|The tungsten light that have permitted longer hours of human activities|
It may appear obvious that every new technological small or big steeps is pushing the precedent one to obsolescence. And it is true to say that the lasts two or three decades of photo equipment development have totally change the way we use to do, to explore and to show photography. The ancient way to photograph by using analog film and printing, edit, enlarge or diffuse the final picture has been mutate into a digital recording manner presented into a multimedia different platform.
So, the bridge we have passed over the large river of changes is very extensive to an obvious none-returning point (except for the analog traditionalists!). Consequently, the digital science in photo equipment have followed a fast pace in its recent development. But since the very last few years, thinks are getting more peaceful in the photo gear planet. Many manufacturers are reconsidering their future development orientations with a more circumspect point of view.
Can we have reached a plateau in photo equipment technical advancement that will prevent us to discard too early good photo devices on the assertion that something new will be much better than its predecessors? That question has been answered by some prolific photo (gear) reviewers that have started to propose a longer maintaining of our present photo arsenal. And that can be a clever proposal as long the manufacturers can guaranty the hardware and software support of their past models of cameras and lenses. And because of that, it stays obviously an unstable situation for the long term of digital photo equipment use.
|The hard recorded music supports have preceded the cloud now availability|
Material obsolescence is a plague of our present civilization. At a time that we are speaking about durable development, photo industry seems to be in a world apart simply ignoring the urgent task of environmental preservation. And the (camera-lens) consumers are participating directly to that contradictory tendency.
Even today, the pictures of the past are still a valid artistic expression of our visual (and virtual) world. They are history but they are also an art expression as we told of painting, or sculpturing, or writing, or theater, etc. So, it is true to say that is not the tools used to create pictures that are paramount to photography but, moreover, it is the picture representation by itself which is most important. Yes, the tools are a form of cultural testimony, but we have to not concentrate our mind on the means only but more importantly on the results produced by them.
Yes, a beautiful design of a (highly) practical tool like the today’s digital camera is not only pleasant to use but it is also the expression of an esthetically functionalism. And many camera models can be classified as beautifully crafted photo devices which can be very inspirational for the users (mea culpa for myself!). But equipment durability must be part of the entire cycle of human appreciation as we do with older analog camera models. That material continuity is part of the evolution process that preserve our past heritage and giving the base of future (material) advancement
Some camera manufacturers may have already understood the importance of continuity like Leica, Fujifilm or Olympus. I hope others will follow that path. Because ingenuity is not only to start on a fresh blank sheet of paper but depend also how to reinterpret strong ideas of the past that can survive to the futility of a momentary and superficial mood.
Proclaiming obsolescence over many awesome photo devices from the past or even the very recent past is an easy critic to do, often without any real justification. The photo fundamentals didn’t basically change over the years except maybe in terms of enhanced performance versus a more lagging time of reaction of the older analogic camera models if you are speaking of light exposure or of autofocus accuracy for example. My only hope is that the responsible manufacturers will support their products further than only the first few years following their release.