A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

  Sunday 16 August 2003
You push the button, we'll do the rest 

That was the Kodak promise for their first roll film camera. It took 120 round pictures and was returned to the Kodak store for developing and printing and reloading. The right product at the right time, it alone started photography as the popular part of our lives that it is today. 100 years later, the digital camera promise is "You push the button and then you do the rest".  I'm happy with that, just as I'm happy with my new camera, a Minolta DiMage 7i. While my Sony CD100 was the right camera at the time I was traveling to Europe I've moaned about how it's response is slow, the delay between pictures is ridiculous and it involved a lot of anticipated guesswork on moving subjects of where they'd be in the frame a second after I pressed the button.

When you look at the ibis above you'll see that catching peak moment is one less thing I can complain about (I've got a couple of new ones but I'm convinced there's no one camera that will ever be ideal. I'm also developing a theory that splits digital photography from making photographs digitally. A snapshot approach vs. the replacement of film by digital technology.)

The new camera has automatic features on it I'm sure I'll use, but I'm going manual for a bit to see what my technique is like without the props. The extra quality of the 5 megapixel image will allow me to do some better print reproduction and blowup images, but the Minolta handles the colour differently to the Sony, much less saturated and closer to the way my eye is seeing it. It means that the pictures may be less 'pretty' but those ibis and the grey sky were what I saw on an afternoon promising rain, in August 2003.

The only thing I miss with my camera, computer and Photoshop are picking up those packs of prints from the photofinisher, still warm with sharp cut edges and their smell of chemicals and dryer. I'll get used to it, just as I didn't bemoan the change when my hands stopped smelling of fixer and stop bath when I was developing my own films, a smell I wore like aftershave for 10 years. Handing over the printing to a good photofinisher was worth the money, the frustration came when I would carefully expose for black or highlight levels, and have it 'corrected' by the fast photo printer. I had to plead with them to 'leave it alone'.

That's why I'm happy now to 'do the rest' as I'm sure lots more of you sitting at your computers will be as well. I saw the ads for a disposable (more like a recyclable) digital camera the other day, the promise is again - you take the pictures we'll do the rest. Do you get feelings of Deja vu?

Roosting ibis at the Bungendore tip. Winter afternoon 2003.

Kodak Brownie, Model B
Sold for $1, from the start George Eastman planned these cameras to create 'film customers' recognizing that this was where the profit was. There's a great Brownie camera history at the California Museum of Photography website.






  Fred Harden 2003 <thinktag> After a few days, these entries are added to the Archive Menu

Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden