Feb 15, 2013
It has been more than 35 years since Kodak engineer Steve Sasson built what is widely regarded as the first digital camera, and nearly 18 years since Apple introduced the Kodak-built QuickTake 100, the first sub-$1,000 digital camera. For several years, it was important to note which cameras were digital and which prints were made from an image captured by a â€œdigital camera,â€ often to explain away any image quality differences versus â€œreal camerasâ€ that still used film.
Much has changed since then. Film is but a distant memory for nearly everyone — except those who donâ€™t remember it at all. Digital cameras are real cameras and digital photos are real photos, but for some reason the industry (InfoTrends included) continues to use the terms â€œdigital cameraâ€ and â€œdigital photography,â€ as if to differentiate them from something with which they would be easily confused.
- Amazon.comâ€™s site includes a product category called â€œCamera & Photoâ€. So far so good. But clicking through reveals subcategories â€œDigital Camerasâ€ and, yes, â€œFilm Camerasâ€. And get this â€“ as of this writing, there are 2,821 items shown in the â€œFilm Cameraâ€ category, 2,151 of which are listed as â€œNewâ€. A closer look shows several Polaroid and Fujifilm instant cameras, numerous flavors of major- and not-so-major-brand single use cameras (film in a box), and an assortment of what Iâ€™ll call â€œspecialtyâ€ and â€œnoveltyâ€ cameras (pinhole, 3D, Holga, Lomography, etc.). There are even some honest-to-goodness 35mm SLR cameras listed there, but if some of them are really new, their Silica Gel might be safe to eat by now (but please donâ€™t). Oddly enough, some digital instant cameras, such as the Polaroid Z2300 with its built-in ZINK printer, appear under â€œFilm Camerasâ€. In all fairness, just 121 of the 2,151 are actually sold by Amazon.com and they appear to be categorized appropriately.
- Over at Best Buy, thereâ€™s a â€œCameras & Camcordersâ€ category. Within, subcategories include â€œDigital Camerasâ€, â€œDigital SLR Camerasâ€, and â€œCompact System Camerasâ€. (Click here for some thoughts from my colleague Mette Eriksen on naming challenges for interchangeable lens cameras.) Alas, there is also a â€œFilm Cameras & Accessoriesâ€ category, but there are only 8 items listed, and itâ€™s hard to argue against any of them being there.
- Photo retailers bhphotovideo.com and adorama.com also sell both â€œDigital Camerasâ€ and â€œFilm Camerasâ€, and a site search for â€œcameraâ€ does not default to either.
Curiously, despite the considerable hype that preceded the arrival of high definition television, no one that I know sits down to watch their favorite â€œHDTVâ€ shows â€“ itâ€™s simply â€œTVâ€. But there is considerable inertia behind the term â€œdigital cameraâ€, it appears to be with us for a while.
I think Iâ€™ll go â€œcaptureâ€ some â€œimagesâ€. (Who does that?)
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