Monday, September 15, 2008

Trigger Happy

I was going through my closet and found a roll of Fuji Film. it looked awkwardly unfamiliar to me.

I cannot remember when it was purchased - probably within the last 5 to 8 years. Back then, I was using an 'auto-focus' non-digital camera when many people around me had switched to the digital version. I had no resistance towards the change but had found no real urgency to do so.

It was in the early 2000s and I remember using my last non-digital camera at a school performance by young children. Like others, I was busy snapping memorable moments when a group of kids came to me. They requested that a picture be taken of them and I gladly obliged. After a couple of shots, they eagerly zipped towards me and asked to view their pictures. I sheepishly told them that mine was a non-digital camera and no preview was available. I cannot forget the looks on those kids. Although they did not whine or protest, I could tell that they were mildly horrified by the oddity.

I started photography as a hobby way back in school where I was the president of the Photography Club. We were just a group of students who loved to meddle with cameras. We learned to perfect our manual adjustment of aperture and focus and we experimented with lenses. I acquired some basic skills that were useful in the era when cameras were non-automatic and non-digital.

Today, if I mention aperture to someone who is using a digital camera, I would probably draw a blank stare. With super friendly automated features in most digital cameras, one only needs to press a single button and the image will be captured. Many do not even bother to read the user manuals.

The history of digital camera is quite short. In the early 1990s, digital cameras started to move into the mass market. A decade later, the gadget became a 'must-have'. Today, digital camera is no longer just a gadget. It is a 'function' which can be found in mobile phones ,PDAs, laptops and BlackBerry.

The features in cameras are growing leaps and bounds. Before 2000, typical resolution hardly went higher than 2.0 Megapixels. Today, you can easily find models that offer 10 Megapixels or more. Besides refined auto-focus features, digital cameras are made more idiot-proof with more helps packed into newer models. 'Face-finder' and 'Anti-shock' are just some examples. With sleeker designs, digital cameras are also being carried around as fashion accessories by some.

I have a digital camera now but I hardly use it. If I need a quick shot, I would fall back on my mobile phone. It has become so easy to capture images with just one push of a button. With such ease, we often get carried away. Thanks to cheaper storage devices, we can shoot hundreds of photos while on holidays. The challenge now is in file management and most of us do not have the discipline to sort captured images after a holiday or special occasion. As a result, we probably have thousands of images stored in various storage devices, making searches tedious and frustrating.

Earlier, I was thinking of getting a feature-packed digital camera. Time and again, I turned rational and decided not to do so. I simply could not find a reason to have one. I still love photography and I know I will lay my hands on it one day. Until then, I may not need yet another idiot-proof digital camera as I already have one in my mobile phone.

Let's get back to the role of film... What do I do with it in the mean time? Any suggestion?

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