Photography – From Plate Film to Digital Compacts

Photography is something that fascinates almost everybody. Since the very first mainstream images were taken around 1820 by NiĆ©pce and Louis Daguerre, the art of capturing and freezing a moment in time has become a central part of human culture. You will find photographs today in almost every home in all parts of the world and throughout every social and cultural level.The tools used to capture images have gone from very large and cumbersome wood boxes with plate film to slim and sleek, highly functional digital cameras no bigger than a credit card. Until quite recently in historical terms, photography was a niche hobby that enthusiasts spent a lot of time and money on.Sony showed the first digital camera in 1981 and it was as recently as 1990 that the first camera came out that was directed towards the public: the Kodak DCS 100. For a long time, digital photography and traditional techniques lived side by side. Both Nikon and Canon for instance only stopped manufacturing film SLR cameras in 2006.The reason they even manufactured them until 2006 was that the film used by traditional SLR cameras delivered superior quality until very recently. It was only when the digital camera sensors achieved around 6 million pixels that the quality barrier was broken.The digital imaging technology has advanced hugely in very short time. The simple compact digital cameras of today deliver at base iso a image quality that is superior to the enthusiast and even some pro film cameras of just a few years ago.Photographing with a compact digital camera requires somewhat different methods than SLR (single lens reflex) cameras. The average compact does not have a viewfinder and composing the shot is done directly on the cameras preview screen. Many actually prefer this type of composition.A digital compact also has a very small imaging sensor so good light is often necessary to achieve optimal quality. Lenses are also very small and lens extension is often limited because the longer a small lens the less it’s optical quality. Additionally, there is no possibility to change lenses, so the user needs to consider the type of photography they will be doing before choosing camera. Most digital compacts have a short zoom lens that goes from slight wide-angle to short telephoto.Digital compact cameras have become extremely popular because of their size, simplicity of use and reliable imaging in diverse settings. Since becoming mainstream, the price of digital cameras has become much lower and is now within reach of most people.Digital compacts are here to stay and now that the image quality is good, the manufacturers are adding different features such as shake stabilization and face recognition.We have come a long way from the plate film boxes and photography is now a hobby for the masses.

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