RANT- Reality Check-"The Early Days of Digital Photography"

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Drifter, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. Drifter

    Drifter Guest

    Okay, this one is driving me nutz so I'm going to blow off a little
    steam and be done with it.

    Repeatedly I have been seeing/hearing the phrase "back when digital
    photography was new", sometimes with a wry intent, but more often with
    complete seriousness that carries a sort of blasé "been there/done
    that" attitude (possibly a symptom of a sort of time-compressed,
    multitasking, revved-up, "Moore's Law" mentality that many of us live
    with today).

    I have to admit that I find it triggers equal measures of irritation
    and humor.

    Photography in general stems from the ancient concept of the "Camera
    Obscuras", but for the sake of my comparison I consider modern
    photography to be a direct descendant of the first film negatives
    created by Henry Talbot in 1834. That gives photography a pedigree of
    at least 170 years. Even starting from the first Leica (1924) we have
    a photographic history of 80 years!

    By contrast, digital photography (using a sensor as opposed to a film
    negative) can, at best, claim a history of roughly 17 years with
    Kodak's first commercial sensor around 1987 or, more practically,
    about 13 years because the 1991 release of the DCS cameras by Kodak
    could be considered the spiritual equal of the stunning release of the
    1900's "Brownie" camera. Today (2004) we have moved well into the
    equal of the "Leica/Kodachrome" phase (roughly equal to 1936 in film
    terms).

    Obviously development of digital photography has been accelerated
    since digital took only 13 years to cover roughly the same span that
    took film photography 36 years. This is no real surprise as many
    aspects of digital photography (especially lens technology) rest
    firmly on the well developed shoulders of film photography. However
    even at this faster pace it seems apparent that digital photography is
    still a very young sibling to it's parent (film photography).

    Just as Talbot had no idea what his creation would (pardon the pun)
    develop into, we have no idea what digital photography will accomplish
    in 80 (or 170) years.

    We're standing in the shallow end and I'm telling you now that digital
    photography is still very, very, new.


    Drifter
    "I've been here, I've been there..."
    Drifter, Oct 1, 2004
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Drifter

    Charlie Self Guest

    Drifter states:

    >Okay, this one is driving me nutz so I'm going to blow off a little
    >steam and be done with it.
    >
    >Repeatedly I have been seeing/hearing the phrase "back when digital
    >photography was new", sometimes with a wry intent, but more often with
    >complete seriousness that carries a sort of blasé "been there/done
    >that" attitude (possibly a symptom of a sort of time-compressed,
    >multitasking, revved-up, "Moore's Law" mentality that many of us live
    >with today).
    >
    >I have to admit that I find it triggers equal measures of irritation
    >and humor.


    No more so than the 20 somethings on TV ads who claim some grease mixture has
    kept their skin "young." Or the people I listen to sometimes, just turned
    27-28-29 or so, talk about "when I was young." Or some TV ad woman talking
    about how she stays slender--at 25!

    It's either societal or a part of the human condition. We all want to be more
    experienced, thus older, than we are, until the joints actually start creaking,
    eyesight begins to fail, and we have to get up 3-4 times a night. Then we'd
    rather be 30, but without a loss of knowledge.
    Charlie Self
    "Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles."
    Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
    Charlie Self, Oct 1, 2004
    #2
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  3. Way back when I got my Oly E-10 I would hear people whisper "That's a
    digital camera!," others would freak when I showed them a photo on the
    viewer...they had no idea that digital existed. I think that is what people
    are refering to when they talk of when digital was new...the days before it
    was ubiquitous. I do agree though that we are where the PC was before the
    IBM-PC. There are no standards.
    Gene Palmiter, Oct 1, 2004
    #3
  4. Drifter wrote:

    > Okay, this one is driving me nutz so I'm going to blow off a little
    > steam and be done with it.


    Man, if this be a rant, you've set the curve in the opposite direction!
    I thought a rant was supposed to be rude, condescending, filled with
    righteous indignation, no real point, and generally poorly written. You
    have "failed" to reach any of these benchmarks.

    Please do "rant" again sometime soon; I enjoyed it, and agree "the early
    days of digital" can be equally amusing/irritating.

    --
    John McWilliams
    John McWilliams, Oct 1, 2004
    #4
  5. Drifter

    Robert Lynch Guest

    "Gene Palmiter" <> wrote in message
    news:Ufe7d.42$ae7.12@trndny07...
    > I do agree though that we are where the PC was before the
    > IBM-PC. There are no standards.


    What kind of standards do you think are lacking in the world
    digital photography?
    Robert Lynch, Oct 1, 2004
    #5
  6. Drifter

    Mardon Guest

    "Drifter" <> wrote...

    > We're standing in the shallow end and I'm telling you now that digital
    > photography is still very, very, new.


    Thanks for some thoughtful comments. BTW, I agree that your words are not a
    rant! :)

    Your comparison of the digital timeline to the overall photography timeline
    raises an interesting issue that you did not address. The quality and
    archival durability of many 19th century and early 20th century negatives
    (glass plate and film, as well as tintypes) are often much better than
    negatives produced by the 'advanced' technology of the mid-20th century. I
    have worked with almost 2,000 glass plate negatives and many large format
    film negatives from the period around the beginning of the 20th century and
    they are generally much better in quality and preservation than the
    negatives that I have from the 1960s and '70s. I think that, like many
    things, the loss of quality was a result of the disposable economy / lowest
    price mindset that overcame the marketplace in the late 20th century. Do
    you see a similar analogy being possible with digital; that is, where
    quality suffers even though the technology advances? In some respects, the
    very nature of digital photography creates this paradox, since digital is
    anathema to archival considerations. A hundred years from now, will my
    great grandchildren be able to see an image from a 1DMarkII, just as I can
    see images of my great grandfather in those old 19th century negatives?
    Mardon, Oct 1, 2004
    #6
  7. Drifter

    Big Bill Guest

    On Fri, 01 Oct 2004 14:57:56 GMT, "Gene Palmiter"
    <> wrote:

    >Way back when I got my Oly E-10 I would hear people whisper "That's a
    >digital camera!," others would freak when I showed them a photo on the
    >viewer...they had no idea that digital existed. I think that is what people
    >are refering to when they talk of when digital was new...the days before it
    >was ubiquitous. I do agree though that we are where the PC was before the
    >IBM-PC. There are no standards.
    >

    Standards?
    As opposed to film?
    I can go into a camera store that stocks 35mm film, and see the lack
    of standards there.
    Or lenses.
    Or cameras themselves.
    Standards? We've got hundreds of standards, none of them standard. :)

    How about Pentax calling themselves "The official camera of the
    Internet"? What standard elected them that?

    Bill Funk
    Change "g" to "a"
    Big Bill, Oct 1, 2004
    #7
  8. "Robert Lynch" <> wrote in message
    news:Sre7d.5$na.0@trnddc04...
    > "Gene Palmiter" <> wrote in message
    > news:Ufe7d.42$ae7.12@trndny07...
    > > I do agree though that we are where the PC was before the
    > > IBM-PC. There are no standards.

    >
    > What kind of standards do you think are lacking in the world
    > digital photography?
    >


    Well....RAW files....why can't they be standarized so that the programs that
    handle them can improve? Lion Battery packs...do they all have to be
    different and proprietary? But....the market will decide what the standards
    will be....but not for awhile.
    Gene Palmiter, Oct 1, 2004
    #8
  9. Drifter

    Jer Guest

    Big Bill wrote:


    > How about Pentax calling themselves "The official camera of the
    > Internet"? What standard elected them that?



    Theirs, of course.


    --
    jer email reply - I am not a 'ten'
    Jer, Oct 1, 2004
    #9
  10. Drifter

    Guest

    Kibo informs me that "Gene Palmiter" <> stated
    that:

    >"Robert Lynch" <> wrote in message
    >> What kind of standards do you think are lacking in the world
    >> digital photography?

    >
    >Well....RAW files....why can't they be standarized so that the programs that
    >handle them can improve?


    You mean like the 'DNG' (for "digital negative"?), open RAW file format
    that Adobe have just announced? ;)

    > Lion Battery packs...do they all have to be
    >different and proprietary?


    Yeah, that part still sucks, but I think it's unlikely to change. It's
    still the same way for laptops, & there have been a couple of failed
    attempts to bring in a standard set of battery formats for them over the
    last 15 years or so.

    > But....the market will decide what the standards
    >will be....but not for awhile.


    Well, the memory cards are a standard format (well, maybe 1.5 formats
    :), & the communication protocol for downloading or printing direct from
    the camera is reasonably standardised already.

    --
    W
    . | ,. w , "Some people are alive only because
    \|/ \|/ it is illegal to kill them." Perna condita delenda est
    ---^----^---------------------------------------------------------------
    , Oct 1, 2004
    #10
  11. Drifter

    zach Guest

    "Mardon" <> wrote in message news:<cjjsl1$7kq$>...
    > "Drifter" <> wrote...
    >
    > > We're standing in the shallow end and I'm telling you now that digital
    > > photography is still very, very, new.

    >
    > Thanks for some thoughtful comments. BTW, I agree that your words are not a
    > rant! :)
    >
    > Your comparison of the digital timeline to the overall photography timeline
    > raises an interesting issue that you did not address. The quality and
    > archival durability of many 19th century and early 20th century negatives
    > (glass plate and film, as well as tintypes) are often much better than
    > negatives produced by the 'advanced' technology of the mid-20th century. I
    > have worked with almost 2,000 glass plate negatives and many large format
    > film negatives from the period around the beginning of the 20th century and
    > they are generally much better in quality and preservation than the
    > negatives that I have from the 1960s and '70s. I think that, like many
    > things, the loss of quality was a result of the disposable economy / lowest
    > price mindset that overcame the marketplace in the late 20th century. Do
    > you see a similar analogy being possible with digital; that is, where
    > quality suffers even though the technology advances? In some respects, the
    > very nature of digital photography creates this paradox, since digital is
    > anathema to archival considerations. A hundred years from now, will my
    > great grandchildren be able to see an image from a 1DMarkII, just as I can
    > see images of my great grandfather in those old 19th century negatives?


    If you take care of your flash card (assuming you don't upload your
    images to a hard disk, or print them), then yes, why not? Flash is
    good for indiscernable data loss after decades. To the human eye,
    probably good forever. Even with current post-processing technology,
    one could probably pull out data from a chip after centuries, and
    eliminate intrinsic data loss (short of catastrophic environmental
    failures) to see the image good as new.
    zach, Oct 1, 2004
    #11
  12. Drifter

    Mardon Guest

    "zach" <> wrote...

    > Even with current post-processing technology,
    > one could probably pull out data from a chip after centuries, and
    > eliminate intrinsic data loss (short of catastrophic environmental
    > failures) to see the image good as new.


    Given the trouble that I've had finding a 'regular 8' (mm) movie projector
    to transfer some old family movies, combined with my contining search for a
    reel to reel recorder that will play some old family audio tapes recorded at
    3 3/4 ips, I have to be skeptical that the technology to read today's flash
    card format will be available 100 years from now. I did a university
    computer program in the early 1960s (a Fortran course) and prepared my
    program and data on punched cards. I suspect that the chances of finding a
    computer to run that program today are better than the chances of reading a
    flash card a century from now. Do you really think that the technology will
    still exist to do this?
    Mardon, Oct 2, 2004
    #12
  13. Drifter

    Guest

    On Fri, 01 Oct 2004 10:45:22 -0700, Big Bill <> wrote:

    >On Fri, 01 Oct 2004 14:57:56 GMT, "Gene Palmiter"
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>Way back when I got my Oly E-10 I would hear people whisper "That's a
    >>digital camera!," others would freak when I showed them a photo on the
    >>viewer...they had no idea that digital existed. I think that is what people
    >>are refering to when they talk of when digital was new...the days before it
    >>was ubiquitous. I do agree though that we are where the PC was before the
    >>IBM-PC. There are no standards.
    >>

    >Standards?
    >As opposed to film?
    >I can go into a camera store that stocks 35mm film, and see the lack
    >of standards there.
    >Or lenses.
    >Or cameras themselves.
    >Standards? We've got hundreds of standards, none of them standard. :)
    >
    >How about Pentax calling themselves "The official camera of the
    >Internet"? What standard elected them that?



    The International Pentax Marketers Association, of course.
    , Oct 2, 2004
    #13
  14. Drifter

    Guest

    On 1 Oct 2004 15:43:19 -0700, (zach) wrote:

    >"Mardon" <> wrote in message news:<cjjsl1$7kq$>...
    >> "Drifter" <> wrote...
    >>
    >> > We're standing in the shallow end and I'm telling you now that digital
    >> > photography is still very, very, new.

    >>
    >> Thanks for some thoughtful comments. BTW, I agree that your words are not a
    >> rant! :)
    >>
    >> Your comparison of the digital timeline to the overall photography timeline
    >> raises an interesting issue that you did not address. The quality and
    >> archival durability of many 19th century and early 20th century negatives
    >> (glass plate and film, as well as tintypes) are often much better than
    >> negatives produced by the 'advanced' technology of the mid-20th century. I
    >> have worked with almost 2,000 glass plate negatives and many large format
    >> film negatives from the period around the beginning of the 20th century and
    >> they are generally much better in quality and preservation than the
    >> negatives that I have from the 1960s and '70s. I think that, like many
    >> things, the loss of quality was a result of the disposable economy / lowest
    >> price mindset that overcame the marketplace in the late 20th century. Do
    >> you see a similar analogy being possible with digital; that is, where
    >> quality suffers even though the technology advances? In some respects, the
    >> very nature of digital photography creates this paradox, since digital is
    >> anathema to archival considerations. A hundred years from now, will my
    >> great grandchildren be able to see an image from a 1DMarkII, just as I can
    >> see images of my great grandfather in those old 19th century negatives?

    >
    >If you take care of your flash card (assuming you don't upload your
    >images to a hard disk, or print them), then yes, why not? Flash is
    >good for indiscernable data loss after decades. To the human eye,
    >probably good forever. Even with current post-processing technology,
    >one could probably pull out data from a chip after centuries, and
    >eliminate intrinsic data loss (short of catastrophic environmental
    >failures) to see the image good as new.


    I suspect the biggest archival problem with digital images is
    more a matter of being able to find equiopment to use in viewing them.
    Just as I'd have trouble scrounging up an 8-track tape player if I
    found an old tape in the garage.

    I wonder how much thought went into the issues of archiving
    the early film material. They'd not likely have hed accelerated aging
    processes to test for longevity so as to select the best materials.
    , Oct 2, 2004
    #14
  15. Drifter wrote:

    > Okay, this one is driving me nutz so I'm going to blow off a little
    > steam and be done with it.
    >
    > Repeatedly I have been seeing/hearing the phrase "back when digital
    > photography was new", sometimes with a wry intent, but more often with
    > complete seriousness that carries a sort of blasé "been there/done
    > that" attitude (possibly a symptom of a sort of time-compressed,
    > multitasking, revved-up, "Moore's Law" mentality that many of us live
    > with today).
    >
    > I have to admit that I find it triggers equal measures of irritation
    > and humor.
    >
    > Photography in general stems from the ancient concept of the "Camera
    > Obscuras", but for the sake of my comparison I consider modern
    > photography to be a direct descendant of the first film negatives
    > created by Henry Talbot in 1834. That gives photography a pedigree of
    > at least 170 years. Even starting from the first Leica (1924) we have
    > a photographic history of 80 years!
    >
    > By contrast, digital photography (using a sensor as opposed to a film
    > negative) can, at best, claim a history of roughly 17 years with
    > Kodak's first commercial sensor around 1987 or, more practically,
    > about 13 years because the 1991 release of the DCS cameras by Kodak
    > could be considered the spiritual equal of the stunning release of the
    > 1900's "Brownie" camera. Today (2004) we have moved well into the
    > equal of the "Leica/Kodachrome" phase (roughly equal to 1936 in film
    > terms).
    >
    > Obviously development of digital photography has been accelerated
    > since digital took only 13 years to cover roughly the same span that
    > took film photography 36 years. This is no real surprise as many
    > aspects of digital photography (especially lens technology) rest
    > firmly on the well developed shoulders of film photography. However
    > even at this faster pace it seems apparent that digital photography is
    > still a very young sibling to it's parent (film photography).
    >
    > Just as Talbot had no idea what his creation would (pardon the pun)
    > develop into, we have no idea what digital photography will accomplish
    > in 80 (or 170) years.
    >
    > We're standing in the shallow end and I'm telling you now that digital
    > photography is still very, very, new.


    I think you have the time line wrong. I took my first digital
    picture in 1976, recorded onto 9-track tape. The birth of
    digital imaging started much earlier in the space program,
    I believe with one of the first satellites that took pictures
    of the earth. That later led to weather satellites.
    Of course, the birth may have been in the spy business, but
    I have no knowledge about that (beyond reading aviation week
    and space technology). So my guess would be around
    1960.

    Roger
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Oct 2, 2004
    #15
  16. Drifter

    friend® Guest

    On Fri, 01 Oct 2004 08:40:50 -0400, Drifter <>
    wrote:

    --------------------in general you're right. But there is one only
    thing in common amongst Leaf digital back, DSLR a nd compact digital
    cameras - [concept of a sensor. Otherwise, they are different
    spewcies.
    friend®, Oct 2, 2004
    #16
  17. Drifter

    Drifter Guest

    --->snip<---
    >I think you have the time line wrong. I took my first digital
    >picture in 1976, recorded onto 9-track tape. The birth of
    >digital imaging started much earlier in the space program,
    >I believe with one of the first satellites that took pictures
    >of the earth. That later led to weather satellites.
    >Of course, the birth may have been in the spy business, but
    >I have no knowledge about that (beyond reading aviation week
    >and space technology). So my guess would be around
    >1960.
    >
    >Roger


    Roger- I tried to make my whole point very clear that I'm talking
    about the development and use of both film negatives and digital
    sensors from their common -commercial- release point; that "everyman"
    usability that the "Brownie" and then the Leica gave to film, and the
    same with the Kodak DCS systems for digital.

    Having established (I thought) that point I was then trying to show
    just how short the digital timeline really is and how new everything
    surrounding the use of a digital sensor to capture images really is.

    The underlying points of my rant...(keeping in mind that this is
    directed to the world in general, not at you personally)...

    1) Digital based photography is still very new, not only have the bugs
    not all been worked out. Heck, we probably don't even know what all
    of the bugs are yet!

    2) The hype from the sales departments of various companies is that
    you are buying solid, mature, technology. "Oh we solved all those
    issues from the early days". Well there is some amazing equipment no
    doubt, but the truth is that if you jump in now the you are still an
    "early adaptor" (equal to the brand new Leica days) and as a result
    you are probably going to get "nicked" here and there by issues. I
    wanted to issue a really big "reality check" about where we are on the
    digital development timeline.

    4) Like film, many of the issues that plague us today (limited range,
    long term storage, incompatible formats, battery life, and so on) will
    most likely be solved as photography is too popular for the issues to
    remain ignored. In the meantime it's up to the user to either
    compensate for those issues, or avoid digital until it grows up.

    5) These problems will probably not be solved within the next 2-3
    years, but it will most likely take less than the 40-70 years that it
    took for film, so stop being so darn impatient! <grin>.

    The great divide that I trip on all the time can best be illustrated
    this way. I have a friend who bought the Digital Rebel and paid
    "serious bucks" so the camera would do everything for him. He
    absolutely cannot understand why I paid "serious bucks" for a 10D so
    that I could get the camera to STOP trying to do everything for me
    <grin>.

    Ah well, east is east and west is west I guess.


    Drifter
    "I've been here, I've been there..."
    Drifter, Oct 2, 2004
    #17
  18. Drifter

    Drifter Guest

    On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 04:08:04 GMT, friend® <>
    wrote:

    >On Fri, 01 Oct 2004 08:40:50 -0400, Drifter <>
    >wrote:
    >
    >--------------------in general you're right. But there is one only
    >thing in common amongst Leaf digital back, DSLR a nd compact digital
    >cameras - [concept of a sensor. Otherwise, they are different
    >spewcies.


    Which has no bearing on my point...

    Summed up ..again...

    Film Photography development timeline
    Begin>-------------------long timeline----------------<current day>

    Digital Photography development timeline
    Begin>-short timeline-<Current day>

    Easily 80% of the complaints I hear about digital photography have
    their roots in people forgetting (or not knowing in the first place)
    just how new the technology is. The point of my rant was a reminder
    that it's all still very new (in spite of what corporate advertising
    would have you think, but hey, they're just trying to instill
    confidence in their product so it'll sell).

    Because it's so new be ready to compensate -for now-. If you aren't
    ready to compensate then don't let anyone fool you into jumping in
    until things have matured a little more.

    Personally, I love the fun of figuring out new technology <grin>.


    Drifter
    "I've been here, I've been there..."
    Drifter, Oct 2, 2004
    #18
  19. Drifter wrote:

    > --->snip<---
    >
    >>I think you have the time line wrong. I took my first digital
    >>picture in 1976, recorded onto 9-track tape. The birth of
    >>digital imaging started much earlier in the space program,
    >>I believe with one of the first satellites that took pictures
    >>of the earth. That later led to weather satellites.
    >>Of course, the birth may have been in the spy business, but
    >>I have no knowledge about that (beyond reading aviation week
    >>and space technology). So my guess would be around
    >>1960.
    >>
    >>Roger

    >
    >
    > Roger- I tried to make my whole point very clear that I'm talking
    > about the development and use of both film negatives and digital
    > sensors from their common -commercial- release point; that "everyman"
    > usability that the "Brownie" and then the Leica gave to film, and the
    > same with the Kodak DCS systems for digital.
    >
    > Having established (I thought) that point I was then trying to show
    > just how short the digital timeline really is and how new everything
    > surrounding the use of a digital sensor to capture images really is.
    >
    > The underlying points of my rant...(keeping in mind that this is
    > directed to the world in general, not at you personally)...
    >
    > 1) Digital based photography is still very new, not only have the bugs
    > not all been worked out. Heck, we probably don't even know what all
    > of the bugs are yet!
    >
    > 2) The hype from the sales departments of various companies is that
    > you are buying solid, mature, technology. "Oh we solved all those
    > issues from the early days". Well there is some amazing equipment no
    > doubt, but the truth is that if you jump in now the you are still an
    > "early adaptor" (equal to the brand new Leica days) and as a result
    > you are probably going to get "nicked" here and there by issues. I
    > wanted to issue a really big "reality check" about where we are on the
    > digital development timeline.
    >
    > 4) Like film, many of the issues that plague us today (limited range,
    > long term storage, incompatible formats, battery life, and so on) will
    > most likely be solved as photography is too popular for the issues to
    > remain ignored. In the meantime it's up to the user to either
    > compensate for those issues, or avoid digital until it grows up.
    >
    > 5) These problems will probably not be solved within the next 2-3
    > years, but it will most likely take less than the 40-70 years that it
    > took for film, so stop being so darn impatient! <grin>.
    >
    > The great divide that I trip on all the time can best be illustrated
    > this way. I have a friend who bought the Digital Rebel and paid
    > "serious bucks" so the camera would do everything for him. He
    > absolutely cannot understand why I paid "serious bucks" for a 10D so
    > that I could get the camera to STOP trying to do everything for me
    > <grin>.
    >
    > Ah well, east is east and west is west I guess.
    >
    >
    > Drifter
    > "I've been here, I've been there..."

    Hi,
    You raise interesting points. I guess I got confused
    about the origin of photography when you mentioned
    Talbot in 1834--that was not a commercial venture.
    In a sense the commercialization of digital photography
    did start in the 1960s with NASA funding contractors
    to build camera systems for spacecraft. It was that
    research and development that eventually led to
    commercial products.

    But what I think you should rant about has more to do
    with commercial decisions than technology. Companies
    dribble out a slightly better product to try and get
    people to buy it. Each company just puts out a product
    they believe slightly edges out their competitor.
    But they could actually leap way ahead. We see this with
    computers all the time: 2.6 GHz, 2.8 GHz, 3.2 GHz, and with
    digital cameras: 4 Mpixels, 6 Mpixels, 8 Mpixels. These
    are small steps in the scheme of things, but a commercial
    effort to keep profits rolling in. Once the top is
    reached, and one needs no better tool, sales will drop
    and profits will drop. At what point is it good enough,
    like the evolution of audio CD players, which have plateaued
    for years?

    Roger
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Oct 2, 2004
    #19
  20. Drifter

    zach Guest

    "Mardon" <> wrote in message news:<cjknnm$h4p$>...
    > "zach" <> wrote...
    >
    > > Even with current post-processing technology,
    > > one could probably pull out data from a chip after centuries, and
    > > eliminate intrinsic data loss (short of catastrophic environmental
    > > failures) to see the image good as new.

    >
    > Given the trouble that I've had finding a 'regular 8' (mm) movie projector
    > to transfer some old family movies, combined with my contining search for a
    > reel to reel recorder that will play some old family audio tapes recorded at
    > 3 3/4 ips, I have to be skeptical that the technology to read today's flash
    > card format will be available 100 years from now. I did a university
    > computer program in the early 1960s (a Fortran course) and prepared my
    > program and data on punched cards. I suspect that the chances of finding a
    > computer to run that program today are better than the chances of reading a
    > flash card a century from now. Do you really think that the technology will
    > still exist to do this?


    I was thinking of more on the silicon level, but you are right from a
    practical standpoint. I was also thinking more for future
    anthropologists. A negative image is still a negative image, whether
    on a glass plate, or a piece of film. There are many flavors of flash
    memory, each with its company's proprietary (cross-licensed or not)
    method of reading the data out from each memory cell.

    As for when digital photograhy started, as someone else pointed out,
    you could probably say with the invention of the CCD, in the late
    1960s <quick google seach> ok, 1969. And the first major applications
    were(spy?) satellite photography and space telescopy.
    zach, Oct 2, 2004
    #20
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