Papai photo of Canon EOS DSLRs, Sept. 2007
Small Papai musings article
Digital Imaging/Photography Predictions, Jan. 4, 2008 by KJP

Just my own 2 cents about where the field is heading (with the focus on NON consumer items, and SLR technology):

1. Film is dead. Film represents the past. Digital is the future and it's impossible to stop. What you should be asking, can anything replace digital in 10 years? I cannot imagine that. Film as a medium for capturing light certainly will continue forever but it will remain in the realm of the super specialist artist.

2. The higher-end sensors (CMOS from Canon and Sony) will continue to have improved dynamic range (DR) and less noise. DR could improve by three stops (that's huge!) in 6-7 years with sensors that deliver 16-bit image data. Today's deliver 14-bits. The original Raw files from 2002 and 2003 were 12-bit image data; it wasn't until 2007 that 14-bits became common place.

3. Resolution (for the 135-sized format, 36x24mm) will likely top out at 24 MP. Beyond that quality pro lens resolution is exceeded. Printing high quality, sharp, large prints (e.g., 17x25 inches) with 24MP of original image data will be so much more fun.

4. Topping out at 24MP, say in the year 2011, will allow strides to be made in DR and noise (see #2 above). Many variables in noise and DR are related to the size of the indivdual photon (light) capturing bucket (the sensors 'pixel' if you want) in your camera's sensor.

5. The relatively cheap prosumer DSLRs and P&S cameras will benefit greatly from all the advances made in high end sensors.

6. Printers will improve--just look at how advanced, high quality, and supreme resolution the Epson 4880 has. With a tool like that there are no limits.

7. Software will improve--PS CS3 (PS ver. 10), released in 2007 will be PS ver. 13 in the year 2013 and who knows how much more powerful that tool will be. (My Photoshop version history article here.)

I like the chances of all of these 7 items occurring in 8-10 years. In fact, I think I am being hyper conservative here about most topics.

Papai photo of Canon EOS DSLR fronts, Sept. 2007
Original: 1/04/2008, Last updated 10-Jan-2008