I like to write two things: history and predicting the future. I’m pretty accurate on the former and usually entertain people when I try to do the latter. I started to write a history article about the most important, landscape-changing advances in the digital camera world. When I started researching it, I realized that in most cases the landmark introduction was, at the time, met with very mixed reviews: some people loved it, some hated it, some thought “this is amazing,” others thought “nobody’s going to buy that ‘piece of ___.‘” It was only a year or two later that we looked back and said “the ___ changed everything.”
So here are my own opinions of the biggest events in digital SLR history. Notice that many of these “photography changing” events weren’t initially greeted with universal praise. Most film photographers were dragged kicking and screaming into digital. The sub $1,000 digital SLR was hated by pros that saw their market eroding as soccer moms began to take their own high quality images. Many people with investments in crop-sensor specific lenses still don’t think full-frame cameras are an advantage.
When I was researching this piece, I realized we’re living through one of those “great advances in photography” moments right now (in my opinion), although a lot of people are still saying “nobody cares about that.” So I’ve given a sort of prospective This Changes Everything Award for 2009. I’m usually completely wrong with my predictions, but eventually I’ve got to get it right. Maybe this time.