camera talk, largely OT until you view the links

Leo A. Martin
Wed, 31 Jul 2013 18:56:17 PDT
While SLR digital cameras with interchangeable lenses remain the standard for macro and
other very-high-quality photography, few people have to time, training or ability to
take photos this way. If one goes on a plant trip with a dozen other people the stops
typically last just long enough to set up the tripod, then people are screaming for you
to return to the vehicle and leave (unless there is a cat with kittens near the stop.)
In the field, in a rush and in varying light conditions, phone cameras nowadays with
their deep depths of field almost always take better photos than most complex SLRs.

Many very inexpensive digital cameras and even smartphones take images nearly as good as
expensive digital SLRs for a lot less money and trouble. And most digital devices -
cameras or smartphones - have been taking video for many years. Plus they have the
ability to forward the images electronically to the Internet rather than dealing with
removable storage disks, which are cumbersome in the field no matter how small.

Given the relatively low quality most people accept for television and Internet images
there is not much point putting higher-detail images on most Web sites; so, most people
aren't interested in paying the extra money for something they won't use.

And, as always, the most important link in the image-capture process remains lens
quality. More expensive digital SLRs accept interchangeable lenses, and can use old ones
from film cameras as well. But there are lens attachments that allow smartphones to be
used as microscopes, macro cameras and even telescopes! A Hasselblad in the living room
is any more only a good way to impress dates, if they know what is a Hasselblad, which
is unlikely.

There is an article in the current Wall Street Journal online about how digital camera
companies are trying to avoid extinction in the face of smartphones with double-digit
megapixel cameras.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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