FAST PHOTOGRAPHY WITH ELECTRONICS
Although it seems like yesterday, it was actually three months ago,
that I wrote a column saying "Pictured here is the Sony Still Video
Hi-Band Format Mavica Camera, Model MVC-A10 with a 15mm f/2.8 lens. It
records 10-second sound bytes with the pictures, through the built-in,
omni-directional or external microphone."
Several publications haven't even ran the story yet. Technological
advances are emerging and increasing in complexity so rapidly, that no
publication, even those specializing in technology, can carry all the
news. Last year one corporation, Sony, introduced five new products -- a
Electronic photography is m o v i n g f a s t ! Here are six
advances in a field that takes pictures without film, has no developing
costs and, in some models, records sound bytes (yes, BYTES) on the same
two-inch square video disc that records color pictures.
The Sony Mavica Model AVC-A10 was a bargain at a retail price of $300.
It was the first camera that could take a picture, which could be faxed
around the world within a minute.
TIME magazine's memorable 1991 "Man of the Year" cover, which appeared
January 1, 1992, showed CNN's Ted Turner in a fish-eye world
electronically created by renowned photographer Gregory Heisler. It was
the first-ever digitally-imaged cover for TIME. The project, described
in a recent edition of Popular Science, was an electronic evolution in
itself. The world of photography hasn't been the same since.
Several cameras currently available should be of special interest to
photographers who plan on staying in this line of work for more than a
couple of years.
CANON RC-250. At around $800 the formerly-named "Xap Shot" camera
captures the low price bracket after the Sony. The picture isn't much
better than Sony's but like all electronic cameras it can be hooked up
to a television set or computer for instant viewing. It makes acceptable
photo ID badges and reproductions for newsletters.
CANON L-1 VIDEO. This is actually a video camera with a frame-grabber
board. The camera sells for US $2,400, plus another $1,400 for the board
accessory. For the past year I have been doing the same thing with my
$1,500 Sony CCD-V101 Hi8 camcorder and a $500 Digi-TV video-board from
the AAPPS Corp. (owned by Norman Bushnell, creator of the worlds first
video game PONG). I am very pleased with the results.
SONY MAVICA MVC-2000. The price spread may separate the amateurs from
the pros. This camera goes for $2,800 at the moment and is "suitable for
Remember, this is a totally new field and after a hundred years of
working with film, even electronic enthusiasts keep comparing the
evolutionary new device to old style cameras. Right now they can not do
as much as the best film cameras but just give them a few more years and
they will vastly surpass film units.
SONY MAVICA MVC-5000. The move-up in price -- to $10,000 also moves
results up to high quality, greater resolution picture. Lenses can be
interchanged, and some features from normal high-quality film cameras
are incorporated. Many news organizations, according to POPULAR SCIENCE,
consider it their favorite still-video camera. USA TODAY used it to
capture the Academy Awards late at night in California, have it
processed in their East Coast office within seconds, and published later
the same morning throughout most of the world.
NIKON/KODAK DCS. In almost all fields, if something does more it can
demand a higher price. This units sells for US$25,000, comes with a
10-pound, 200-megabyte hard disc drive for storage of fully-digitalized,
high-resolution images. You need it.
ROLLEI SCANBACK. Selling for US$32,000 (plus camera and lens), this
isn't really a camera, but a photographic scanner. It can create
magazine-quality images with some scan line minor imperfections. The big
drawback to the Rollei is its speed. It takes two minutes to produce a
picture. This rules out action shots and sports events, but sets new
guidelines for still-life photography and 3-D scanning. It fastens onto
the back of a Rollei Model 6006.
This is the first year in the rest of the life of electronic
photography. Prices on these units will drop dramatically as sales and
production rise. New features and new companies will emerge as the
On the horizon is photonics. Not electronics with rapidly moving
electrons, but photons of light moving truly at the speed of light,
180,000 miles per second. Now that requires a fast lens.
Why not give grandmother your old film camera for Christmas?
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