with specific logic. I have learnt many things on my own by finding answers to few basic questions about any technology or invention or a product or a device as an user. That is why for me any such technology or invention or a product or a device is categorized in two parts User Friendly or Dealer Friendly. As an user I was always interested to get worth for my money or efforts I put in to get a technology or invention or a product or a device useful for me for the time duration or its life.
Dealer has interest only in maximum commercial gains, without any emotions attached to it. For me dealer could be, inventor, designer, producer and an agent or a shop salesman.
Digital technology is more dealer friendly than user friendly. Dealers are getting benefited by rapid change in technology or invention or a product or a device getting outdated in couple of years. User is trying to get friendly to this rapid change in short duration and paying heavy price and frustration.
Most disturbing fact of today's technological impact is a vicious circle created by a source (developer) then purchased by few manufacturers, which then supplies finished products to the dealers who are simply a middlemen between the source and the user. So the circle is Source -> Manufacturer -> Dealer -> User. In all of this the person who gets the maximum benefit is the person with the least knowledge which is the dealer who in reality does nothing creative. Whereas the USER whose needs is the main reason for the technology to be introduced gets the least benefit from any product and has to bear extra cost with updates and consumables. Similar fate shared by the developer whose original ideas never make it to the public instead it is diluted by manufacturers across the world. I have been a victim of this vicious circle one way or other.
I am an user of digital technology from 1990, I suffered heavy losses because of the rapid changes in a very short time. From 1985 for my studio I bought Nikon F801, F401, F601, F60, F50 for 35 mm films. Now I have to spend more time and money to keep them functioning, today these devices are kept in special bags because they are outdated. Then A Zenza Bronica SQA for type 120 film roll, just can not afford to use it. Dreaming to get a digital back for it otherwise it has become outdated.
My first digital camera Fujix DSC 505 and 515 had a 1.3 mega pixel image sensor. Today even a child would refuse to touch that camera because he is using 12 mega pixel image sensor in his mobile which he keeps in his pocket. I bought Nikon Coolpix E990 camera in year 2000 having 3.1MPs image sensor. I could capture images for many commercial jobs with that 3.1 MPs image sensor for more than a decade. Recently bought Nikon P90 camera had 12MPs image sensor. Both these cameras are discontinued by the company but some more new models had been introduced to add confusions for we users getting attracted to new developments. Last November 2011 I bought Nikon D5100 with 18 -105 DX lens.
Same is the case of image sensor color quality. 1.3 MPs of a image sensor had distribution of total number of pixel for RGB. Now Sigma - Foveon X3 color image sensor revolutionized the image sensing technology, observe the image to see the difference. As an iTech (I have coined a new word for image Technician the new breed of photographers) I have my highest regards to the entire team of Sigma - Foveon X3 team who made it possible for the quality conscious people to buy across the counter such a camera with high quality color image sensor. I was planning to buy one to enjoy the exceptional image quality and color resolution produced by the Sigma SD15 camera, But I could not find one for a demo in Pune, India.
Computers and computing changed almost every year. My first Amiga 500 with 1MB RAM and only 880 KB floppy disk for storage in 1990 became obsolete, no support of any kind in the year 1992. I bought Apple Mac LC475, just in two years this computer was not sufficient for my needs, because of low memory and small storage space required for my photo - video - audio jobs. After that I bought, used and sold Mac 8500, Mac Tower 9600, G3 desk top, iBook G3 and now iMac 24 inch. I did try Compaq laptop and then assembled my own desktop PC. today I use two 500 GB and One Tera Byte Hard drives for my various jobs.
I bought storage media zip, jazz, CD, Magneto-optical DVD RAM caddy, Raid hard drives and then double sided double density DVD media and the various drives, then came 1 terabyte SATA hard drive and all that I had to dump soon because solid state drive SSD ready for consumer by Dec 2010 at 960 GB capacity, this device does not have any mechanical moving parts, shock proof and moisture resistant.
I had same experience with my video and audio devices. In November 2010 my Nikon P90 dropped down in a party. There was a shadow in the image and LCD display on top edge, that too only in wide angle settings. The authorized repair shop estimated 15000 rupees for changing the lens assembly. I had bought that camera for 25000 rupees. Watch this video clip, an example to prove my Dealer friendly technological Impact.
Love to read and know your views friends!!!!!
7th March 2012, 11:43 PM
Re: Digital Technology Impact
You pretty well hit the nail on the head in your discussion of technology. However, I didn't suffer any great loss in my travels through photographic technology from film to digital!
I refused to use digital in the early days of the digital revolution. Paying hundreds or even thousands of U.S. Dollars for a digital camera that produced image quality akin to the throwaway cardboard cameras purchased at supermarket checkout counters did not seem like a smart choice.
My first digital camera was a 1990's vintage 5.0 mp Olympus C5050Z. This was quite advanced for its time. I purchased this camera for $700 USD because I needed digital images to send pictures of the Maltese puppies we were breeding, at that time, to prospective buyers. I still have this camera and my wife used it until she said that she wanted a smaller (purse size) P&S camera. I bought my wife a Canon ELPH 100HS which she loves because of its size and hot-pink color. However, the 1999 vintage, Olympus C5050Z produces image quality to rival that of the 2012 vintage Elph.
My first DSLR was a Canon 10D and I positively ran that camera into the ground because it was so refreshing to be able to shoot pictures without worrying about the cost of film. I retired my 35mm Canon manual focus film SLR system immediately after I bought the 10D. BTW: I never ventured into the Canon EOS film system but, remained with a pair of Canon SLR cameras; so I saved some money there. I finally retired the 10D which was beginning to become cranky due to extensive use by trading it in for a 7D through the Canon USA loyalty program.
I presently have an old Canon D60 which I recyled by converting it to a full time IR camera as well as a Canon 40D with which I have been shooting for quite a few years. I use the 40D alongside the 7D in a two camera; two lens set and I am sure it will serve me for quite a few more years.
Contrary to popular belief, DSLR cameras do not immediately stop functioning when a new model is introduced.
I still use a Canon 550EX flash which has served me faithfully for many years.
Computers are something else though. This day and age, they have become very expensive disposable items. However, I tend to marvel at the additional capabilities of each new computer I buy, rather than bemoan the lack of those capabilities of the computer I replace.
8th March 2012, 04:37 AM
8th March 2012, 06:42 AM
Re: Digital Technology Impact
Good post Vinayak:
At first I wondered where you were going, but it soon became apparent.
Not many of us think in terms of Dealer and User in relation to consumer goods - but of course it is logical.
We Users are the ones that pay, the Dealers are the ones that gain. It is very difficult to resist this because if we don't keep up with the technology, we are soon left behind. One can only put off upgrades so long or something no longer functions - I had to upgrade my computer at considerable cost when I added a 5DII - the old one simply couldn't keep up. And the tragedy is that I've never printed anything larger than 11" x 14" (279 mm x 356 mm), and likely never will. So the question to ask is, "why did I buy the 5DII"? The 30D will easily produce prints of that size that are quite acceptable. I felt I had to "keep up". This desire to keep upgrading benefits the Dealers, not us.
Interesting points about the Foveon technology - I recall reading about it quite a few years ago in Discover Magazine. It sounded very promising, but hasn't caught on very well. I've never seen one - that's how rare they are. I've always felt that the Canons/Nikons/Sonys of the world didn't want to pay the price so they pushed the current technology and pretty well put the Foveon to the edges. Another parallel is the Beta technology which was far superior to VHS technology, yet didn't survive. It was killed by "dealers".
8th March 2012, 02:32 PM
Re: Digital Technology Impact
Vinayak and Glenn...
We are sometimes our own worst enemy concerning digital photography equipment.
I read many postings regarding photographers who seem to consider a camera upgrade (or a brand change) as a magic elixir that will somehow transform their mundane photography into something great and fastastic! These photographers read about the capabilities of cameras and decide that all they need to do is switch to a 5Diii, D700, 7D, 60D, D3X, 1D MkIV (you choose the camera) or if only they could only switch from Canon to Nikon or from Nikon to Olympus, etc.; all their photography problems would cease and their images would come out of those cameras as exciting and memorable captures...
Sure, some cameras a better than other cameras, and some are a LOT BETTER. However unless a photographer using top-line glass is getting excellent results from a crop camera (1.5x or 1.6x); I really would not expect that the photographer's imagery would magically become great. OTOH, upgrading glass, will sometimes provide a more immediate and noticable fix.
Yes, there have been some very significant improvements in camera gear which make upgrades quite worthwhile. One of these improvements was the introduction of the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens. Canon not only added IS but, made several other significant improvements over the non-IS version of the 70-200mm f/4L. I find that I am able to use my IS model of the 70-200mm f/4L, 4-5x more often because of the capability to hand-hold this lens in low light.
Is IS absolutely necessary? Haven't photographers been shooting good pictures for generations before IS was introduced? Yes, photographers had shot for many years with telephoto lenses without IS capability. However, photographers used the wet-plate process for many years but, that did not mean that improvements such as packaged film were not significant.
Adding capabilities like video and articulating LCD screens may be good for some photographers and might be useless bits of fluff for other photographers.
We have benefitted from and have been cursed by the lightening fast evolution of the DSLR camera. I would bet that most non professional photographers (who don't shoot with their cameras 8-hours a day and 5-days a week) do not get the maximum capabilities out of the cameras that they presently shoot with. However, many of these photographers are looking with envy and longing at every new camera that comes on the market.
I am probably as guilty as the rest because I longed for the 7D and finally purchased one...
Last edited by rpcrowe; 8th March 2012 at 02:40 PM.
8th March 2012, 05:00 PM
Re: Digital Technology Impact
Originally Posted by Vapvk
To understand my perspective, I'm one in your evil circle of endless change. My entire career has been in applied research and product development. But, I must point out that rarely is anything I come up with completely independent of external factors. I'm usually provided with a specification, "Make a thing that does X", "Can be produced under $n", "In quantities of j,000s by date AA/BB/CCCC". If I meet all the criteria, you have have a new item on some shelf with someone else expecting you to buy it.
A point that you missed is Who pays for the original development ? For basic physics research, such is usually conducted at a research university or independent research lab whose "product" is the marketing of their technologies to industries who can utilize them in new products. In some situations, basic research is conducted at the government level, NASA, ESA, DLR, for their own technological requirements, but often many technologies become applicable to other industries.
For example, I know for a fact that every member here on CiC has had their life altered by the research conducted by Cern. The very world wide web that makes this forum possible was spun off from Cern's need to globally disseminate research results. NASA has published an annual magazine for years that documents where their aerospace research has been successfully transfered to other industries and led to products that make the life style that you and your family enjoy possible, Check out this link:
The key aspect that I read from your post has to do with change and your assessment of what constitutes obsolescence.
For me, Bayer masked images are crap, it's the wrong and a poor technological direction. My reasoning is ancient broadcast television cameras solved the color problem by employing three imaging tubes. Why would digital cameras of the late 20th century use a Bayer mask when a three imager design existed 40 years earlier ? What brought me to digital photography was Sigma and their use of the Foveon imager, but I did not choose this direction because of it being something new. I searched out the US patents held by Foveon and prior research to understand how the Foveon imager was designed and actually functioned. I chose this direction specifically from my prior film photography background.
Now, some may think that I'd be drooling over the new Sigma SD1. Why ? It's newer than my SD14, has a larger imager than what is in the SD14, but my SD14 functions just as well as when I first purchased it. The fact that the SD1 is now on the market does not magically mean all that came before ceases of function. Besides, no one has a gun pointed at my head forcing me to buy a SD1. For me to buy an SD1, I need to determine for myself that the price, on the order of $6KUS, is worth the advantages. Well, I see no advantage to making that purchase and the reason is my Sigma SA9. Yes, after I purchased the SD14 and found that it's limitations for some photography that I like to do were too great, I purchased a used Sigma SA9. It is basically the same camera as the SD14, just film based, and the SA9 is even a greater reason for me NOT to upgrade to a SD1. The key improvement that Sigma touts about the SD1 is image clarity and resolution. Ok, well it does exceed my SD14, but with a nice professional fine grain film, my $35 SA9 can still have the $6,000 SD1 beat, both in image clarity, resolution, and frame size. ( The SA9 is a full frame 35mm, the SD1 is an APS-C )
It is my perspective that Newest does not equate to Better. There are many examples where something New may be different from prior or existing products, but certainly not better. My comparison of the Sigma SD14, SD1, SA9 flow above is an example. The SA9 was obsoleted by several digital designs including the SD14, the SD14 was obsoleted by other designs including most recently the SD1, and I'm sticking with the SA9 and SD14 because they achieve what I need where I see any investment in an SD1 is a waste of money.
The fact that you shelve your old equipment is because you choose to based on the rate of change that you see in the market. Yet, you place the responsibility of this change on the people who bring such developments into existence. The problem with any new development that changes the direction of technology is that the people involved rarely have any expectation as to where their work may lead. They may be cobbling some bits and pieces together in a new way or making a small change to adapt something to a new task, Watt didn't invent the steam engine, he just solved a flaw in prior designs used to pump water from mine shafts. A global transportation system and the effects that it would have on the world was the furthest thing from his mind.
To gain a real understanding and see how our civilization got to where it is and the blinding fast changes that occur on an almost daily basis, I do recommend the documentary by James Burke, Connections. It was originally done in 1978 with two sequels done in 1994 and 1997. It's relevant today and an interesting look to see how things changed since these were done, more change, just faster, with users understanding less and less:
13th March 2012, 09:38 AM
Re: Digital Technology Impact
Richard, Glenn and Steaphany many thanks for finding out time to read my post and then commenting on it, cheers !!!!!!
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