Another photokina is upon us and it is a good time to reflect upon the state of photography. It has never been a better time to be a photographer with the range and quality of imaging potential available. Advances in sensor technology, memory, processing, miniaturization, and connectivity has led to marvels of engineering only dreamt about 20 years ago. Yet the constant background whine continues, such and such manufacturer hasn’t given me my perfect camera and lenses and an unrealistically inexpensive price, yesterday.
The trends are towards better image quality, we’ve seen a new crop of larger sensor cameras (1″ and up) entering the compact digicam arena. I find a mobile phone great for documenting various things like receipts but useless for taking proper photos so having near DSLR quality in a compact camera is a boon.
The 4K video drive is also leading to some knock-on benefits for still imaging. Fast sensor readout and data handling gives more flexible shooting modes including exposure without mechanical shutters, albeit with rolling shutter. Global shutter for consumer still cameras will eliminate all mechanical vibration and simplify camera construction.
Advanced pixel architectures incorporating phase detect AF, wide dynamic range, backside illumination, improved microlenses, etc. will lead to better performing cameras. The first APS-C BSI camera has arrived in the form of the NX-1. Canon’s dual pixel AF is in its second generation. There are many wide dynamic range technologies in the development pipeline from many imager manufacturers.
The increasing penetration of 4K displays expands the possibilities for viewing photos in all their glory. It’s not just video that benefits. It also will emphasise the important of good image quality. In the end, it still boils down to the photographer to create compelling images. But with the tools available, there are fewer excuses for not being able to.