The world may be chang­ing but we still love pho­tos, writes Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Ni­chol­son

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

The dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY has never been more pop­u­lar. Aus­tralian con­sumers now cap­ture more than 146 pho­to­graphs each month on av­er­age – 288 for DSLR own­ers – and more than 80 per cent of Aussie homes have a dig­i­tal cam­era.

The newly re­leased Canon Dig­i­tal Life­style In­dex also shows Aus­tralians splashed out $ 320 mil­lion on cam­eras in the last six months of 2011. But the news is not all good for the in­dus­try.

Cam­era prices have dropped 68 per cent since 2003, to an av­er­age of just $ 221, and photo printer sales are also fall­ing, down 62 per cent this year.

Cam­era mak­ers are fight­ing back, how­ever, with ev­i­dence on show at the largest dig­i­tal cam­era event in the south­ern hemi­sphere.

At The Dig­i­tal Show, held in Mel­bourne re­cently, mak­ers showed off new high- end cam­eras to en­cour­age users to in­vest more and em­pha­sised photo shar­ing over photo print­ing to adapt to our new life­styles.

Imag­ing and Dig­i­tal En­ter­tain­ment As­so­ci­a­tion con­sul­tant Kather­ine Sing­son said the show was re­named this year to re­flect the con­ver­gence in the pho­tog­ra­phy in­dus­try.

She said the rise of multi- megapixel mo­bile phone cam­eras was hav­ing a wide- reach­ing im­pact.

‘‘ With the on­set of ubiq­ui­tous smart­phones and more de­vices like tablets with cam­eras inside, peo­ple are dis­cov­er­ing a love of pho­tog­ra­phy,’’ Sing­son said. ‘‘ A lot of peo­ple might not have con­sid­ered them­selves pho­tog­ra­phers un­til they started tak­ing pho­tos with their phones.’’

But rather than print those im­ages, many new pho­tog­ra­phers just shared them on­line, she said.

‘‘ There’s prob­a­bly a whole gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple who haven’t held a printed im­age of them­selves,’’ Sing­son said.

Dig­i­tal Show ex­hibitors ad­dressed this trend, dis­play­ing new ways to save, store and show off pho­to­graphs.

Eye- Fico- founder Ziv Gil­lat an­nounced the Aus­tralian ar­rival of the com­pany’s unique wi- fi- en­abled memory cards. They store im­ages like a reg­u­lar memory card but also con­nect to wire­less in­ter­net hot spots to au­to­mat­i­cally save im­ages from your cam­era to so­cial net­works or a com­puter.

Im­ages can au­to­mat­i­cally be uploaded to Flickr, Picasa or Google, as well as Eye- Fi’s own servers.

‘‘ Mums are a big tar­get de­mo­graphic for us,’’ Gil­lat said. ‘‘ She’s busy and she doesn’t want to bother with ca­bles and up­load­ing pho­tos. By the time she is able to upload pho­tos, they’re not as fresh. This way it’s done au­to­mat­i­cally.’’

Gil­lat said three types of Eye- Fi memory cards would ar­rive in Aus­tralia this month, from a 4GB card for $ 60 to an 8GB card for $ 118.

Other shar­ing- fo­cused de­vices on show in­cluded the $ 249 Loox­cie – a cam­era re­sem­bling a Blue­tooth head­set that can stream live video to the web – and the re­turn of Po­laroid cam­eras, in­clud­ing dig­i­tal mod­els, that can edit and print pho­tos in­stantly.

An­other trend on show was the rise of more ad­vanced cam­eras, which bucked sales trends in Aus­tralia last year.

Dig­i­tal SLR cam­era sales jumped 26 per cent in the last half of 2011, out­per­form­ing ev­ery­thing from LCD TVS to per­sonal video recorders.

As such, at the show Nikon pa­raded its new en­try- level D3200, which fea­tures a glossy red ex­te­rior and head­line- grab­bing 24- megapixel res­o­lu­tion, while Olym­pus pit­ted its new OM- D EM- 5 com­pact sys­tem cam­era against full- sized DSLRS.

Olym­pus Aus­tralia man­ag­ing direc­tor Marc Ra­datt said OM- D sell- outs showed Aus­tralians were still in­ter­ested in ad­vanced cam­eras.

In ad­di­tion to show­ing off its new DSLR cam­eras, the 5D MKIII and 1D X, Canon chose the Dig­i­tal Show to launch a pho­tog­ra­phy school, the Canon Academy, of­fer­ing on­line and off­line cour­ses, plus work­shops. To find out more, phone 1300 646 644 or visit ur­cre­ative.

Pic­ture: Thinkstock

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