Lost in Thought

By steveng

The march of progress (widwed310719)

When I thought of the theme for this week's wide Wednesday this was not quite what I had in mind.  On reflection - I came to the idea that progress in photography is a good way to show how science has influenced and changed our lives, but also the way different technologies (which are often just applied sciences) become mixed together to build something the original developers might never have thought of.

Unless you are as much of a nerd as I am - stop reading now :-)

My father's 1954 Kodak retina is a mix of optics, a clock mechanism and chemistry - it doesn't need a battery and one could always guess the exposure from Sunny 16. I don't suppose many Retina users could afford the colour films of the day so I have included a roll of monochrome 35mm (full frame!) film.  My dad would buy a roll of Kodachrome 64 for special occasions :-)
Next up is Gill's 1982 Pentax MX, which does have a battery for the inbuilt light meter, but the rest of the camera will operate without one. Pentax made much of that in their advertising.  My ME Super would only manage one shutter speed without its battery.  By this time colour film was cheap enough (or perhaps more of us could afford it?) and the rise of quality control meant that the real price of the cameras had come down for anyone lucky enough to live in the Western world. We could even have interchangeable lenses at a not too eye-watering price.
Just as I was getting interested in photography and starting work as an engineer - digital electronics for all was getting going - and I would guess that around the early 2000s the convenience of digital began to overtake the quality of film. I suppose the advent of the personal computer so we had something to edit and view the digital photos on was a big part of that.

My Canon 5D4 is probably the end of the DSLR road, although I think it will be economics which kill it off rather than anything else. It is completely dependent on a battery - and I wouldn't go out without a spare.  So, I guess that is back to chemistry :-)  It also benefits from integrated circuits (more chemistry) and the rise of digital electronics making memory cheaper, both of which also mean our PCs can handle the bonkers file sizes these cameras produce.   The essentially mechanical shutter and the light path are however, not so different from the MX.  I'm guessing that passing picture files around on memory sticks will soon be a thing of the past as faster connectivity becomes a reality for more of us. 
Lastly - my M5 - the advent of displays small enough, cheap enough  and with good enough resolution make the mirror mechanism not the essential it once was and as I understand it - there are now more computer science graduates than optical or mechanical engineers so  the likes of Sony can challenge Canon, Nikon et al and so introduce different thinking into the camera market. Of course - the display and processing really do hammer the battery which has to fit into a smaller body,  so I share spares with Gill.  As for sharing our images, I can now get the images from the camera and onto my mobile, edit and share them quite easily. 

And finally - what goes around comes around

One of the things I like about the M5 is the way I can have separate controls for aperture and shutter speed - just like the MX
and have you noticed how Fuji and Olympus make cameras with the styling, look and feel of a smart rangefinder camera?
In the bottom right of my mobile you can see some modern printer paper, designed to emulate old style chemical photo paper.

Enough of my waffle, I'm looking forward to seeing your interpretations of the challenge!

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