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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Someday Our Cameras Will Die

Actuations & Shutter Count – Someday our Cameras Will Die

Thought-provoking post from Digital Photography School. And no, I had not given this any previous thought. (Most of my film cameras still work, and those that don't have a mechanical issue that could probably still be fixed.) I wonder what the actuation is on my Canon EOS. Although I never really assumed I would shoot with it forever-I figured at some point I would get a new one for some reason or another. It's a great DSLR but it doesn't meet all my needs, and as technology improves I have more options to consider for lighter, more compact cameras that could possibly do most of what my EOS does now. I will be sad when the A620 finally hits the bucket, though, even though it is unnecessarily large and clunky (and takes 4 aa batteries!), because it has been such a handy little point & shoot and it has a rotating flip screen (which subsequent versions of this camera did not appear to have.) However, I've definitely run up against the limits of what it can shoot (jpeg only) and how (max ISO 400.)

This also brings up an interesting issue I have struggled with since converting to (mostly) digital. The freedom to shoot several frames of the same subject and vary the lighting, composition, etc. without having to worry about running out of film has been liberating. "Getting the shot" has a different meaning now that you can a. check your results immediately after shooting and b. shoot a multitude of frames for extra insurance. However, it's definitely changed how I shoot. I shoot way more than I used to, but does quantity necessarily equal more quality? I think being able to exercise that muscle more is always a good thing-I met an instructor in college, very demanding, who would not work with me independently unless I was willing to shoot something like 5 rolls a day, which there was no way I could afford-but I think his point was the more we shoot, the better we get at shooting. However, with digital I think it is easier to get complacent and stuck in a rut. Many of my shots with the DSLR have a "sameness" that frustrates me and it's hard to break out of that without challenging how and when I shoot. Just because it's there and it's interesting, do I have to document it? Is it something that really speaks to me, that falls within my current areas of study or bodies of work-or is it better left alone, really? (Or, if I must document it, do I need to shoot 5 or 6 frames of that stop sign?) This is timely to contemplate while, as I type, I am simultaneously converting the raw files from my trip to Seattle-454 shots in 3.5 days.

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