Had an interesting conversation with Paul the other day, while we were wandering the park in search of photos. I was telling him about the Olympus OM-D and it’s suite of advanced technologies, but was also relaying the concern from the “professional” community about how it could be perceived by clients. Mainly, as somehow being less-than, part of some strange notion that a photographer without a hefty Canikon SLR with big, white lenses is somehow less capable.

I don’t buy into this notion, as I’ve made clear in the past. But I was curious about the perception from the client’s side, and if they really thought that way. Paul is the perfect person to get feedback from, as he spent a good number of years in advertising, working with clients, and has seen sets from the other side of the camera.

His take was positive; Paul’s of the mind that, in general, clients may react the opposite way and see a photog using new, less common gear as an early adopter, an innovator, and as someone on the leading edge of technology. All of which are good things. He also posits that the majority of clients are not operating in a blind, but have studied your portfolio and past assignments, and are willing to invest in you because they like your style of work, regardless of what tools you use to make it.

Granted, this is a generalization, and there may be clients out there who will look down on your for not meeting their pre-conceived image. Personally, I suspect that these are the folks who have an insert-your-camera-brand-here DSLR at home, so think they know photography themselves. And to each their own, but I still stand by the hope that my results will speak louder.

For kicks, I looked up Moore’s Law on Wikipedia. If you’re not familiar with it, Moore’s Law states that technology advances at an exponential rate. We see this everyday, with new models of every gadget released every 12-18 months. It’s why we have 5d Mk IIIs and iPad 3s, even when the previous models are still fully functional and capable. Some “improvements” are real and some are marketing, but either way, technology does not stand still. Ever.

The image on the Wiki page said it all – an archaic “portable” computer next to an iPhone. The iPhone is a fraction of the size and cost and is capable of doing so much more that it’s a little scary. We’re talking about Star Trek scary here. We already have PADDs and communicators (although I still want a transporter).

But back to cameras: electronic viewfinders in cameras are inevitable; optical viewfinders are old are are going to be replaced. We’re already seeing multi-access image stabilizers (think of Canon’s new 100mm macro), in-camera HDR & multiple exposures, electronic levels, and customizable controls. In everything else the mantra is “smaller is better,” so why not cameras, too?

The other day I read where someone said (and I’m paraphrasing), “Contrast auto-focus will never be as good as phase-detect auto-focus.” I almost laughed. By Moore’s Law alone, I don’t think there is any possibility that statement is true. In fact, I expect that C-AF will surpass phase-detect within a few generations, else both will be replaced by something entirely different.

A few years back, nobody – myself included – thought that including video in DLSRs was anything more than a marketing trick. Well, Hollywood showed us when they started shooting movies on them. An episode of House, MD was one of the first ever done wholly on a DSLR.

So that’s my point. Technology is never static and we all have to adapt if we want to remain current. Being on the leading edge is a good thing. Just because you’re in the minority now doesn’t mean that you aren’t leading the charge.

Of course, nothing is certain. This whole thing could end up like 8-tracks or BluRay (?) – the proverbial Dodo bird. But I doubt it.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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