“More, better, faster, cheaper.“ Choose any two.”Old photo lab expression from back in the film days
Before digital imaging came along, the introduction of new photographic technologies had been gradual, with each new product building on and backwardly compatible with what equipment has gone before. Computer companies, on the other hand, are driven by competition and the realities of Moore’s Law, which states that “the power of the silicon chip microprocessor will double every eighteen months, with a proportionate decrease in cost.”
Gordon Moore, one of Intel’s founders, predicted that computing power would rise exponentially over time. In practical terms, this means digital imaging product cycles are measured in months, instead of years for developing traditional optical and photochemical products. The digital camera that you purchased today is quickly replaced with a newer and better (and sometime more expensive) model that produces higher quality images. For many people, this is the single most frustrating aspect of the digital imaging process. Since this trend is not going to change, I have a few words of advice:
- First, get used to it. Over time this pace may slow but it’s not going to change any time soon.
- Second, don’t go broke upgrading to get the latest hardware and software unless you can cost justify productivity improvements. If a new piece of equipment, like Olympus new E-M1 Mark II can pay for itself in the short run and make you deliver a better product in a timely manner, this purchase is a no brainer.
- Third, keep all this technology in perspective. The single most important photographic accessory is still the person behind the camera.
My book, “The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography,” is out-of-print but used copies are available from Amazon at most affordable prices. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon at an affordable price with used copies available at a giveaway—less than a buck— price. Pick up inexpensive copies of these books for your favorite photographer or yourself.