It is really hard to describe just how photography changed human society. The simple fact we are able to capture some still images captivated the imagination of mankind and helped us accomplish some truly extraordinary things.
Ranging from a beautiful smile to the most stunning vistas you can find on the planet Earth and from fond childhood memories to inspiring scenes of historical events, photography allowed us to roll out endless amounts of passion, creativity, and sheer art with nothing more than just one shot.
One of the reasons why photography remained such a strong social and artistic force to this very date was the medium's extraordinary ability to keep up with the trends and use all benefits of the current tech.
Keeping in mind that modern society is dominated by the digital world this seems like a good opportunity to see how this technology changed photography and gave it a new life.
The inception of digital photography
These days, when we spend countless hours on social media platforms like Instagram it's easy to tie the rise of digital photography with smartphones and their ever-evolving cameras. However, the first digital camera was introduced as early as 1988 at the Photokina trade show. Going under the name Fujix DS-1P and it scored, by today's standards, a modest 400 kilopixel sensor as well as 2 MB SRAM storage.
However, these low specs did usher in one important change – even then it was clear the digital storage will be easy to expand without taking up more space. This simple fact forever changed the world of photos. From this point on, the users were no longer restricted by the physical limits of photographic film as a medium. As time went they were able to take as many photos as they wanted and with no storage limit for the photo resolution.
The 90s revolution
The subsequent 90s evolution of digital cameras made the technology affordable enough to put it into every household while the sensors become increasingly capable of ramping up the resolution with each new iteration. The benefit of ever-increasing storage and the LCD screen where they could easily review the photos also made photography more egalitarian and help countless consumers get hooked on the activity and start playing with staging, lighting, etc.
The rise of DSLRs
However, as much as affordable digital cameras did tremendous work to bring photography to wide consumer masses, the true technological breakthrough occurred in the field of professional DSLR units. This technology, to this very date, remains the industry standard, so if you hire a professional for a wedding shoot or night photography workshop, they will use the DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) unit. These professional units offer a couple of important benefits over their regular digital cousins:
- Powerful sensors with incredibly high megapixel count
- Optical viewfinder
- Interchangeable lenses for greater flexibility
- Excellent low light capability
- Full control over aperture
- Excellent shutter and focus speed
It is worth noting that, as time went on, these units also became more consumer-friendly the casual photo enthusiasts and Instagram influencers have access to top-tier photos at a very affordable price.
The smartphones and IoT
These days, however, the majority of digital photos are taken on smartphones and similar smart devices. The volume of taken photos is also bigger than ever before in history – a recent survey found out that, thanks to these intuitive and streamlined devices we all carry in our back pockets, we annually take as much as 1.2 billion digital photos. That is roughly 160 photos for every person on the planet. If you are looking for the true legacy of digital photography, you can find it in these staggering numbers.
In the old days of Polaroid and photographic film, people used to take photos on special occasions and record the most memorable moments of their lives. These days they are an integral part of our lives and serve a much grander purpose. We take them to have fun, share them with friends, convey some information, or even as a meme template. The web-based and IoT (Internet of Things) infrastructure makes this incredibly easy, fun, and engaging.
And even though their origins were modest, these mobile IoT-powered cameras are becoming very capable. These days, you can easily find a DSLRE quality triple camera setup for no more than a couple of hundreds of bucks.
The perks of modern digital photography
Last but not least, we would like to point out that these powerful cameras are not only mounted on our mobile phones – they can be mounted on drones, our bikes, cars, and countless other devices. This makes modern photography incredibly versatile and erasers the bounders of what can be done with a camera. Here are some of the most noteworthy perks you get these days:
- 4K resolution
- 360-degree shooting
- Smart AI-powered capabilities
- Increase in camera sensitivity (ISO going up to 409,600)
- AI-powered OIS
- Cloud storage and easy sharing capabilities
- Integration with VR
As we can see, all these small evolutionary steps brought photography to the point where we are no longer limited by space, time, weather conditions, or any other external factors. The cameras are there so we can use them to have fun, create art, or try to inspire – and all that with as little nuisance as possible. That means the digital tech didn't truly change the nature of photography – it only help this art to reach its full potential.