Right from the beginning, digital was compared to film. Like any replacement technology, its valuation was based as much on a comparison to the past as it was on wild speculations about how it would change our future. In obsessing about the “photo-quality” standard, much of the real magic of digital photography has been overshadowed by a fixation on megapixels. This article is about anything but pixel counts and resolution. Rather, it’s about a whole new way of making pictures a part of your daily life—recording visual details that heretofore would have been considered a “waste of film” or carrying a camera at times when it would have been inconvenient (a strap pulling on your shoulder, a bulge in your purse or pocket)—then sharing and revisiting these images in useful or whimsical ways.
One exemplary tool of the new age of photography is the Minolta DiMAGE X.It’s so small that it fits in a pocket, but so thin that the pocket could be on a snug pair of blue jeans or in the makeup pocket of an evening bag. In keeping with our purpose for these pages, we won’t dwell on the bells and whistles of the “X”, as they have been adequately published in this and other publications and Websites. The mission here is to reinvent uses for a camera, to think outside the black box, collecting visual images as you would reminder notes or random thoughts.
Case in point, the “X” stowed away on our brief spring vacation, making itself available on all the occasions when the 35mm SLR was too much to carry or the action didn’t justify filming with DV (we travel with all the weapons). Terms like “omnipresent” or “ubiquitous” are heady descriptions for the little camera that netted so much information and so mini-memories.
Since our spring break, we’ve used the “X” to digitally try new aftermarket wheels on our car before buying (cut and paste in the PC), leave explicit visual directions for the gardener and plumber, “photo-copy” literary criticisms at the library for our son’s term paper, and more. The possibilities are endless. No wonder Minolta provides a belt-clip case so the “X” can buddy-up to your cell phone.
Any more words would contradict our picture-rather-than-1,000-words point, so here’s a sampling of the hundreds now stored neatly on a CD and our hard drive.