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.