I have been playing with my EXILIM S500 and realizing that it has features that are suggestive of the future to come in general, and of the Web in particular. Here are some more that I consider very interesting. I am sure you will hear some more soon about this.
Using DSP and camera parameters, I believe, cameras will make taking pictures very easy for average users in diffeent situations. EXILIM provides 34 different modes of taking pictures that include things like food, firwork, twilight, retro, pets, printed material among others. Thus a user can select a mode using one simple selection and be sure that camera adjusts all its parameters and adjusts all setting for the selected situation. Such mechanisms may not be important for professional photographers using powerful SLR cameras and knowing exactly when to use what settings but for average users are very useful. In fact with Dr. Brett Adams and Svetha Vekatesh of Curtin University in Perth, Australia I am working on a research project called Integrated Media Creation Environment for helping average users take good video shots that will be needed to tell a good story. This is accomplished using videography principles and helping people while they are taking video. Dr. Brett Adam is the lead on this project and he is making very good progress. What I see in this camera is the early version of that philosophy used in digital cameras. This is the direction championed by point-and-shoot cameras. Now using digital technology it is being taken to the next stage. And soon this will be in such a sophiticated form that it will be really difficult to take bad photos.
Of course there will always be scope for creative photographers. Like word processing does not make one JK Rowling and result in every body writing Harry Potter series, but it does help do what they want to do better and more satisfying.
Among other features that could be selected is short videos. This feature allows a user to take a video of one minute — I believe. Thus you just select this mode and then press your picture shot button and the camera takes a short video. I believe, like many others, that this mode of short video is likely to become more popular than either photographs or videos. This mode allows us to capture the dynamism of the environment without worrying about the length and subsequent editing of the video.
Combined these enabling features with the ease to carry the device and you get something that is more portable than pen and paper and can capture experiences and information more easily than writing. And you can see the future of communication in this century.
Richard Chalfen is a visual anthropologist that wrote a pertinent article regarding the differences in usage of still and video imagery by people. Based on the ethnography, there seems to be good reason for having both. The article, entitled, “Family photograph appreciation: Dynamics of medium, interpretation, and memory”, can be read here: http://astro.temple.edu/~rchalfen/Memory.html