The first 10 years of mass-market digital photography have gone well thanks to innovations in mobile phones, single-lens reflex (SLR) and point-and-shoot cameras. The classic Kodachrome film has been discontinued. What can we expect from networked photography going forward?
Camera innovations have been phenomenal. Smartphones have made integrated photography and networking capabilities a great way of taking and sharing pictures –think Instagram. SLRs have managed the transition from film to memory with maintained or increased picture quality. Integrated HDTV (High-Definition TV) recording capabilities have turned SLRs into multi-purpose photography and filming devices. Point-and-shoot cameras have very high picture resolutions in combination with advanced optics at affordable prices.
The almost real-time publishing of our magic moments is a reality. It is an integrated part of the tools we use for sharing our lives. The darkroom and dark rooms are no longer required for viewing high-quality photos. Neither is the long wait for a roll of film to be processed. Our ability to share pictures, and share them instantly, is here to stay.
Post-production capabilities and their superior results are light-years ahead of the darkroom days. This is also the case for memory-storage innovations; the past decade has resulted in a 1,000-fold price-performance improvement and support for very high writing speeds. The revolution from 24 or 36 frame film rolls and the first 8-16MB memory cards feel very remote.
In the future, I expect to see the following trends:
- High-resolution photographs and moving pictures will become key to the next wave of social-media innovations
- Networking and camera capabilities will become more unified, and integrated WiFi and mobile access will become standard in SLRs and high-end point-and-shoot cameras
- The camcorder will have a hard time surviving as a mass-market device, as cameras and smartphones come with integrated HDTV recording capabilities