The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has an intriguing article explaining how “advanced-technology products often lack important virtues of their predecessors.” Cell phones crackle with static that rotary phones don’t have; printers require tedious adjusting in order to print an address on an envelope while typewriters handled it with ease; and digital cameras have seconds of lag time while film cameras take shots instantaneously.
Camera makers, of course, blame it on the need to keep costs low. Ironically this feature that is automatically included in any $20 film camera only makes it self known once consumers start shelling out more than $800 for the digital equivalent. The luxuries of viewing pictures on the fly, easily organizing shots, and eliminating the cost of film are supposed to make up for the fact that the 75 million digital camera owners don’t actually have the subject they wanted at the center of their pictures.
Thus, many casual photographers are resorting to having their children blow out the candles on the birthday cake multiple times. One could argue that the almighty consumer has a bad case of wanting to eat her cake and have it too. Though, is it too much to ask for technological improvements to come without the expense of eliminating original defining features?