I’ve always been fascinated by tiny cameras. In days of yore, when I was working as a travel copywriter for British Airways, I had a state-of-the-art Pentax SLR.
Oh, but that camera was heavy!
I took to lingering by the windows of photographic shops, ogling the exquisite miniature SLR that Pentax brought out shortly after I had invested in my monster. Alas in those days I couldn’t afford such a little gem.
One day in a poky shop somewhere in darkest Scotland, I found a cheap plastic point-and-shoot no bigger than a matchbox. Ah, bliss!
That tiny camera had only one problem. It took terrible pictures.
To my mind, so much the more exciting. I rarely get a buzz from a picture that leaves nothing to my imagination. Admittedly this camera did have a tendency to leave everything to the imagination. Still, I thrived on the challenge.
Not that I came, saw and conquered. Instant feedback being the prime secret of speedy and easy learning, I was out of luck until the advent of digital cameras.
You don’t have to be a centenarian to remember the time when you had to wait hours, days or even weeks for your photo prints. By the time I’d discovered I had landed just two decent shots in a reel of duds, I’d forgotten what buttons I pressed. Not to mention that it was a bit too late to redo the disasters.
Eight years later, digital cameras landed me finally in my seventh heaven. No, make that the sixth heaven. Full blown bliss arrived with my first camera phone. I got a Sony Ericsson T68 in 2002. Well, the camera was an add-on. Nevertheless the ensemble was still seriously tiny.
Of course the T68 still took ho-hum pictures. But at least it showed you instantly (well, almost instantly) the picture you had taken. The camera might not offer vast scope for improvement, but at least you were still on the spot to remember what you did and try something different.
Six years and twelve camera phones later, I’m now on an iPhone. Some people get sniffy about the iPhone’s 2 megapixel camera. Personally I think it’s pretty good compared with what has gone before.