Video Killed the Photography Star?

Could it happen? Could video cameras ultimately replace the still camera? Dirck Halstead at The Digital Journalist seems to think so. He writes about The Coming Earthquake in Photography almost as if he himself weren’t a photographer. This hurts Dirck. Deep down… this hurts.

…in the future photojournalists would no longer be shooting still pictures, but instead would be using video as their prime medium of acquisition.

His prediction is that in the next 10 years, still cameras will suffer at the hand of video worse than film did with digital (no offense to you film guys, you’re a dying breed — but keep it up). Did I mention he’s a photographer? And what’s more, most of the major camera manufacturers will be out of business in 10 years — except Canon. Um, okay. I seriously doubt that Sony is going to throw in the towel that quickly. Just look what they’ve done with Betamax, Minidisc, Memory Stick, PlayStation 3, and Blu-Ray.

However, it is video that will undoubtedly become the main means of acquisition in photography. Today, almost all the manufacturers of prosumer video cameras have moved to High Definition. These cameras, off the shelf, are capable of delivering a 2-megapixel still image.

Whoopty-Doo. Most new cell phones can grab a 2MP photo. Plus, I really doubt that video cameras are eventually going to get the same size sensor as a still camera. There’s no need. You watch video on a monitor. Monitors are fairly limited in resolution compared to a still camera.

Because video cameras now all feature a 16:9 “wide-screen” aspect ratio… you can expect to see wide-screen pictures not only on your TV screen, but in print as well. We predict that magazines (those that still exist) in 10 years will be bound on the top or bottom, not on the sides as they now are. That will allow the magazine to be opened to display a horizontal rather than vertical layout. This will accommodate all those “wide-screen” photographs.

Yes, because that would be so very convenient for reading. And eventually, through evolution, our right arm will migrate down the side of our torso to accommodate those horizontal bound magazines. Even if, by some chance, still cameras went 16×9… I think they’d still print books and magazines the same way they do now. At least I’d like to think so, because I can’t afford to update all my books with that outdated side binding crap.

Part of this article makes me want to laugh, but I’m a little ticked at the same time. How can anybody who has been shooting photography for any amount of time think that video will take over? How do you control the shutter speed on a video camera? How many of you have video cameras with interchangeable lenses and manual apertures?

My guess, is that still cameras (SLR) are going to incorporate video capabilities into them rather than the other way around. But there will always be the need for good dedicated still and video cameras. I’m perfectly happy not having video capture on my dSLR. Likewise, I’ve never used the still capture on my digital video camera. And I never will.