Evolution of Digital Cameras

As much as I love digital photography, I’m glad it’s improved so very much. So when this week’s photo challenge was to show the word blur, I thought I’d share how far the cameras have come since 2001.

Back when digital cameras were new, I bought an upper end point-and-shoot, the Canon Pro90. I quickly discovered that a) the cats moved faster than the camera could record and b) the flash was waaaaay too bright. In fact, the picture on the left was the primary reason I continued shooting with both film and digital for several years after we brought the kitten home. As for the picture on the right, everytime digital photography improves, I try again to save it. This is the best I could do using Topaz Black & White. I like the picture, which is the only reason I don’t delete it.

By the way, having the flash too bright remains a perpetual problem for me. Here are two more! The Vizsla on the left was taken in 2011 with the Canon PowerShot G12 (also a point-and-shoot). I took my daughter last fall with the Canon EOS 6D, an upper end DSLR. I used an add-on flash with it and clearly didn’t understand how to use it, although the next few photos turned out  much better (click here to see).

But to return to the topic of old digital cameras – blurry cat photos and overexposure on the flash weren’t the only problems in 2001. That first digital camera had a bad problem with chromatic aberration, where the pixels get chunky and sprout weird colors. This is due to the low pixel count. When you start doing any adjustments to the pictures, the pixels start corrupting.

With only minimal adjustments made (to lighten the shadows), you can see that there’s something a little weird about the picture on the left. It’s got faint traces of pink and purple on the fur. The picture on the right was somewhat cleaned up using Topaz DeJpeg and looks good as long as you don’t get too close. It just isn’t possible to do much else to this picture without the chromatic aberration getting worse.

Because when you get close, this is how it looks. Those weird squiggles are called jpg artifacts, which is caused by the same problem of not enough pixels.

By 2005, I’d upgraded to the Canon PowerShot Pro1. This picture is noisy (i.e., grainy) – the lighting was too low and I didn’t use flash – but the chromatic aberration is minimal. This picture is straight from the camera without any adjustments. With adjustment, it wouldn’t be so yellow. I still wouldn’t expect it to have much aberration as the camera technology is so much better.

So, here’s the kitten in 2001 with some crisp digital pictures:

And here’s a blurry kitten that couldn’t quite get caught on camera, especially when he’s doing the dance of joy because a camera bag provocatively dangled its straps on the stairs. I took out the battery and pushed it towards him to see what he would do and the dance of joy got wilder, even though he couldn’t carry it away.

By 2005, he was a gorgeous hunk of muscle with the full markings of a seal point Siamese cat:

Cat #3 aka the kitten. Seal point Siamese cat.

Cat #3 aka the kitten. Seal point Siamese cat.

Some of these pictures were previously posted. The kitten at play is here and the three cats are here.

To see how others interpreted the challenge, click here.

21 thoughts on “Evolution of Digital Cameras

  1. I did a double take when your post opened and there sat a c-a-t. Didn’t want to say that out loud with so many doggie ears listening. I didn’t realize I’d missed so many of your posts until I sorted my email by “From.” Apparently, my inbox is an abyss and it swallows things.

    • I thought you knew I had cats. I had cats for many years. The dogs were recent, after our daughter graduated college and left home. My husband wanted company during the day while I was at work. Or as my daughter said, he wanted a replacement for her being gone. Cat #1 was about ten years old at the time and the Vizsla loved to chase him. That went on for a few months until the cat decided he wasn’t running anymore. The Vizsla puppy overshot and nearly rammed his head into the wall. The cat just say there grooming himself and ignored the dog. That took care of that problem, although cat #3 still ran (cat #2 was dead by then). Cat #3 died after we moved to Richmond and with the miniature pinscher being such a lap dog, I’ve had no desire to get another cat for now.

      Yeah, the inboxes get overwhelmed pretty easily. No problem if you miss reading a few.

  2. hello dogear6 its dennis the vizsla dog oh hay wow didjital kamras hav come a long way!!! dada sez the first wun he ever yoozed belongd to a frend and wuz mayd by sony and stored pikchers on a floppy disk i do not eeven no wot a floppy disk is eksept sum sort of dog toy i think!!! ha ha ok bye

    • Ah yes, floppy disks. I still have some around that I need to get rid of. It’s not a very good dog toy though, Dennis. Too easy to crunch and splinter into sharp plastic shards. So if you find some, stay away. I know that’s hard, but try. Vet visits are even less fun.

    • I had thought about teaching it one-on-one, but am not sure I feel like it. We’ll see. If I decide to retire, I might try it.

      And he is regal – so very handsome. I do miss him, even with how annoying he could be. He never talked to me – he bellowed at me. And he did it non-stop too.

    • I’m glad you liked the topic! It was really interesting to see how much my pictures improved with no effort just by getting a better camera.

      After the last cat died, I just couldn’t replace him when I had a min pin that wanted my lap so badly and did not like to share it. When these guys go though, I don’t think we’ll have any more pets. They tie us down too much and I’m tired of the mess.

  3. Even with the advance in digital camera world…..my skills are still subpar. But I do love the playing and learning more. And your posts are always informative. Not having the time to take classes or even study more when I read one of your posts I always learn something to add to my little base of knowledge. :) Thank you Nancy!

    • I’m glad you enjoy the posts (and leave me notes too!). My skills came very slowly. If I’d been practicing this since 2002, I’d be MUCH better than I am. But lack of time made a big difference in my desire as did the hubby being so critical (he only backed off that several years ago).

      • Time crunch is huge isn’t it? I love that I can dabble in so many different creative ‘ideas’ without having to depend on them for a livelihood. But then, not having the time because I have to make a livelihood…..it’s a wicked cycle isn’t it? :) And my husband, as brilliant as he is….has no photography knowledge….so I’m safe there…..

        • The time crunch is just not solvable. I really learned to select carefully where I wanted to give attention. There’s not enough hours to get it all done. Still, for you the photography is not too relevant. Your pictures and their simple outlines provide a fantastic accompaniment to your posts. You don’t really need photographs.

          • :-D Thank you Nancy. I do love the drawing. The pictures are ‘fun’ for me. I’m enjoying the creative. Actually I’ve taken pictures that have led me to a drawing. I’ve seldom been able to catch, with the camera, what my eye is wanting it to catch. Maybe my mind has a filter the camera will never have. :)

  4. Very interesting and informative post! I remember my first digital camera, a PowerShot, probably around 2002. My hubby refused to even use it and continued to take photos with his “real” Canon. Yes, luckily there’s been great evolution.

  5. Ok First, that is one handsome cat! And second, I too am very glad that digital cameras have come so far. Makes photography so much nicer.

    • He is my handsome boy for sure. Unfortunately his voice had only two setting – very loud and bellow, which got annoying real quickly. I’m glad to know I’m not the only that thinks the digital cameras have improved so much!

    • I gave this some serious thought after getting your note. I had thought about doing some photo consulting, especially one-on-one training. If I decide to do it, you can be my guinea pig. I don’t live that far away that I couldn’t try it out.

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