2020 has been hard on all of us and harder still on some of us. Regular readers/contributors have disappeared altogether, which fills me with dread and grief. For others, while health has been OK, jobs have been lost or threatened. Few of us haven’t experienced first hand what it means to live under house arrest for months on end. And even those who escaped all of this have witnessed the suffering of others and the constriction of society as a whole.
So let me begin by thanking all of you who have continued to read, comment and support DearSusan, and by wishing you a Very Happy 2021. Shit happens. And it’s how we react to it that defines us. But it’s also by sticking together that we pick ourselves us. Here’s wishing you have solid friends around you to make your way back to normality. You’ll always have us to talk to if you feel like it (the contact link is just above).
And, in spite of growing division within the US, a new irreparable division between the UK and its former European sisters, and possibly the greatest divide mankind has ever known between what matters to global health & happiness and what makes a tiny few richer than is good for anyone, here’s wishing for greater friendship and unity. Growing friendship, more than anything else, will be the goal at DS central this year.
But we’ll also be talking about photography 😉
Innovation is messy. Not all new ideas are good ideas. And I’m not even sure 2021 will be the year we see some young sprout break away from the herd. But there sure is a lot of stirring under the surface.
You can see where my thought is going.
Manufacturers following the growing specifications route are beginning to hit a usability ceiling. There’s not a lot to be gained over the current 61Mp, 20fps and 409000 ISO current limits. Certainly not enough to hope to convert a shrinking user base to newer fancier models on. But an expansion of usage scenarios, on the other hand, can be a solution to a collapsing market. And, at that think-out-of-the-box game, young startups are trying to nibble at the feet of the seemingly blind sided incumbents.
Let’s forget the ZX1 for now. While the premise was excellent, the execution unfortunately appears to leave a lot to be desired. A company that makes possibly the best lenses on the planet releases a camera that can’t make use of them. Really? A company whose last know camera achieved cult status releases a new – much anticipated – camera that completely turns it back to the legend. Really? A company that picks up on the mobile revolution before others releases a camera that deliberately ignores the mobile screen and computer in everyone’s pocket. Really? What an absolute shame. And it arrives two years late in a market dominated by a frantic specs race. Zeiss is without the shadow of a doubt my favourite company in the photo universe. So it pains me to witness the mess this ZX1 is. Maybe I’m wrong. I’d love to review one. I’d love to love it. Maybe soon?
But all the other outsiders so far seem to define their offerings as extensions of the smarphone. The Pixii can work solo and that was how I enjoyed it most, but its wifi connection to the phone opens up new avenues that Canisony were busy ignoring until recdently. Alice goes a step futher (too far?) by requiring a tethered phone to operate, providing it with a better sensor/lens combo for a small space and cost. And, apparently, some sort of AI thingamabob gets thrown if. Heck, even Sony acknowledges the mighty phone, these days. The a7S iii can exchange files with a phone through a simple mutual tapping, shake-your-booty style. Amazing.
So yes, we’ll continue to see the mainstream manufacturers roll out familiar product lines but my prediction is that greater integration with the smartphone will be an important undercurrent of 2021. And, hopefully, some of the newcomers will get a chance to see the light of the sun beneath the crumbling canopy of the big boys.
Also: video. I’m convinced we will see more and more photographers turn to video for their creative fixes. More on this below.
In 2020, we were fortunate to see the number of contributor rise. And two ladies are now regularly enthralling us with their talent. We would love to see more join the ranks (so, if you’re reading from the sidelines and fancy a go, please use that contact link above 🙂 )
We, men, love gear talk. And there will be plenty of that in 2021. But the no-nonsense artistic flair found in a woman’s article is essential reading for all of us. Lani, Nancee, call yer friends! 😉 And thank you for being here and sharing your talent with us glass-crazed blokes.
I’d also love to see younger photographers contribute. You, Yung Persohn I’m calling you out 😉 Your comments are always astute and to the point. Why not join us and share a few thoughts? We’d all benefit and you’d have fun 🙂 And, of course, new contributors are always welcome!! If you’ve been on the fence, whatever your age, gender, race, shoe size, use this Jan 1 symbolic date as impetus to click on that contact link above 🙂 We can’t wait to read you!
Besides membership and authorship wishes, here are a few other ideas that could materialise in the near future. First and foremost is video.
Before you run away, video will not become the main focus. In fact, it’s still unclear whether it will become a focus at all. And no, I am not backtracking after years of anti-video ranting 😉 It’s not video itself that fueled those rants but the gauche implementation of video features in photo cameras that spoiled the fun for everyone. Now, here’s why I’m actually drawn to video as a complement to photography. The artistic facets are too numerous to list.
So those are the reasons. But what’s the idea?
If this materializes, the first – and probably most useful – thing to do is document the transition. Photographers have learned to master composition and natural light to tell a story in a single frame. This makes them great candidates to transition to filmmaking. And I want to create an A to Z guide for navigating that transition. Technically, it feels daunting. Creatively, it feels fascinating.
Beyond that, who knows? It’s not even early days. It’s merely rumination days. And there’s your personal tastes to take into account? Would video content turn you off or, on the contrary, make you want to read and view more from us?
So that’s all folks 😉 Here’s to a friendship-rich, creativity-rich and content-rich 2021. Happy New Year. Be safe and Carpe Diem 🙂
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