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Blog: Point and Shoot Digital Photography in the 2020’s – To Keep a Separate Camera, or Just use your Phone?

Do you remember having to carry around multiple devices to do many different things? You had your cell phone for calls, your CD Player (or iPod/MP3 player if you were cool) for music, and your digital camera for photos. If you didn’t mind taking 5 mins a message, you could text, but realistically Messengers (like MSN, ICQ, or AIM) and Email were your best forms of social media that you usually had to wait to get home and check on your desktop. Now? We carry all of those formerly chunky devices around in the palm of our hand, consolidated into one device with a nicely integrated operating system that has more computing power than NASA landing Neil Armstrong on the moon. And unless you’re a gamer, photographer, content producer, or are running a small server, not a lot of people still even run desktop computers anymore. Is this better for us? You could debate both ways for sure, but it’s certainly easier. What does this have to do with our topic? I’m just just using this as an example that even though things have changed drastically over the 20-some years of mobile device evolution, the point and shoot cameras that you remember from the heyday of digital cameras still exist. In fact, they’re still made by a handful of manufacturers – such as Canon, Sony, and Kodak.

How do they hold up to the modern cell phone images though? I’ll let you decide. The photo on the top is from a Canon Point and Shoot, the photo on the bottom, is from an iPhone 8.

What do you think? As much as I hate to admit it because I’ve always liked having a separate camera, the iPhone resulted in a much more crisp, and detailed image with virtually no manual adjustments other than making it slightly darker. The issue with this is the processing power – the camera is meant to be a camera, snap a simple photo and that alone. Its computing power is limited to doing what it needs to do, which isn’t inherently bad, you can offload that photo to a computer, and utilizing separate software edit the above image and get close to what you have in the below image, it’ll just take a little time to get it where you want it. But, when you take a photo on a modern phone you have the ability to snap, edit, stylize, and share all in one. You get the image you want on the first go, and can edit on device if you don’t.

I stated 2021 in the header, but realistically, this is 2019 technology we’re talking about – and while some things have changed, the principle of this all remains the same. They’re both quality images, and while the iPhone is objectively a better image off the bat, it’s just about what you see as right for yourself. Presently, I’m using an iPhone 11, it’s not the latest and greatest, or the top tier phone of it’s release year, but it has an amazing camera, and does exactly what I need it to do well. I still use the camera when I want to keep things separate, or need my phone out, but most of the time I just use the camera on the iPhone. It’s still supported (and sold) by the manufacturer, and will continue to receive updates, and get new software defined camera features.

Before this model I had an iPhone 8 (discussed above) from 2017-2019, a MotoZ Play from 2016-2017 (bad idea), and before that I utilized every (non-S model) iPhone from the 3g to the 6 (which was 2009-2017). I’m an Apple Fanboy for sure, but know that it’s debatably not even the best phone camera on the market anymore. The Sony Xperia line, and Samsung Galaxy models give them a run for your money for sure! Watching and being a part of the Phone Camera Evolutionary process has been interesting, when did you decide that keeping separate devices was no longer a necessity? Leave a comment, or drop us a line at blog@carlson-media.com and we can discuss!

Update: October 2021

Good Evening, Everybody!

Just a few quick updates – we know it’s been a while since we’ve posted any updates, our weekly articles stopped after the holidays last year, and it’s been a bit radio silent ever since. Well, we’re hoping to change that now! We’re still open, and have finally got the last little bit of paperwork out of the way to be official! One little house keeping piece though is that we’ve had a change in phone number. Due to the usage of cell phone forwarding, and lack of calls being originated from the business number our old number expired. We’ve updated our contact page, but if you had one of our business cards, that number is no longer valid, so please head on over here to get our updated information.

Another piece that we’re happy to now offer are gift pieces such as printed coffee mugs, t-shirts, and canvases, in addition to being able to order a full set of new prints for you if you’d like. Pricing for those items are custom based on what you’d like, size, potential scaling/touchups of photograph that may be required to make it printable on such formats.

Test Drive 3: Sony Handycam 1997

In our first ever video edition we give you a brief, unedited single take summary use of the Sony Handycam!

The Sony Handycam CCD-TRV22 (not as pretty as new device model names) was one an incredibly popular camcorder – offering many options for the average consumer.

Utilizing an MP120 tape, in the US NTSC standard, you could record 120 mins in SP quality, or 240 in LP – this allowed for longer durations of recording without having to change tapes, however the downside was quality loss. This is similar to changing from 4k to HD (1080p or 720p), or even SD (480p) resolution, or reducing your recording framerate from 60fps, or 30fps, which reduces file size, and allows more to fit on your hard drive, or SD Card.

The additional battery (while a little pricey) would allow hours of additional recording – it was highly recommended that you use the viewfinder, and keep the LCD Display off however as the display tended to drain the battery quite quickly. Using the extended battery, and no LCD, the camera would allow for five hours of continued usage. Ni-Cd batteries have a fractional duration when comparing to modern Li-Po, or Li-Fe-Po batteries used in our present everyday devices.

I know… I’m making it seem like 1997 was so long ago, but 23 years is an absolute eternity in the technological world!

Scroll down for more images, and we’ll catch you next week!

Test Drive Tech #2: Polaroid – at least what we can find film for this week

You’re probably asking yourself: But I thought they were gone!?

Yes, they are… Polaroid as they were are gone and buried unfortunately, at least in the camera world – but the name lives on, and the product has seen a bit of a resurgence. In 2008 a company formed called “The Impossible Project” (not to be confused with Impossible Foods) – this company started in manufacturing new Polaroid film for the original cameras with a redesigned formula. Their film was only 8 shots, and took a little bit of time to develop, but in my mind it offered a much clearer image than the original did.

They’ve since bought out the Polaroid Name, and Reformed as ‘Polaroid Originals’ – this has actually lead to the price of the film dropping a little from the ‘Impossible’ days, and even some new cameras being made. But these aren’t the camera’s we’re going to touch on today – more because we’ve had an issue getting the film locally, but don’t worry! It’s set to be in stock again soon enough, and we’ll have one of those coming down the pipe.

We all love the digital cameras that we carry around day to day, but film just has a certain appeal that I can never get past. Today, we’re looking at the Polaroid 300 – this is essentially a Polaroid Branded Fujifilm Instax camera, in fact it uses the same film which makes it easy to find, and not horribly expensive. It’s a fun little thing that really just is there for novelty – the photos are the same size as a business card, and are best when taken in medium light environments.

They use a little 10 shot film cartridge that we’re used to from all of the old cameras, and instead of the film pack holding the batteries, it uses four AA Batteries to get the job done, so no worries if you leave the camera open, it’ll auto power off after a little while. It is powered on by pulling the lens fixture out, and has a shot counter on the back by the viewfinder.

The photo ejects through the top as opposed to the bottom front, or side as the old camera’s would, and has a few different lighting settings. I’ve personally never found them to be very useful. As I said, this camera is a fun novelty for the nostalgia aspect, however it really isn’t meant to be your every day camera, nor does it claim to be.

We used the same pupper as our subject for photos as in our last ‘Test Drive’ post.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this dive in, and we’ll see you next week for our look at some video tech!

Test Drive Tech #1: Point and Shoot Digital

We’re going to start a weekly series where we take a dive in to some of the technology that we have sitting around here, and if it works, we’re going to give it a test drive. Starting this series off is the Kodak DC220.

Branded as the “Digital Science” model of camera, they were considered one of the first consumer digital cameras, with an SRP below $1000. When scrounging this bad boy out of it’s hidden corner, we actually found some fantastic old photos that are complete gems… while those aren’t the photos that we’re showing, we couldn’t get the 15 year old watermark to go away as every time we fiddled with the settings, the device would crash, so that’s there to stay for the time being. Also, this one may have caught the ole’ Y2K bug, as every time we went to change the year to 2020, it would lock up and shut down… either Y2K bug, or it’s just realizing what the year 2020 is all about. – all kidding aside, the menus are a struggle for real, but given we were just doing a demo, it wasn’t worth fiddling too much!

This Camera was powered by four AA batteries, and utilized a Compact Flash (CF) memory card for storage. It provided no onboard amount of storage, therefore it was non-functional without a memory card – something that’s still common today, however some modern digital “point and shoot” cameras provide about 16mb of storage. CF cards are still used, however they are nowhere near as common since the advent of the SD, and Micro SD Card.

For interfacing to a computer this used a 7-pin serial cable to an RS-232 connection – while the 7-pin is still found every now and again, it’s often complemented with a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connection that has replaced just about every other type of consumer used connector in the tech world. Additionally it had an A/V out option for displaying images on a TV, and a DC power port for any extended duration of usage it could be plugged in to an external power source and not drain the batteries.

Side note: those four AA batteries lasted about an hour of usage before they were completely drained, so rechargeable batteries would have been the right investment for any type of sustained use of this camera.

The 1MP Quality branding sure does show it’s age – just think about how much more camera power you hold in your pocket than you would have lugging this around 25 years ago! Your prints would have likely looked okay up to a 5×7 image size, but anything more than that, and the pixels would have shown drastically. We took a photo of the owner’s dog for this test drive – the first two photos are with the DC220, the third is with the standard camera settings on the iPhone 11, and the fourth is with an iPhone 11 using portrait mode.

It’s amazing how far we’ve come with digital photography since the launch of this camera! Both of these shots were using the exact same lighting environment, that being said – I promise we’re better photographers than this, however it was a pretty low light environment at the time, so even the iPhone shots are a little iffy.

Enjoy!

And We’re Live!

Good Afternoon, Everybody!

I just came to the realization that the announcement was made on our Facebook, and Instagram accounts, however it never made it to our ACTUAL website – our scanner is ordered, and starting next week we’ll be fulfilling photo digitization orders! We’re able to take photos ranging from wallet sized, and Polaroids, all the way up to 8.5×11 full document size! You can get your orders in as early as today!!! How do you do it? Well, it’s as simple as contacting us at our email address, phone number, or one of our social media pages!

Have questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

We look forward to your business –

The CMS Team

We Know…. It’s been nothing but crickets

Admittedly, we’ve been a little quiet lately…. but I promise it’s been for a good reason. We launched preemptively, but not without reason – we wanted to start getting the name and idea out there, but coming in the next few weeks you’ll see the added service we polled about previously! We have our new piece of hardware all picked out, so it’ll just be a matter of ordering it… and that should be soon!

Day Two of Launch Week!

Welcome to Day Two! Some significant changes to the way we look have taken place today – you may have noticed… There’s a logo! Incorporating the film aspect of this was very important, so what better way than to display a camera in the logo! The hard part was deciding what kind. 

We’re officially open for business, and look forward to hearing from you! Our hours are by appointment only at the moment, as we do not have a retail space to work with, so give a call, shoot an email, or fill out that contact form to get in touch!

Ken

8/29/2020

Welcome!

Good Afternoon Everybody, and Welcome to “The State of the Media!”

It’s just another way of saying that it’s our little business blog… sounds cool though, doesn’t it? 

Anyways, I want to thank you for taking to time to review our page, and that you find yourself in our more informal aspect of this. This is where we’ll post if we’re backlogged, if there are big changes coming, vacations being taken, etc.. 

As I’ve said in some of the initial posts when launching yesterday, the A/V Conversion aspect of this is just going to be one arm – in the next couple of months I’m really looking towards launching some Event Videography, and Photography (now that we’re starting to have events again), as well as adding some other things like film conversion. But, for the moment, we’re just going to stick it out where we are. I’m looking into some good equipment, but I don’t want to publicize that we’re doing it, and then show up with no more than an iPhone. The fact of the matter is that it’s just not budgeted at the moment, and since we’re just launching, it’s going to take some time, and patience. 

I look forward to earning your business over time, and feel free to contact us using one of the many methods listed on the contact page located here!

Ken

8/28/2020