How to know when not to buy the latest gadget

It’s almost a decade since I bought my first DSLR.   A Canon 10D.   “Barely” 6.3 megapixel resolution, most smartphones I would consider buying these days have more than that.   But it used all my EF lenses and has served me well.   Too well in fact.

For all of us in technology, the words “early adopters” or “gadget fans” imply the opposite of zombies.   Fast moving, fickle creatures that can’t resist the smell of fresh tech flesh.   Can’t be seen with a device whose specs are outdated.   So how has this old camera survived so long?   And, more to the point, how have I resisted buying a new one for so many years?   Especially during visits to Photokina and other photo tech wizardry shows?

If you check out the rate with which I put pictures up on various blogs, flickr or panoramio you would say I am a pretty heavy user of the device.   In fact these are a small proportion of my camera clicking activity.   The DSLR came just in time for my first child, and now that I am up to three, there are more than twenty thousand pictures of them.   Then there is work photography.     Most marketing departments are too stingey to pay for a good photographer and too boring to take a good picture so I often try to fill the gap.   I have enjoyed taking it along to consulting projects and shooting anything from jewellery to coffee.

New DSLRs have tried to entice me.   Almost immediately after the 10D came smaller and lighter cameras.   But not that much smaller or lighter to make it worth changing.   Resolution increased but most end up being seen on computers anyway.   Even photos of mine which have been used commercially in ads by Saab and the like have never suffered from lack of resolution, even in print ads.  Higher sensitivity for shooting in low light situations enticed me.   High Definition video makes sense so you don’t need to carry a second device for that.  Included time lapse features would be useful.   The tables are turning…

Alex vs photo marketing crowd = 1-0 I would say!


Scanning opportunities and inroads to social networking

Old photos fade away.   Literally!   No matter what paper they are printed on, even in good storage conditions.   So as I started to scan a few from my vast – pre digital – collection I couldn’t help but feel there is a better way.   Not even an automated scanner would save me.   I want to cart off the whole thing.   It seems self evident that there is a market.   Why hasn’t it taken off?

Well it is not organised.   Can you name a company that will handle the entire process?   Pick up boxes and return organised DVDs of the pictures, images cleaned up and available in high and low res.   While they are at it why not have them somewhere online for me to pick from.   It would be a great way for any company to get a leg up in social networking.   “Give us your pictures and we will start off your impressive photo blog!”   After all, your friends, coworkers and relatives are all in some picture somewhere.   Tag them and we email them to join!

For anyone with more than an amateur interest in photography it is also a possible revenue source.   (Or so they think; which means they will pay more for it!)  If you have a collection of slides from travels around the world or whatever your pet interest was, they are possibly useful.   If only someone would scan and process them all…  Again it would be a great Trojan horse for someone to get your hosting business. 

A final word of advice:  if you do scan old pictures there will inevitably be some of old girlfriends.   Give the job to a professional agency or else your wife will give you serious grief!