Tech Advances & Options

To say that photography is technologically driven these days is an understatement. While the miracle of being able to capture an image in and of itself is still a source of amazement to me, photography has changed so radically as of late that you need a scorecard to keep up with the game. That’s the intent of this issue, to bring you up to speed on the many developments that sit under the hood in capture, storage, and image delivery.

I remember sitting in a conference room many years back when Richard LoPinto of Nikon held forth on the “power of NEF” (Nikon’s Raw file format) and sharing a sense of bewilderment with the other photo editors and writers assembled there, little knowing what a profound influence and effect the unleashing of Raw file format would have on our photographic lives. What he was describing was a whole new adventure in imaging, and complications, that soon vaulted digital photography into a new level of quality that made it viable for the most professional of applications and usage, while at the same time making that quality available to all photographers who venture into its realms, even with moderately priced cameras.

Digital photography has also launched an exponential increase in image making, as anyone who has been involved in the craft for the past few years knows, resulting in thousands of images on discs, hard drives, external drives, and even floating around in the cloud. In this issue we take a look at a host of available storage possibilities, as well as an insider’s look at new ways to have control over that vast store of photos.

And like film improperly wound on a take-up spool, memory cards are not infallible in their storage of images written onto them by the processor, and while rare, corrupted files and lost images are not alien to anyone who has been shooting digital for a long time. In that regard we also offer some sound advice on memory card use and handling that should help prevent loss or damage with a modicum of care.

While our main task here is gear use and testing and displaying the wonderful images made by a wide range of photographers, I think it’s a good idea to pause once in a while and catch up on new developments on the tech side. That way we can all take advantage of the latest developments and feel some sense of control over increasingly sophisticated cameras and especially over the images we create. Of course, technology for its own sake is not what a great image is about, but let’s face it—technology is at the core of the tools we use, and having a sense of what makes things tick is a good idea, and fascinating in the bargain.

And speaking of technology, we’ve been very pleased with the response to our online submission process for Picture This! Two things—please be sure to upload images at or near 4MB JPEG for best reproduction quality, and most important—include your “real” and not just your username in the picture tech notes. We want to copyright your images in your name, not that of your moniker!