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Is There a Dark Side to Digital Cameras?

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Hobbies
OK, so we live in a world that likes to fantasize about the dark side of things, both in our movies, books, and other entertainment options. One could even say that post 9/11 we even live in a world fearing the real dark side in our midst, but we tend to live in our consumer world of devices that aid us and amuse us on a daily basis. Digital cameras and camera phones are everywhere now. Just about everyone is using one or the other or even both at the same time (have you been to a concert lately and seen folks holding up their mobile phones the way we used to hold up lighters in he old days?). So, these devices have become ubiquitous through our usual consumer desires to have the latest in high tech, consumer advertising, and let's face it...the appeal of having a device that makes things easier for us.

Now is that bad? Probably not, or most people wouldn't own several of them and have a desire for even bigger and better digital cameras. The news media seem to like it just fine as they now have folks everywhere taking images for them when events occur and they can get almost instant access to these images for use in the newspaper or even on TV. In the old film days there were no way you could get the images from a normal citizen and use them almost instantly for news coverage. Now if something happens and someone is there with their mobile phone camera or digital camera the images can be relayed in a heartbeat to the news operations and used in coverage very quickly.

During the London bombing of the subway system in 2005 the images from the underground terror were on the news within the hour and the world was transported into that terrible scene by those images when it would not have happened in the past. Of course then there is the dark side of digital images that took place at the Abu Grabe prison in Iraq. The military personnel who shot those images of the prisoners in degrading positions were simply taking them for their enjoyment and to show to their friends. Of course once they got out of the circle of friends the world was shocked and dismayed by these actions. The ease of sharing digital images made this a dark affair to say the least. However if we were to fool ourselves that these things would not have happened if digital cameras were not present it would be sad indeed. Those folks would have carried out their sick little game even without the ability to share the images amongst themselves.

Now some have said the other dark side of digital cameras is the whole storage issue and how this could be the Achilles's heal of digital photography. With folks out taking tons of images in increasingly higher resolutions there are more and more storage issues for the digital photographer. Granted, the devices come with larger storage capacity and our computers now have huge hard drives, but if you keep filling them up with more and more images and don't bother to organize them in some fashion you will just end up with folders of data that never gets seen or used.

Did you know that at recent imaging expo not one new 35mm film camera was introduced? All of the major camera makers are now completely focused on digital cameras. So the big deal in the near term for digital imaging will be for these same camera companies to invest in figuring out not only how you can print your nice photos easily but also how you can store and organize them efficiently so that you can use them and find them as needed. They have made the cameras easy enough for all of us to use. Of course it is up to all of us digital photographers to go through and hit the delete key/button on a regular basis and get rid of the bad images in order to help the situation. This is the joy of digital...that you can play with your camera and try things out. When you do store your images make sure to file them in a folder that gives as much description of what is in the folder as possible.

Watch out for those mobile phone cameras as competitors to our digital cameras. Nokia has just released the N90 camera phone and it rivals many digital cameras for quality and usefulness. It can take still and video images at 2 mega-pixel resolution using a Carl Zeiss lens. You can do just about everything with this device including listening to MP3 music, watching video on the 352x416 pixel screen, connect to the internet and check your email, send photos over the network, and connect to a Bluetooth wireless headset as well.

Oh my! Now we can be saddled with devices that won't even let us live our lives. We will be too busy multi tasking as we walk down the street. Now THAT may be the dark side of digital cameras!
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