The Three Phases of New Creative Technology

It’s interesting to watch technology advances in the photo and video realm[1] that make previously-inaccessible options possible for the general consumer.

Three quick examples that come to mind are GoPro cameras (offering cheap, durable cameras capable of HD video or time lapse photography), the Hyperlapse app (making sped-up timelapse photography extremely simple), or the slow-motion video capability Apple has introduced with the last couple of iPhones. A tweet from Brian Krogsgard brought this to mind as he notes the potential for a particular technology to be “way overused”:

It seems to me that we see these technologies move through three phases:

Creative Technology Phases

  • At Introduction, we’re all excited by the promise of the new technology as we watch the carefully-crafted demonstrations.
  • We then enter a phase of novelty where something is interesting merely because it was made with the new techology. A video was interesting simply because someone made it with a GoPro on their head. A slow motion video was interesting simply because it was a slow motion video of something not often seen in slow motion. There’s nothing wrong with the novelty phase – even if it seems like something is overused – it can lead to some interesting material. The general formula at this point is often "Let’s do ____________ (thing we’ve already done) using __________ (new tech / equipment).
  • Finally we move into what I call the creativity phase, where folks apply real creative thought in combination with the new technology. Instead of applying the new technology to what’s already been done, this is where folks figure out what previously-impossible thing can be done now with the new technology.

When I discuss “possible” and “impossibility” above, some of it is purely technical but it’s also an issue of accessibility. Folks could make sped-up timelapse videos long before the Hyperlapse app, but to do so required both camera hardware to capture the timelapse along with software (and software skills) to create the final product. Hyperlapse eliminated those barriers.

The future is pretty neat. What else will we see move through these phases soon?


  1. I suspect the same applies in other fields.  ↩

Top Camera & Photo Bestsellers: August 2012

Happy August! As we enter the new month, it’s time again for my roundup of the bestselling camera & photo items as measured by sales over at Amazon.com, where they sell pretty much everything.

What the Duck?There’s nothing too crazy about this month’s list but it’s interesting to see Panasonic filling almost 1/3 of the slots.a

  1. GoPro HD HERO2: Outdoor Edition – Jumping up to the top spot on the list this month, GoPro’s compact HD video cameras are a big hit. They’re pretty small, which allows the camera to be mounted or worn in any number of ways… on a helmet, strapped to a chest harness, on a racecar… the possibilities are amazing. This particular one is the outdoor package. I’ve previously written about my GoPro dogsledding story.
  2. Panasonic Lumix TS20 TOUGH Waterproof Digital Camera – dude, it’s orange! This looks like a great casual fun camera, waterproof to 5 meters so it would be great for those summery photos around the pool, at the lake, and so on. It has a 4x optical zoom and will also record 720p HD video. The price is right.
  3. Sony DSC-RX100 Exmor CMOS Sensor Digital Camera – This camera arrives again near the top of the bestseller list… when something is a strong seller for month after month, we know that it’s a decent unit. This is a fixed-lens camera from Sony, with a Carl Zeiss lens and 1080p video. Seems like this one’s aimed at serious shooters.
  4. GoPro HD HERO2: Motorsports Edition – the same GoPro camera as the top seller, but this is the “Motorsports Edition” which comes with different mounting accesories (namely, a suction cup).
  5. Canon Powershot A2200 Digital Camera – This is a slightly older model but a great value at just over $100. Canon’s Powershot A-series offers nice compact cameras (I’ve used a previous model) with decent image quality. If you’re looking for something compact and affordable to throw in a purse or otherwise carry on the go, you could do a lot worse than the A2200.
  6. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS15 Digital Camera – Panasonic has been producing some good little compact cameras, giving Canon and Sony a worthy competitor in this space. This one has a 16x optical zoom which is great to see in a sub-$200 camera. If you want a camera that’s going to offer better photos than your smartphone but isn’t going to break the bank… look here.
  7. Nikon COOLPIX L810 Digital Camera – the “superzoom” body style is popular and allows a manufacturer to put a big zoom lens into an affordable camera. This offering looks like a good one and it’s priced appropriately ($200).
  8. Nikon D5100 CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens – Down here in the latter half of the bestseller list we find our first DSLR for the month. The Nikon D5100 is a step above entry-level, but not quite up to what I’d consider “prosumer”. It does offer a nice feature set in a package that comes with a lens for just under $650. This camera is positioned in an interesting place as it has a few nicer features than the entry-level 3000-series cameras, but it’s definitely lacking in several areas (such as image quality and autofocus system) when compared with its big brother the D7000.
  9. Panasonic Lumix ZS20 High Sensitivity MOS Digital Camera – It’s Panasonic month on the bestseller list… this compact camera features a 20x optical zoom lens which allows for some great photos of objects that are far away. At a price near $250, this unit is aimed at the casual shooter who wants to make decent images without having to futz with a bunch of controls or options.
  10. Canon EOS Rebel T3 CMOS Digital SLR with 18-55mm IS II Lens – Don’t fear, Canon shooters, Nikon isn’t the only one with a DSLR on this month’s popular cameras list. Canon’s popular T3 once again returns to our list and I’d choose this over the D5100 if I wasn’t already invested in a particular manufacturer’s system. It’s a hell of a deal on a great entry level camera. You’ll get decent still photos, 720p HD video, and have your foot in the door of Canon’s EOS system.

If you use the links above and end up purchasing through Amazon, a small commission will be returned to me that helps fund the operation of this site. Thanks for your support!

Top 10 Camera & Photo Bestsellers: July 2012

We’re now into the second half of 2012, and the beginning of a new month means that it’s time for my monthly look at the bestselling camera & photography items as calculated by sales at Amazon.com.

What the Duck?This month we see half the bestseller list filled with compact cameras, with a couple GoPro units and low-end DSLRs making up the rest.

  1. Sony DSC-RX100 Exmor CMOS Sensor Digital Camera – a great-looking fixed-lens camera from Sony. Featuring a Carl Zeiss lens and 1080p video, this unit enters the high-end compact camera market for serious photographers. I was a bit surprised to find it at the top of the bestseller list, but it seems to be in high demand.
  2. GoPro HD HERO2: Motorsports Edition – GoPro’s compact HD video cameras are a big hit, and rightly so. They pack a lot of video (and still) power into a tiny package that can easily be worn or mounted in any number of ways. This particular one is the motorsports pacakge which features a suction cup arm mount. I’ve previously written about my GoPro dogsledding story.
  3. Nikon D5100 CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens – the D5100 is a step above entry-level, but not quite up to what I’d consider “prosumer”. It does offer a nice feature set in a package that comes with a lens for just under $650. This camera is positioned in an interesting place as it has a few nicer features than the entry-level 3000-series cameras, but it’s definitely lacking in several areas (such as image quality and autofocus system) when compared with its big brother the D7000.
  4. Canon EOS Rebel T3 CMOS Digital SLR with 18-55mm IS II Lens – Canon’s popular T3 dropped off the bestseller list in June but I see it’s returned this month. It’s a hell of a deal on a great entry level camera. You’ll get decent still photos, 720p HD video, and have your foot in the door of Canon’s EOS system.
  5. Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS Digital Camera – This particular camera has been a repeat visitor to the bestseller list in the last few months. Canon’s ELPH series of cameras is known for providing a good set of features in a compact package designed for the mass market consumer audience. This model, around $200 as of the time of writing, is in the middle of rhat range, offering a good zoom range and 1080p video.
  6. Panasonic Lumix ZS20 High Sensitivity MOS Digital Camera – this compact camera features a 20x optical zoom lens which allows for some great photos of objects that are far away. At a price near $250, this unit is aimed at the casual shooter who wants to make decent images without having to futz with a bunch of controls or options.
  7. Canon PowerShot S100 Digital Camera – Canon offers two high-end compact cameras; the S100 is the smaller of the bunch. A better-than-typical image sensor in this unit allows for excellent images even in low-light situations, and the small size means that the camera fits easily into a pocket. I have a previous model in this series (the S90), it’s a solid camera that allows for quality photos.
  8. Panasonic DMC-FH25K Digital Camera – This looks like a good little compact camera at quite an affordable price (around $150 at the time this article is written). Panasonic isn’t mentioned as often as Canon and Nikon, but they have some good compact cameras and this one is rated very well. I see that this one has dropped in price a bit since last month.
  9. GoPro HD HERO2: Outdoor Edition – The same camera unit as the GoPro mentioned above; this one comes with some different mounting options.
  10. Nikon COOLPIX L810 Digital Camera – the “superzoom” body style is popular and allows a manufacturer to put a big zoom lens into an affordable camera. This offering looks like a good one and it’s priced appropriately ($200).

If you use the links above and end up purchasing through Amazon, a small commission will be returned to me that helps fund the operation of this site. Thanks for your support!

Top Camera & Photo Bestsellers: June 2012

It’s June 1st (already?!), so that means it’s time for my monthly look at the bestselling camera & photography items as calculated by sales ranking at Amazon.com.

What the Duck?As we move into summer, we have a summery unit at the top of the list and a bunch of Canon compacts (yet no Canon DSLRs…).

  1. Canon PowerShot D10 Waterproof Digital Camera – as summer begins, folks start heading out in boats, hanging out on the beach, and playing in swimming pools and a compact waterproof camera is a great way to capture those memories and make some interesting images. The PowerShot D10 is waterpoof to 33 feet and provides some great features including face detection, all in a nice cute blue and silver package. Looks like a great deal at under $250.
  2. GoPro HD HERO2: Motorsports Edition – GoPro’s compact HD video cameras are a big hit, and rightly so. They pack a lot of video (and still) power into a tiny package that can easily be worn or mounted in any number of ways. This particular one is the motorsports pacakge which features a suction cup arm mount. I’ve previously written about my GoPro dogsledding story.
  3. Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS Digital Camera – Canon’s ELPH series of cameras is known for providing a good set of features in a compact package designed for the mass market consumer audience. This model, around $170 as of the time of writing, is in the middle of rhat range, offering a good zoom range and 1080p video.
  4. Nikon D5100 CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens – the D5100 is one step above Nikon’s entry-level DSLR, offering a nice feature set in a package that comes with a lens for about $650. This camera is positioned in an interesting place as it has a few nicer features than the entry-level 3000-series cameras, but it’s definitely lacking in several areas (such as image quality and autofocus system) when compared with its big brother the D7000 (which has a special $100-off deal for the month of June).
  5. GoPro HD HERO2: Outdoor Edition – The same camera as the GoPro unit mentioned above; this one comes with some different mounting options.
  6. Canon SX40 HS Digital Camera with 35x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom – The superzoom form factor is a popular one. It’s not a DSLR, but it starts to approach the DSLR size factor. My wife once had a similar unit and it performed very well. The big advantage to this type of a camera is the extreme zoom capability of the lens. The SX40 has been on the bestseller list pretty consistently for several months – folks seem to like it.
  7. Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS Digital Camera – this is a low end compact camera (just over $100) but it can make some decent images under good lighting conditions. It’s not for the professional or serious hobbyist, but for a cheap camera it’s pretty good.
  8. Canon PowerShot S100 Digital Camera – Canon offers two high-end compact cameras; the S100 is the smaller of the bunch. A better-than-typical image sensor in this unit allows for excellent images even in low-light situations, and the small size means that the camera fits easily into a pocket. I have a previous model in this series (the S90), it’s a solid camera that allows for quality photos.
  9. Canon PowerShot SX150 IS Digital Camera – the SX150 is quite affordable (about $150) but still offers a decent sized image with a 12x zoom.
  10. Panasonic DMC-FH25K Digital Camera – This looks like a good little compact camera at quite an affordable price (around $160 at the time this article is written). Panasonic isn’t mentioned as often as Canon and Nikon, but they have some good compact cameras and this one is rated very well. It’s interesting that this camera has jumped in price about $30 since last month’s bestseller roundup.

If you use the links above and end up purchasing through Amazon, a small commission will be returned to me that helps fund the operation of this site. Thanks for your support!

Top Camera & Photo Bestsellers: May 2012

It’s May Day, so here’s my monthly look at the bestselling camera & photography items as calculated by Amazon.com.

What the Duck?This month’s bestseller list is interesting to me in that it features more DSLRs than usual (and only a few compact cameras) and we see a couple GoPro cameras fairly high on the list representing a lot of combined sales.

  1. Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR with 18-55mm IS II Lens – Canon’s Digital Rebel series has long been a mainstay in the entry-level DSLR market, and this package of the T3 combined with the 18-55 kit lens is a great deal at less than $500. While it’s an entry level camera, it supports a wide range of controls that make it ideal for someone learning photography – they can start out in the more automatic modes and then move into more manual controls as they learn to better control their imagery. Highly recommended for someone wanting to jump to their first DSLR.
  2. Panasonic DMC-FH25K Digital Camera – This looks like a good little compact camera at quite an affordable price (around $130 at the time this article is written). Panasonic isn’t mentioned as often as Canon and Nikon, but they have some good compact cameras and this one is rated very well.
  3. GoPro HD HERO2: Outdoor Edition – The GoPro units have become quite popular in the last year or so. The cameras not only offer an easy way to record interesting video, but it will do so in a durable, waterproof way. Last month I had an opportunity to travel to Alaska with GoPro; it was great to learn about these cameras. See a bit of my GoPro dogsledding story.
  4. GoPro HD HERO2: Motorsports Edition – Same camera as the previous item, but slightly different mounting options. If you’re curious, click through and compare the two. It’s impressive that two versions of it are here in respectable positions on the bestseller list.
  5. Canon SX40 HS Digital Camera with 35x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom – The superzoom form factor is a popular one. It’s not a DSLR, but it starts to approach the DSLR size factor. My wife once had a similar unit and it performed very well. The big advantage to this type of a camera is the extreme zoom capability of the lens. The SX40 has been on the bestseller list pretty consistently lately – folks seem to like it.
  6. Canon PowerShot S100 Digital Camera – Canon offers two high-end compact cameras; the S100 is the smaller of the bunch. A better-than-typical image sensor in this unit allows for excellent images even in low-light situations, and the samll size means that the camera fits easily into a jeans (or jacket) pocket. I have a previous model in this series (the S90), it’s a solid camera that allows for quality photos. I’m actually heading out on a day trip to Seattle today and bringing my S90 due to its nice compact size and great quality.
  7. Nikon COOLPIX L26 Digital Camera (red) – this highly-rated Nikon compact camera provides big images (16 megapixels) in a metallic red package. For the fashion-conscious casual photographer.
  8. Nikon D5100 CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens – the D5100 is one step up from Nikon’s entry-level DSLR, offering a nice feature set in a package that comes with a lens for under $700. This camera is positioned in an interesting place as it has a few nicer features than the entry-level 3000-series cameras, but it’s definitely lacking in several areas (such as image quality and autofocus system) when compared with its big brother the D7000.
  9. Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Nikkor Zoom Lens – Nikon’s entry level DSLR, the D3100 is a decent camera especially given the price. The only downside in my mind is that the body doesn’t have an autofocus motor. As long as you use Nikon’s AF-S lenses that include an autofocus motor, you’re fine, but some older/cheaper lenses don’t and that will limit you to manual focus. Like the Canon T3 at the top of this list, this is a great starter unit for someone who isn’t sure if they want to dive all the way into a big SLR system.
  10. Canon EOS Rebel T3i Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens – The T3i is an improved version of the T3, in exchange for a couple hundred extra dollars you’ll get a bigger (and flip-out) screen, 1080p video, a bit more dynamic range, a self-cleaning sensor, and slightly faster continuous shooting. Recommended.

If you use the links above and end up purchasing through Amazon, a small commission will be returned to me that helps fund the operation of this site. Thanks for your support!

Dogsledding With GoPro = Fun

While I was in Alaska last week with GoPro1 our group had an opportunity to ride on dogsleds. In addition to just being fun, it was a good opportunity to try out using a GoPro camera.

A few cameras ready to be used in our dogsled adventure while in Alaska on a trip sponsored by GoPro.
Got GoPro?

There were about 10 dog/sled/guide teams for our group. Among the bloggers/journalists we paired up and rode along with a musher. I partnered up with Joanne (of Joanne Loves Science fame) and we rode along with our guide John who was very much a rugged Alaskan. He’s lived in Alaska for 27 years and been mushing for over 20. After a quick orientation, Joanne and I sat in his sled for the first part of our adventure. After sitting for a bit, John invited us (one at a time) to join him on the runners so that we could experience the vantage point of standing behind the sled. It provided a good opportunity to create some footage looking over the sled.

We swapped positions, with me back in the sled and Joanne on the runners. This allowed me a good opportunity to create video looking forward towards the dogs.

Shortly after the halfway point of our adventure, we had a bit of a mishap coming around a corner. Here’s what it looked like from the camera strapped to my chest:

It’s all good… nobody on my sled was injured. It was an interesting experience and it was fun to have this as my introduction to recording with GoPro. I look foward to trying out other things with my camera.

Joanne, myself, and our ride
Joanne and I with “our” team.

  1. Disclosure: GoPro sponsored my trip and I was given a GoPro Hero 2 camera.