Using a Ricoh GRD III and a Nikon DSLR to photograph streets, people, architecture and anything else that catches my eye.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Early Adopters and Laggards - and my Fuji

My last posts were an attempt for me to remember all the old cameras that I have owned. Most of them were quite average cameras, popular at the time, and nothing very special.  I am a very average camera user, and not some avid collector of obscure gems from the twentieth century.  My interest in photography, which started from a childhood hobby full of potential, faded gradually over the next decades to one of complete apathy.  It wasn’t until the mid nineties when the little Canon Ixus ignited a small spark of interest again.

Interestingly, mentioning the Ixus again, this leads on to my typical approach to ‘latest technology’. Some people have to have the latest stuff, don’t they?  I am not talking about geeks, of which I am a proud one; I am talking about the people who are quite happy to throw money at a ‘new format’ ‘new device’ ‘new idea’.  They may have spent £800 on a CD player in 1984;  £6000 on a Windows 3.1 laptop computer in 1990;  £2000 on a flat screen TV in 2003.   I believe the term for such people is ‘Early Adopter’;   I am NOT such a person.  In fact, I am what is known as a ‘laggard’.

I found an interesting little article on the web about early adopters, from which I quote:

·         the first 2.5% of the adopters are the "innovators"
·         the next 13.5% of the adopters are the "early adopters"
·         the next 34% of the adopters are the "early majority"
·         the next 34% of the adopters are the "late majority"
·         the last 16% of the adopters are the "laggards”

Taken from  This page specifically discusses demographics of people and technology.  Somewhat heavy reading though.

So, as I say, I am a laggard.   I was late on endorsing the CD, the MP3, DVD and the flat screen TV.  I still don’t have Blue-ray, and I probably never will.   I feel that the speed of technological change in the consumer market is so great that it is a waste of time to buy into everything.  Each format lasts less and less time before it is replaced by something only slightly better.  I certainly will not be rushing out to by a 3D television, and wear glasses like Buddy Holly, in order to watch a few Disney Pixar 3D cartoons.  I am sure that 3D will have its day, but not in the current form. Unfortunately, this means I spend my life ten years behind everyone else.

I am improving in my middle age.  I have nearly one thousand CDs stored on my computer, which are transmitted to my hi-fi speakers wirelessly!  Nice and simple.  Sounds wonderful too.
So maybe I have moved from ‘laggard’ to ‘late majority’.

My ‘laggard’ status does NOT however apply to computers and cameras.  I have owned home computers in various forms since 1981.  (Geek Alert)  I also purchased my first digital camera in 1998.  Last century!  Surely that makes me an early adopter. The camera was a nice little model from Fuji.  The FUJI DX-8.  Digital cameras had been around for a while, although they had quite high price tags for the average consumer.  It was around 1997 when the prices had dropped enough to tempt more people.  In 1997 you could see them appear in the Agos catalogue!

Specialist digital cameras have been around for several decades. Take a look at  this site for a well researched historical database of digital cameras (geek warning)

The FUJI DX-8 was a simple point and shoot camera with zoom capability and a built in flash.  When I first took some pictures, transferred them to my computer and watched those images appear on my screen, I was absolutely amazed. It felt like a jump into the future. That glowing feeling of technological power soon evaporated though, when I tried to create prints on my 1990’s inkjet printer.  I soon realized that the camera’s maximum resolution of 640 x 480 would not allow too many large prints for the family album.  The camera came with a 4MB memory card.  4 MB !  I remember buying a 32 MB card, and thinking how massive that was.  It was not as easy as it is today to drop the memory card into a shop, and have a nice set of prints in only 1 hour.  Photographs received from postal printing services were a little disappointing. That 0.3 Mega Pixel resolution sounds pitiful now.

The limitations of the little Fuji did not stop my continuous playing with the camera.  It created a whole new way of using photos.  E-mailing pictures was a novelty then.  Also, incredible new software packages were being released which allowed genuine manipulation of digital images. I don’t think anyone realized how big Adobe Photoshop would become over the next two decades.

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