The death of Point & Shoot ?

It was a little bit of a surprise last week when i picked up our trusty Nikon Coolpix 4200 to snap a picture of some gadget i wanted to put on ebay. Apparently the little device, which we take on most of our trips as a “convenient little camera”, had encountered an unknown wave of subspace radiation an had gone completely “blind”. Pointing the camera ever which way resulted in a “black” picture on the LCD display. This hinted towards an extreme form of manic depression on the camera’s part, or the fact it was just plain broken. Sure the pictures that where ON the card still displayed ok, but anything else we wanted to snap just turned out .. ‘black’. A quick mental calculation did point out that the earth had cycled around the sun at least once since we bought the little Nikon so any arguments about warranty where moot (or mute.. Which is it again). Time for the obvious “mixed emotion” every geek gets when a gadget breaks : “Oh Frack , its dead, / Oh Yeey ! I get to buy something new ! “. But talking to the ‘other geek’ in the house, this opened up an interesting discussion.

For one : “Why do we HAVE the point and shoot ?”  Answer : For convenience sake. We have a pretty good “semi SLR” camera that, when we ever get the time to read the manual properly, gives us amazing pictures. Whenever we are in the mood to play shutterbug or look like a paparazzi, all we need to do is sling the (Semi)-SLR around or shoulders and Princess Dyana feels the urge to plow into a concrete tunnel wall. The “point and shoot” is used for ‘less planned’ situations where we “just grab a camera” and slide it into our back-pocket before scuttling out the door. And I must say the little nikon has served us well. In situations where logging in a big camera would have been “suspicious” or just plain impractical.  The quality of the little device was not outstanding but … it was convenient to carry around that gave it the edge.

This brought us to the next point in the discussion : “Do we really NEED to buy another point and shoot ?” The Cellphones (or can we call them ‘communicators’ yet ?) in our respectable pockets carry five megapixels of HD power (each) and have a permanent 3G (or edge) connection to the net. And we have noticed that the pictures we enjoy most is the ones we can share with others ( As mentioned in the article : “The convenience of creation” ) So do we NEED another point and shoot ? To be honest ? I don’t think so. When we need a “dedicated device for the dedicated task of photograph” we shall not falter and aim a giant lens at your face. But when we are just out-and-about why carry around tons of devices ? Nyana’s Wildfire even has a fairly decent flash and the even the video shot with the HTC Desire is not bad at all. Again the fact that these devices are “omnipresent” around us and are permanently tied in to the Interwebs to allow “instant sharing” outweighs the fact that they “might not have an optical zoom”.

With tools like “pixelpipe” on the android we can setup pre-arranged “routing pipes” for any form of content that is created. Snap a picture and have it uploaded instantaneously to your Facebook feed, your twitter stream and your Flickr Collection. The issue of not having the pictures “locally” on the home server is also easily solved without setting up any ports. Setting up one of the “pixel pipes” to upload the snapshots to a Dropbox folder in the cloud is the first step in this setup. Next is making sure this Dropbox folder is synced down to your home server. After that a small “copy all files from this folder to this local folder” is enough to “empty” out the Dropbox once a week and copy the pictures to their permanent location. All of this does not even need to be done manually as a “cp -rv /dropbox/pixelpipe/ /home/pictures/” script can be dropped in your Crontab ( on linux of course). The kicker with this way of doing things is that : a) You don’t need to open up any ports on your firewall to “send files home”. b) you don’t need to sync with a fracking cable. c) Yourserver does not need to be on all the time. e) Its technology working for YOU and not the way around.

So I don’t think we will be purchasing an untethered-un-pixelpiped-indirectly-connected-to-the-cloud camera in favor of our content-creating “virtual sidearms”. so .. DRAW !

Pictures shot with Nyana’s HTC Wildfire HERE

Pictures shot with Knightwise’s GalaxyS HERE

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