The Smallest Digital Camera

My grandfather is fond of all kinds of high-tech gadgets and gizmos.  Not only does he collect electronic equipment of all shapes and sizes, but he even has worked as an amateur inventor.  He has made several unsuccessful attempts to strike it rich, and has managed to make a tidy profit on his hobby over the years.  So when he presented me with what he proudly said was the world’s smallest digital camera, I was not all that surprised.

Naturally, I was impressed by this so-called smallest digital camera.  It certainly was a mini camera.  It was about 2 inches wide, half an inch deep, and had a viewfinder that was scarcely big enough to fit your eye to.  It may have been the smallest digital camera, but it was not the most practical.  When the miniaturization craze hit, it made some sense.  Things like computers, Walkmen, VCRs, and all other manner of electronic devices were much larger than was practical.  The first computers were simply huge.

But now that things have shrunk to a rather impressively small size, I fail to see the point of continuing to make them smaller.  People are always looking for the smallest digital camera, or the thinnest cell phone, failing to think about whether or not these are practical things to own. 

As soon as I started using the smallest digital camera, I realized how impractical it could be.  You see, having the smallest digital video camera has no real advantages, and many drawbacks.  It is hard to hold it steady, hard to see the pictures in the viewfinder, and hard to get just the shot that you want.  A miniature digital camera might look cute, and it might help indulge a fantasy if you fancy yourself to be an amateur spy, but it will be less entertaining if you fantasize about being a decent photographer.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Not all technology is geared toward projects like finding the smallest digital camera.  There are many people who are busy trying to make technology more usable, more practical, and more efficient.  But even still, I think the craze for gimmicks should have ended a long time ago.  It really seems to show a lack of imagination. 

There are much cooler things to own than the smallest digital camera.  Any serious photographer, or even any amateur photographer with half a mind, would rather have a moderately high resolution digital camera than the smallest one, no matter how high tech the latter is.  But try telling that to my grandpa!

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