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Digital Capture's Future

(April 2008) posted on Wed Apr 09, 2008

With film disappearing and digital cameras becoming more advanced, what happens to digital capture?

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By Jeff Dorgay

When it comes to film cameras, that game has changed dramatically as well. Konica Minolta has left the game entirely, while Canon and Olympus no longer make SLR cameras that use film at all. Nikon still produces its flagship F6 along with the entry-level FM10 for film lovers plus a full line of auto-focus lenses; the company still produces a very limited range of its manual-focus Nikkor lenses to go along with legacy bodies and the FM10. Leica still produces its R series of film SLRs and its M series rangefinder cameras and plans on supporting film "as long as film is still available." All the major manufacturers still make compact 35mm film cameras, but their ranks are dwindling-even two years ago, there was quite a selection available, but now only a few are left.

Also shrinking: the medium- and large-format camera worlds. While pro photographers are still buying medium- and large-format cameras these days, many of them are also adding a digital back to the mix. Perhaps the best example of this is Sinar’s P3 view camera-designed for use with a digital back, it retains all of the flexibility that the company's 4x5 cameras have become famous for, plus full film capability for the photographer who requires it.

Thinning the scanning ranks

Because today’s medium-format digital cameras are outstanding and even the better DSLRs are in the 12- to 22-megapixel range, the need for scanning has gone way down in the average workflow. While scanner sales among the remaining manufacturers are depressed, they appear to be somewhat steady, with current clients including stock agencies, museums, and art galleries, all of which tend to require the highest possible quality for archival purposes.