Social sharing triggers digital photography revolution
Photography is undergoing a revolution, with camera technology, Wi-Fi and social media endearing it to a new generation of tech-savvy hipsters
In days of yore, photography was a case of good things come to
those who wait - film had to be developed, photos picked up, family
neatly arranged on the sofa for a cordial viewing.
It was all very civilised, but it didn't half drag on.
Nowadays the hobby is undergoing a revolution, with camera technology, Wi-Fi and social media endearing it to a new generation of tech-savvy types who no longer have to be as patient as those who came before.
And with the holiday season upon us, we thought we'd take a look at the trend for sharing photos online and a couple of key cameras for getting involved.
We'll look at the Samsung WB200F and NX300 - part of a new breed of cameras allowing us to point, click and share via social networks in a matter of seconds.
So how many people are sharing photos in this way? Lots. Samsung
found 749 photos are shot and shared in the UK every 60 seconds -
that's 1.1 million every day.
Share like a smartphone, shoot like a pro
Big deal, you may say. We've been taking ironic self-portraits via our smartphones and posting to Facebook for yonks.
That may be the case. And true, your phone is always in easy reach - but there's only so much you can shoot on a smartphone.
This new generation of digital cameras blends the convenience of smartphone snapping with the kind of heavy duty tech that'll have your mates thinking you've got designs on becoming the next David Bailey.
Whether you're after capturing pictures good enough to hang in a gallery, or a small digital camera that does your tan justice when you're on holiday, Samsung has the answer.
The newly launched NX300 is perfect if you're really serious about taking seriously good photos, while the WB200F allows you to snap and share pictures in seconds that boast more pixels than you'll find on your mobile.
Photos shared online within a week
We'll go into more detail about each later, but both these cameras are designed to help you create the kind of shots you'll want everyone to see.
And thanks to the cameras' smart Wi-Fi technology you can do just that, posting your work to your own 'virtual gallery' (that's Facebook wall to me and you).
Samsung commissioned OnePoll to ask 3,000 people about photography. It found the pastime is in rude health, with us taking on average 1.86 billion photos a month.
More than half of those polled share their photos online within one week, while one in five photos are now taken purely with the intention of sharing online.
Share your holiday from the beach with the WB200F
Like a Terry's Chocolate Orange or a holiday to Tenerife, the Samsung WB200F is built for sharing. And if you're getting ready for your annual pilgrimage to the sun, this is a great camera to make your friends jealous.
Holidays are full of fleeting moments to capture - your mate
getting thrown in the pool by the entertainment staff, dad's
lobster-red sunburnt feet. With the WB200F you can capture them in
an instant and share with the world.
Holidays are for idling and lazing - you've paid for it, so if you want to spend all day laid on the sun lounger slowly frying, why shouldn't you? Samsung understands the Brits' approach to holidays - it's included a Direct Link button that allows you to upload pictures to the web from where you're laid.
Struck by the 'fitness' of your tan after a hard morning's sunbathing? Snap it and share it to Facebook without moving from the spot - no leads, laptops or lumbers back to the hotel.
Capture the local scenery
When you're not busy photographing your tan, you'll probably want to capture some of the local scenery.
With 18x zoom and a 24mm wide-angle lens, the WB200F will help you take some of those wonderful sunsets home with you. The zoom function means you can get up close even when far away - allowing you a closer look at, say, a monument on a hill the guide book tells you to climb but you'd really rather not.
The wide angle lens will bring you great panoramas too - a sweeping snapshot of the beach at sunset on your last night? Go on, you know it'll cheer you up when December comes around and the UK has fallen under a blanket of darkness - again.
Of course, many of our holiday highlights take place after dark:
in candlelit restaurants, dimly lit bars and beaches as the setting
sun bleeds daylight into dusk. The WB200F ensure such memories are
as clear as day with a Low Light Shot feature which does exactly
what you'd expect - delivers well-exposed shots in poor
Get serious with the Samsung NX300
But if you want to really get serious about shooting landscapes you should probably take a look at the Samsung NX300.
Why? Because it boasts enough serious camera tech to make your pictures seriously cool - and it looks pretty dope too.
It rocks a hip retro vibe, with leather casing and a metal top
plate reminiscent of iconic sixties cameras and 'Jack the lad'
But beneath that old-school exterior is some seriously modern hardware that'll enable you to capture local landscapes and action shots of the family taking part in resort activities in sharp, colourful snaps.
The compact camera system - the name given to devices which combine compact camera bodies with interchangeable lenses - brings you a DSLR-like experience without the internal mirror or associated bulk.
There's a lot to like about the NX300 - if you don't believe us,
Cnet gave it an Editors' Choice award earlier this year and T3 also
handed it a five-star review. Get you, NX300.
Touch the future - from any angle
If you're anything like my dad you'll probably love recording the holiday with photos of local scenery and historic scenes with 'accomplished' shots from 'technical' angles. To be fair, my old man usually failed and ended up with nothing but grazed knees to show for his trouble - but the with NX300 you'll be onto a winner.
Why? As well as boasting top-of-the-range sensor technology, it also features a hinge to help you get the best angle every time. No more having to bend yourself double in the name of your 'art'. The touch-enabled screen can be tilted up and down to shoot from more adventurous angles without you having to do the limbo.
And the hinge is pretty tough, so it should be okay if you take
a slight tumble to get the right shot.
The screen is bigger than you often find too, making it easy to navigate and nice and responsive to your touch. However, if touchscreen controls don't float your boat you can revert to buttons next to the screen instead.
Make your holiday a sensory overload
But hinge technology isn't the main reason we buy a camera - image quality is normally our main priority. And the NX300 has this in spades.
The feature which draws the most gasps is the APS-C sensor - this may not mean much to you at the moment. However, Samsung says it delivers 'high quality images with lifelike colours with the highest resolution in its class'.
The sensor will ensure your photo captures even the most subtle of details. It blurs the boundaries between professional and amateur photography, allowing you to take pro-quality shots on your annual trip to the Med.
We mention holidays again because the sensor's 23.5mmx15.7mm measurements allows the light to flood in - perfect for places that actually boast plenty of natural sunshine. But you shouldn't restrict the NX300 to landscape and scenery shots - as jaw droppingly stunning as they are. It's also great for photographing our families - particularly when they're on the go.
You know the score - when away with your family the kids rarely
stay still. Thankfully, the NX300 boasts technology that
auto-focuses on your subject pretty damn fast. You may not be able
to catch them, but the NX300 certainly can.
Samsung says we can grab the camera and shoot a perfectly focused shot in 0.8 seconds - so no matter how fast the kids are, you'll likely be faster. What Samsung calls Phase Detection AF is so clever it can instantly work out how far away your subject is to give accurate focussing.
And if you want to capture your teenagers taking part in some resort five-a-side football or the 500m, the continuous shooting feature will allow you to shoot 8.6 frames per second so you can pick the one that captures them in the kind of quality normally reserved for Olympic athletes.
No longer will you have to explain away shots showing nothing but an outstretched left leg after you hit the button a second too late. However, you'll probably pick one of them pulling the funniest concentration face as well.
Super pictures shown off on social
The snaps we talk about above are exactly the kind of pictures you may want to share with friends back home, and as we've already said - this can be done directly from the camera.
Hit the Direct Link key to hook up to Wi-Fi and show your teenage kids' in their moment of gold medal-wining glory on Facebook, or shame them as they strive across the finish line with their tongue outstretched in sheer concentration. They may never forgive you, but it'll be a good laugh provided you can cope with their bid for revenge.
They'll likely get you back in the same way too, so watch out for anyone suspiciously wanting to 'look after everyone's towels' or 'hold on to the room key' - you'll likely be on the losing side to an online audience.
The study found 53% of people polled share their photos on Facebook, rising to 70% among 18 to 24 year-olds. Nearly a third of 18-24 year-olds also share images on Twitter too, with a witty 140-character tweet to accompany their handiwork.
We treasure our holiday pics - from the funny ones, to the sentimental to the downright stunning. Of course, such pictures only come around once a year and losing them would leave you seriously gutted.
Samsung has given us peace of mind by creating a feature that allows us to back up our images, hit the Direct Link key and send your pics to your mobile phone, tablet or PC. But with a camera this good, you should really be keeping a close eye on it.
Simon Stanford, Vice President of IT & Mobile Division, Samsung UK & Ireland said: "People are taking more photos than ever before and with more than 91% of adults regularly using social networks, they naturally want to be able to share their pictures instantly with their friends and family.
"The Samsung NX300 camera was designed with this in mind - thanks to its Wi-Fi connectivity, it's possible for people to capture fleeting moments in stunning quality and then share them instantaneously."
The relentless growth of social media has changed most people's lives - now it's changing their photo albums too.
Climb aboard the social sharing revolution with the WB200F or NX 300 and see what all the fuss is about.