During this research we will go through the whole path from the invention of photography till today’s contemporary cameras and opportunities they provide. While researching we take a closer look at the methods of shooting which became possible only after invention of digital technologies, its advantages and drawbacks. The main goal of the paper is to discover all the benefits and measure different points of view. As for benefits of digital photography that will be discussed we will explore some issues that challenge photography even nowadays (see Robert Hirsch, for example).
History of Photography
The routes of photography take its beginning in the 18th century. In 1725 Johann Heinrich Schultz, German physicist, tried to make a sparkling substance and discovered that a solution of iron salts could change the color under the sunlight. Later he experimented with different silver compounds and brought out that a conjunction of silver and chalk darken when sunlight get on the substance. So that was the first step to the development of photography. In 1825 a French inventor Nicéphore Niépce produced a first permanent photograph with the help of camera obscura and called it ‘View from the Window at Le Gras ’. But it took a lot of time to expose (eight hours) and he decided to invent a faster process. Niépce began to work on the invention with another French artist and physicist, Louis Daguerre. A sudden death of Niépce in 1833 did not stop Daguerre. He continued the research and in the result developed a daguerreotype in 1837. A first ever taken photo of person was made in 1838, a pedestrian on the street who stopped to clean his shoes. The process took several minutes. Daguerre has presented his invention in 1839. An English inventor William Fox Talbot has invented a calotype process which creates negative image. In the next few years there has been made several inventions in order to improve the process of taking pictures. There were wet and dry plates invented. They were replaced in 1884 into a film invented by George Eastman. Almost all photographs of that time were monochrome or black-and-white, but there also were photographs made in blue or brown colors. The first color permanent picture was taken in 1861 by James Clerk Maxwell. He used a three-color-separation method which included red, green and blue filters. Later Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii has made an extensive contribution to the color separation technique.
Camera’s invention. Till the 1970th there were made lots of scientific inventions and technologies have been improved significantly. And in 1975 the first attempt to build a digital camera was made by Steven Sasson, an engineer at Eastman Kodak Company. The camera weighted 8 pounds and recorded images on a cassette tape. So in 1981 Sony invented a charge-couple device (CCD) that excluded a need in film. There is a special device that catches the light and converts it into digital data. The first true digital camera that recorded computerized images was made in 1988 by Fuji. But cameras were not fully digital devices until in 1991 Kodak presented a first commercial digital camera. Up to 1990th digital cameras became commercially available. And since that time the digital technologies have developing with rapid strides. Today’s cameras are much more complicated and have a lot of new opportunities.
Digital Photography and Its Benefits
In the framework of the photography and technology evolution emerged modern concept of photojournalism. Traditional means of taking pictures made difficulties for photographers to work remotely. They used miniature labs and transmitting images through the telephone lines. Competing with television, photojournalists always wanted to make a process of picture delivering to newspapers faster.
There are lots of facts that could be considered as advantages of digital photography such as fast exposure and print, photo post-production software, time and money consumption, high quality of image, opportunity to take pictures and videos by one and same camera. Let’s begin with the definition of its initial meaning. Digital photography means a use of electronic image sensor inside the camera to record image as a set of electronic data rather then as chemical changes on film. How the high quality of image is achieved? Image sensors (CCD) read intensity of light more accurately now meanwhile digital memory devices store an electronic image as red-green-blue (RGB) color space. What do the CCD or CMOS sensors mean? As we could find in the ‘Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age’ book CCD and CMOS sensors mean the following:
As you know for today if you want a better quality of image, you need a higher resolution and bigger size of CCD sensor. The more sensitive it would be the higher quality of image you get. If compare video and photo cameras, we could see that the images are clearer in photo then in video. Nowadays photo cameras have a sufficient reduction of noise what give us a better photo in the result. So as for today people has no need to buy video camera separately from photo camera.
If we speak about time and money consumption, the technologies make a progress inhere. In comparison with film photography digital one has some pluses. The processes of management, manipulation and post-production of pictures become faster and easier. Let’s imagine you take pictures on film camera, first of all you have to develop a film see all the shot pictures in negatives and only then reveal that you made some mistakes. Modern photo cameras have an immediate preview and deletion of pictures. You needn’t change film constantly, wait long time for its exposure and print and only then have an opportunity to re-shoot. All these you could do on the spot. You have to take a picture and see it on the camera screen. You can change any option you need such as focus, image stability or angle of the shoot.
As we talk about focus or autofocus in digital cameras, we should mention it as one of the main benefits. There are two kinds of focus active and passive. An active autofocus (AF) system measures distance to the subject independently of the optical system and puts optics in the right position. The active AF system puts optics in the right position with the help of ultrasonic and infrared sensors. A passive autofocus determines the correct focus by means of the image that enters the optical system. So it is possible to say that passive AF system follows the subject. According to Renng Ng, doctor of philosophy of the computer technology department, there are some problems with the focus of digital cameras. Such problems as mistake in fraction of an inch, the size of the lens aperture and the depth of field, the aperture size. He raises these problems in his PhD work. He says that when you make a photo you should focus on the subject as accurately as it possible. Today digital camera has an option to focus on the subject inch by inch. But it could make another problem. Imagine you make a photo of a person and when you get the ready-made picture, it appears that you cut his/her leg, hand or head. When using a film such situation would be disappointing, you waited for a certain period of time for photographs exposure and print. When you have a digital camera you can make all the necessary changes on the spot. Concerning few sentences above that was the lens aperture size problem described (Ng 2, chapter 1).
Also digital cameras have helped all sorts of photojournalists to improve their work.
What is the best way to make images your own?
Once you become familiar with your camera’s basic functions, you can start customizing its functions to reflect your personal aesthetics and shooting requirements. Digital technology offers new tools for observing and thinking. It can be an enabling technology, permitting more people to create and then circulate images via the Internet, which is doubling in size every year. In the past, professional photojournalists and their networks of commercial distribution provided the photographs the public would see — for example, of any given war. Especially digital technology helped photojournalists who work at hot spots. They have little time for exposure and post-production of pictures. Now, digital imaging allows soldiers themselves to document and tell their uncensored stories of war. The grainy, amateur snapshots made of prisoners being abused by the guards in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, distributed by email and eventually on the Internet, were deemed so powerful that the U.S. government tried to suppress them. Changes in who is making and circulating pictures is evolving with the widespread use of web logs (blogs) and alternative news and open reference websites. The character of imagemaking and its distribution is challenging old photographic approaches and creating new, fresh, and diverse ways of seeing, understanding, and knowing our world (Hirsch 64-65).
Scientists have done a great piece of work improving methods of photo and other information storage. They invented a memory card having flash memory to store images. The image we get is stored on built-in or removable flash memory. There are several image file formats such as JPEG, RAW and TIFF which are provided by the most digital cameras today.
JPEG, which stands for “Joint Photographic Experts Group,” is the default file format used on most digital cameras because it allows for the maximum number of pictures per megabyte of camera memory. It is an excellent file format but has some drawbacks such as images could be restored to their original file size because it was already eliminated.
An acronym for Tag Image File Format, TIFF saves a file without compression and is the current standard in the graphics and printing fields and in cases where an image needs to be examined digitally in detail. The TIFF format is used to exchange files between applications, computer platforms, and for high-quality printing.
The RAW file format is a type of import/export format rather than a storage format. RAW files are made up of unprocessed sensor data. The RAW file format can be considered a pure “digital negative” because it contains unmanipulated binary files with information pertaining only to individual pixels from the image sensor (Hirsch 75-76). So think twice before buying a digital camera, read about it and its characteristics.It is also worth to mention about the so called noise reduction. Noise, in the form of randomly spaced, brightly colored pixels, may appear in an image capture when using an ISO of 400 or higher or in exposures of one second or longer. Quality cameras offer different levels of noise reduction levels: Normal, High, Low, and Off. Typically, noise reduction comes at the expense of sharpness. Cameras with excellent noise reduction capabilities are excellent when photographing in available or low-light situations. It is advisable to test your camera before using the noise reduction settings in critical situations, so you will know what to expect. Noise reduction software is also available for post-capture work.
Many digital cameras with long (telephoto) focal-length zoom lenses have optical image stabilization or a variant such as anti-shake. Some systems are built into the camera body, while others are incorporated into each lens and are designed to deliver sharper pictures by counteracting camera shake. Image-stabilized cameras and lenses use two tiny gyros that process camera movement and send a signal via a servomotor to move lens elements, a prism, or the sensor plane in the opposite direction that the camera moves. Basically, when you move one way, it moves the other way. This helps steady the image projected onto the sensor, which compensates for high-frequency vibration, such as hand shake that becomes noticeable during long exposures and when using long focal lengths.
These are the most important issues that should be mentioned concerning the digital photography.
The post-production programs
For today there are exist some programs that could help to improve the photo quality. Such programs as Photoshop, Light Room, Corel Pint Shop Pro etc. Every program can modify and adjust a photo by several aspects such as color, focus, noise. You also can modify a portrait photo in such a way as change a color of eyes, hide skin defects and many other things. Using these programs in the result you get almost an ideal photograph.
Taking into consideration all the beneficial aspects of digital photography, we could only thank scientists for bright and wonderful inventions that help us to develop the photography field. Such inventions as camera obscura, Daguerreotype, three color separated photograph method and other have a powerful influence on photography at all. As Margaret P. Evans, professor of Shippensburg University, says “ the study of photography opens avenues into a variety of career choices… The camera and the images created with visual and technical skills are ways to bring photographers closer to personal experiences and to critically evaluate world views. Digital photography is part of an increasingly large infrastructure of information technology… Photography is a language that must be studied slowly, carefully, and methodically to understand its vocabulary. Photography is an interdisciplinary study that contains rigorous theoretical connections to other disciplines such as philosophy, literature, history, social science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, communication, fine art, and journalism” (Peres 446).