The future of pictures? Film is not likely.

A sort of lengthy, tech-heavy story about the financial trials and tribulations faced in recent years by Kodak caught my eye in Sunday’s The Washington Post. The article goes on, as promised by the headline, to examine lessons that the struggling photo equipment company could learn from its old nemesis Polaroid.

What I found most interesting was the forecast on Page 3 of the piece that within several years the camera market will only be those in the high-dollar range or else those which are extremely cheap. Part of the reason for the prediction of under-$200 point-and-shoot cameras fading to the past is that many of the smartphones already feature better cameras. The story pointed out that the iPhone4, such as the one I recently purchased has “an electronic flash and high-dynamic-range capability, both technologies that would’ve seemed impossible to stuff into a phone a decade ago.”

From my limited knowledge of and experience with digital cameras over the past decade I now wonder if it was a huge waste of time to take basic photography in college. It was required with my journalism degree or I probably wouldn’t have signed up for the course. However, the semester in which I had the course was the most horrid in all my four years as I learned the hard way not to take 19 semester hours. This all came with labs in photography, naturally, plus a geological history lab and a lab in picture editing and layout. I did get to take pictures with a big ol’ box as well as develop and enlarge them. But I never did any photo lab work in the nearly 30 years since.

Luckily, I never had to do photo lab work at the newspapers where I also had to do some of my own shooting. And working with some pretty talented shooters who had started in film and segued into digital, I learned that I really like taking pictures.

But money has always been a limiting factor in photography whether it be a desire to go out and buy the crème de la crème of the photo world or just something with which to take vacation photos. Still I have a point and shoot that I have taken decent stills and videos with and in just playing around with my iPhone, so far, it seems that the phone does take much better videos than does my Fuji. And yet, I am not a rich man.

I guess we will just have to see what happens with the future of the camera. I would have never thought my phone would take decent pictures and videos, so I figure we might just be ahead to the game when it comes to cameras that exist only as cameras.


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