The history of cameras
Nowadays, that moment is considered to mark the birth of photography. Together with Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, Daguerre had developed the daguerreotype method, thus making it possible to capture reflections of reality permanently on a photosensitive layer. The US artist, art professor and inventor of the telegraph, Samuel Morse, was also captivated when Louis Daguerre confided the secrets of daguerreotypy to him, describing them as “one of the most beautiful discoveries of the age”. Daguerre believed that the discovery should not only benefit a privileged few. He allowed the rights to his invention to be acquired by the French Government in exchange for a lifetime pension, and the government gifted the method to the public. As could be expected, this marked the beginning of a period of rapid dissemination and refinement of photography. People were fascinated by the realistic nature of the images as well as by the possibility to have their own picture taken. Up to that point, only a few wealthy people had the luxury of having their own portrait painted or sketch drawn. It was significantly less expensive to get a daguerreotype, and later a photograph, and as a result the first photographs of labourers, farmers and even criminals soon emerged. But anyone who wanted to have a photograph taken in the early days of photography at the end of the 1830s had to be extremely patient, as the exposure times of up to 15 minutes required a great deal of discipline, particularly from the person sitting for the photograph.
A good photo says more than 1,000 little images
Today, almost 180 years later, none of that is scarcely imaginable any more. Being quiet and standing still? Waiting for slides or developed photographs? Virtually unthinkable in the era of the smartphone. Instead, we pull out our mobile phones, which we keep with us all the time anyway, press the button and within seconds the photo is processed, saved, deleted, shared or posted. Billions of photos are taken this way every day, with an average of 768 uploaded to Instagram – per second (source: www.internetlivestats.com). We have truly arrived in the era of photography, or rather of snapshots.
That’s because even though smartphone cameras are constantly being developed further and improved, mobile phone photos simply cannot match the quality of photos taken using a camera. The procedure itself is also less dedicated. For any moment that seems in some way worth remembering or sharing, we spontaneously focus the lens of the mobile phone on the object of interest and press the button. The result is generally just a snapshot. It is a well-known adage, though, that there’s an exception to every rule. Those on the other hand who decide to use a camera like a digital SLR camera, for example, do so consciously. After all, it is extra weight to carry. But it also opens up considerably more photographic possibilities. When someone grabs a camera like this, it’s a sign that they see something worth the effort – a motif that requires a little more attention and devotion, that is worth the trouble of taking a proper photograph. In this way, photos can be created that seem to stop time for a moment.
The digital compact camera RX1RM2 by Sony: one for all
The digital compact camera, first brought to market in the early 1990s, is a good compromise for hobby photographers or as a second camera for professionals. It is almost as handy and light as a smartphone and fits easily in any handbag or jacket pocket. From a technical perspective, however, it offers optical zoom, high-aperture lenses, a built-in viewfinder and larger image sensors, making it much more complex than a smartphone camera, and thus meeting all prerequisites for better photo quality.
A compact camera like that won a Red Dot: Best of the Best for top design quality in the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2016, namely the DSC-RX1RM2 from Sony. Equipped with a 35 mm Zeiss Sonnar lens with a fixed focal length and a bright aperture (max. F2.0), a 35 mm full-format sensor with 42 megapixels, a powerful image processor and a variable optical low-pass filter, the camera is technically sophisticated. This extremely compact magnesium casing that is roughly the size of the palm of your hand (11.3 x 7 x 3.3 cm) and weighs just 500 g incorporates not only a fold-out viewfinder and a swivel LCD display but also the technology to take such high-resolution photographs that they can even be printed out in a large format.
The design: back to basics
The camera is not only convincing technically but also from a design perspective. The design was created by Noriaki Takagi, Senior Designer on the Sony design team. When designing the camera, he always kept a focus on the big picture, “the objective behind the objective”. This meant that many draft designs were discarded and the entire production process was overhauled in order to build as compact a camera as possible. “We finally settled on a fairly basic design befitting such a camera by eliminating unnecessary items”, explains the designer. “Rather than going for a retro look, we designed the camera largely based on its functions. In addition, we worked closely with persons in charge of mechanical design to create the final look”. The result is a very reduced and functional design that makes the product clear and easy to understand. It is very compact to hold and is light, sturdy and resilient.
It didn’t take long for the camera to win over the design experts in the competition. They chose the product as one of the best in the Consumer Electronics and Cameras category, saying: “As an enticingly distinctive further development of Sony digital cameras, the DSC-RX1RM2 satisfies the highest of quality standards. Many familiar details were honed to perfection here. Its outstanding functional innovation delivers a myriad of new possibilities. The 42-megapixel resolution makes for exquisite photographic results, turning this compact camera into a perfect expression of good design.”
When asked what this award meant to him, Noriaki Takagi responded simply: “It’s proof that my design approach was not wrong.” There’s nothing really to add to that. Here you can find out more about the
digital Sony compact camera RX1RM2
Posted on 19.05.2017