Kirk Tuck wrote an interesting and provocative piece titled "Will the DSLR die? Will small cameras rule the world?" at The Visual Science Lab. The premise of the article is that cameras were engineered to be large in order to provide for certain functionality, that technology is making it possible to incorporate such functionality in ever smaller cameras, and that the camera market will evolve because of these forces. We've been discussing the article over at Serious Compacts, and it's taken us into a discussion of how technology in general will completely change photography. It's no secret that there is pressure on today's professional photographers to incorporate video into their work, and today's video cameras are progressing to the point where each frame can have very acceptable image quality as a standalone still photograph. I've noticed this even with my Micro 4/3 cameras like the Olympus E-M5, but cameras like the RED Epic take things to the next level, providing a high quality, high resolution RAW file for each frame in the video. Many feel that video will eventually bring about the "death of still photography". <object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="https://www.youtube.com/v/B2EB0PTAyME?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="https://www.youtube.com/v/B2EB0PTAyME?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object> View the high-resolution Hassleblad H3D vs Red Epic 5k stills here: Will Video Cameras Kill Still Photography? Red Epic Vs Hasselblad | Fstoppers One point made by our own Ray Sachs encapsulates the other point of view: As I see it, there's no chance that video will ever replace stills when it comes to the way that work is presented. In other words, there will always be a case for showing someone a selected instant rather than a period of time. What may change is the way that we capture that instant. For example, suppose you are doing street photography and see an interesting scene developing in front of you on the streets of Manhattan. You have a camera in your hand that lets you shoot 3 seconds of video at 60fps, and at the end of it you have 180 RAW stills, each having the quality of the files from your current high-end stills camera. Your computer lets you fluidly sweep through them to get to the optimal one and then process that one frame to present as a finished product. Would you choose to work that way or stick with your current method of capturing stills as stills? Timing isn't the only parameter of photography which technology will eventually allow us to choose after the point of capture. The Lytro camera is one example of the ability to choose depth of field after the capture, and the future will surely bring more elegant, less limited solutions. Imagine a camera phone-style, tiny lens/sensor embedded in the corner of your Micro 4/3 camera of the future, a couple of inches away from the lens mount. The main interchangeable lens-sensor unit captures a photo (or video) of high image quality, and the secondary tiny lens-sensor unit provides the camera's processing computer with the depth information, just as our two eyes provide our brain with such information. Given this information and sufficient processing power, depth of field could be selected after the capture, and powerful software like Alien Skin Bokeh 2 would allow you to customize the character of your out-of-focus blur to match any number of rare or expensive pieces of glass from history. Eventually, technology will come to a place where we have the option to choose everything - timing, depth of field, exposure, shutter speed, even composition - after the fact. In short, the ability to capture the image properly will no longer be in limited supply. Those photographers who choose to limit themselves at the point of capture will be analogous to those who choose to manually focus these days, intentionally eschewing capability* in order to enjoy the process. I personally love the process of taking photos in the soon-to-be old-fashioned way, making decisions at the point of capture. However, my photography is mostly family documentary in nature, and the ability to choose a precise moment in time after the fact will be very powerful for any form of documentary photography. All of this is without even mentioning the way technology will shape photography after the desired capture is selected. One of the best examples of where we are headed with digital postprocessing is Adobe's Content Aware Fill, introduced in CS5: <object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="https://www.youtube.com/v/S8cJv_X2Ifw?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="https://www.youtube.com/v/S8cJv_X2Ifw?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object> How else will technology affect photography? Will all of this capability change photography for the better? Will you stick to the old ways? *I realize that manual focus may add capability in specific cases, but hopefully you get my point.