The Challenge of 2021: Coping with Change

by | Dec 30, 2020

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

“Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today.”—from the film Groundhog Day

Before digital imaging came along, the introduction of new film-based cameras and photographic technologies was gradual, with each new product building on and backwardly compatible with what has gone before.

Computers, on the other hand, were driven by intense competition and the imperative of Moore’s Law. Gordon Moore, one of Intel’s founders, predicted that computing power would rise exponentially over time and that “the power of the silicon chip microprocessor will double every eighteen months, with a proportionate decrease in cost.” In the world of digital photography we currently live in, this translates into camera/product cycles that are measured in months, instead of the years that were previously the norm for developing traditional optical and photo-chemical products. And don’t even get me started on firmware updates…

What this all means is that the digital camera you purchase today is quickly replaced with a newer model that produces higher quality images and at a lower cost.

For many people, this is the single most frustrating aspect of digital imaging. Since this trend is not going away in 2021, I would like to offer a few words of advice:

  • First, get used to it. Because of the worldwide pandemic the pace of new camera/lens/products may slow but I don’t think the pace of change is not going to alter any time soon.
  • Second, it’s also possible that your favorite camera company may not not be around next year this time. The camera you bought from a now-defunct company may still work but going forward you may be faced with unexpected decisions about its future in 2021.
  • Third, please don’t go broke upgrading to get the latest computer/camera hardware and software unless you can cost justify the purchase through improvements in productivity. If you can’t, save your money for the next upgrade cycle.
  • Finally, keep all of these changes in digital image technology in perspective. The single most important photographic accessory remains the person behind the camera.

And in an astrological note, if you believe in this stuff, Pluto and Saturn end their retrogrades in early-October 2021, so the final quarter of next year is likely to be the most exciting on a financial and personal level. Let’s hope so any way…




If you’re looking for a good book about monochrome photography, pick up a copy of Michael Freeman’s Black & White Photography. My own book Creative DigitalMonochrome Effects is available from Amazon with new copies selling for $20 with used copies starting around for two bucks (plus shipping) which has to be one of the best book deals out their for what is my personal favorite book.