In case you haven’t heard, the digital camera market is exploding. In 2004, sales of digital cameras—24 million of them—finally over took the sale of film cameras. It’s taken a few decades; the underlying technology used in most digital cameras was invented in 1969. But film is finally on the decline.
And why not? The appeal of digital photography is huge. When you shoot digitally, you never have to pay a cent for film or photo processing. You get instant results, viewing your photos just moments after shooting them. As a digital photographer, you can even be your own darkroom technician—without the darkroom. You can retouch and enhance photos, make enlargements, and print out greeting cards using your home computer. Sharing your pictures with others is far easier, too, since you can burn them to CD, email them to friends, or post them on the Web. As one fan puts it: “There are no ‘negatives’ in digital photography.”
On the other hand, while digital photography is full of promise, it’s also been full of headaches. During the early years of digital cameras, just making the camera-to-computer connection was a nightmare. You had to mess with serial or USB cables; install device drivers; and use proprietary software to transfer, open, and convert camera images into a standard file format. If you handled all these tasks perfectly—and sacrificed a young male goat during the spring equinox—you ended up with good digital pictures.
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