Through the lens into the future
The sad story of Kodak has always been one where a firm skipped the opportunity to change with the times ignoring the fact that the company did invest in digital technology. Part of the reality was that digital cameras meant the end of its business, at least that is what second placed Fujifilm did, diversifying into magnetic tape optics and videotape, and branching into copiers and office automation, a joint venture with Xerox.
Today Getty Images, Newgrounds, PurplePort, and FurAffinity have all banned illustrations generated using Artificial Intelligence (AI) art tools such as DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion which generate an image for you when you just type a phrase or description of the desired image.
But the rise in AI does not seem to be headed for a halt, threatening photographers with a Kodak moment where they are damned either way. The rise of the ‘amateur photographer’ the billions of people with a camera in their possession creating and sharing them on social media, has seen the abilities of a camera shift slowly towards AI.
Evolution from complex photography that requires skill and time to instant photography including SLR, DSLR and smartphone cameras has meant that inevitably cameras must give way to AI to suit the amateur photographer.
New technology such as the mirrorless cameras that uses artificial intelligence capabilities in the imaging sensor to enable autofocus, is becoming a big concern for photographers but a master stroke for the industry to sell to a larger market of amateurs.
Today, if you are planning to buy a professional camera to step up your career in photography, spending your money on a new DSLR doesn’t make a lot of economic sense. A wise financial decision should see you secure a mirrorless camera instead.
That’s because a quick industry survey shows digital single-lens reflex cameras usually referred as DSLR are fading away, as the newest and most innovative features in these gadgets appear powerfully in the latest mirrorless models.
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Please don’t get me wrong, if your current DSLR is still working, keep using it until the moment you need to buy a new, fit-for-purpose tool for your trade.
Last year saw Japan’s Nikon, the world’s third-largest camera maker say it has moved away from producing DSLRs in favour of mirrorless cameras. Nikon has not released any new SLR cameras in the market since unveiling the D6 three years ago.
The new technology in mirrorless gadgets involves the use of an electronic screen fed by the camera’s sensor instead of a DSLR’s mirror gimmick to give the photographer a preview of the final image.
Nikon’s announcement came shortly after rival, Sony, which is the second-largest producer of cameras globally, quietly dropped DSLR lenses from its products stable, perhaps following on the footsteps of Canon, the world’s top camera producer’s move to quit developing high-end DSLRs.
Overall, DSLR cameras have come under pressure as the segment grapples with the rising popularity of smartphones embedded with high-resolution cameras and the use of small, lightweight mirrorless cameras.
The industry’s shift in favour of mirrorless cameras is music to the ears of modern-day photographers. Mirrorless cameras provide a direct link to the imaging sensor, which functions as the collection point for all the incoming data that lets a camera do its job.
In DSLR system, a mirror allows one to look through the camera lens in an analog way, literally using an out-of-date autofocus (AF) system that isn’t as flexible compared to that in mirrorless cameras.
With DSLR, a photographer has no choice but to keep the subjects you’re trying to photograph within an area marked by the focus points, and if the target is at the edge, holding a button to lock the focus becomes your only option.
The new technology with mirrorless cameras uses artificial intelligence capabilities in the imaging sensor to enable autofocus, even to the edge of the frame.