Another day, another camera launch. This time, it’s Sony again with the a6500 and RX100 IV. We’ll hit the details and spec improvements later, but let’s talk about the breakneck pace of advancements in photography. There’s a famous quote from French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson in which he called the final image the ‘decisive moment.’
If you’ve ever watched a YouTube video on photography, the quote comes up. Much less take an actual class. The idea is you – the photographer – finding that moment in time for the shot. The decisive moment.
Two centuries into photography, things are rapidly changing. It’s not just megapixel numbers or whether it shoots in 4K or not. The 4K bit only makes a difference if we own giant TVs or monitors. The lay person and even the professional will have to have two standing side-by-side with size to tell a discernible difference over FullHD.
It’s the frames per second that have advanced to a level not heard of. The point and shoot RX100 V from Sony can hit 24fps in a $1000 camera. All while maintaining full resolution of 20.1 megapixels. That’s a stunning number typically reserved for bank account busting professional bodies. Oh, and it fits in your pocket.
Decisive Moments are Rarely Clear
While it seems like we are heading away from the ‘decisive moment’ tenant, we’re not. Head to any event. Weddings. Sports. Political rallies. Your kid’s birthday party. The rapid fire shutter release is a noise I adore. And there’s a reason behind it. Mixed in those 100s of photos is the decisive moment. Maybe more than one.
Ask yourself how many times have you picked a shot through the live previews on your camera? Then remember how many times you see a frame you thought was garbage look absolutely amazing once loaded on your computer.
What Sony and other manufacturers are doing is giving creatives the tools to find the decisive moments in a shoot. Having the ability to shoot 10+ fps means a window into a world we may have missed.
Does speed allow us room for error? Sure, but the flipside of the argument is it allows us more room to capture a moment in time that is pure. It may grab a subtle shift in light. A smile that reaches the eyes. Moments with our families we’ll be able to cherish for a lifetime.
It’s worth the YouTube videos of people mashing the shutter release to show how fast it is. There’s no doubt it’s all about marketing and who can claim fastest ‘whatever,’ but it can be so much more.
Don’t get caught up in the spec wars between the major camera companies. Be happy you get to be creative in ways photographers who are iconic to this day would gladly take back with them. How many more incredible shots would we have seen throughout history?
Look at the photography today that will inspire tomorrow. Technology advances. Sometimes it feels like numbers for the sake of numbers. Until you sit down and get to share something wonderful with a family member across the country. Your friend who is 1000s of miles away. The photojournalist risking their life to bring us a story that can no longer be ignored.
Decisive moments are everywhere. It may look like we are in a bubble, but when you glance through a viewfinder, it’s the world that opens up to tell its story.