Most people don’t know this, but we reached Peak Microphone more than half a century ago. Most of the best microphones, pre-amplifiers, and even processing tools we have today were available in the 60s.
I’m happy to announce that we have now (finally) reached Peak Camera.
On pure image resolution and color fidelity, we actually reached Peak Camera around the same time as Peak Audio, more than half a century ago, but motion picture film (as beautiful as it is) will never be practical or affordable. Digital (sadly) is a requirement of Peak Camera.
For still photography, we reached Peak Camera lonnnnng ago, other than specifically low-light photography, but to be clear, I’m considering motion picture to be a critical requirement of Peak Camera, because it is. The people want it.
Okay, moving on…
We have a tendency to assume that a technology can always get better. That simply isn’t true when the limiting bottleneck is our human senses, our ears and eyes. And I’ve already written about why perfect realism has never been a goal of photography in the first place.
Digital imaging has spent the past 25 some-odd years trying to get that maximum useful fidelity we had already achieved with film. We got mostly there (in my opinion, film is still “better”) for professionals about 5 years ago.
Now we’re there for people with ~$1,000.
This means you can (finally) safely buy a camera. The images and footage you get (the reason to have a camera) won’t get any better. This is Peak Camera. If you’ve got ~$1,000 and want to make the best 2D representations of reality humanity will ever achieve, today’s the day.
Which camera you should buy depends on all kinds of factors, but if you’re even mildly interested in photography and cinematography and want to spend the minimum amount for the maximum photographic return, a camera that you can grow into and never fully exhaust its capabilities…
I recommend the Fujifilm X100V. For most people, this is the last camera you will ever need in your life (assuming it survives, which I expect it to).
In addition to being Peak Camera (all cameras are now), it was designed by toolmakers who actually like photography.