Slow Photography

A few days ago, I pulled out the first digital camera I owned, a Kodak DC3400. The camera was a birthday present from my wife Lisa, given in the Fall of 2000. I hadn’t photographed anything with the camera for about seven years. I questioned whether it still worked.

The camera came with an 8MB Compact Flash card, which I upgraded to a “big” card with a whopping 256MB storage capacity. The upgrade allowed me to store 412 .jpeg photos. Four AA rechargeable batteries account for a large portion of the weight of the brick-shaped camera.

Just to play around with it and “remember” how it was to shoot with it, I took only the DC3400 on a group motorcycle ride on January 29, 2011. Photos from the ride appear in Mojave Desert Loop. One of the bonuses of this old technology is the simplicity of the camera. The menu system is very limited, so it is quite simple to change from color to black and white.

This camera was considered an above-average point and shoot digital at the time it was introduced to the public. It was assigned a MSRP of $499, though it was quickly available for around $300 from various retail stores. The DC3400 forces you to shoot slow.  There is no alternative. The specifications say that you’ll have to wait 1.5 seconds between shutter releases, but in practice I’ve never experienced it being that quick. To further slow things down, the default ISO setting is 100. It’s slow shooting speed forces me to take my time, which is probably a good thing.

For another article on slow photography, see Tim Wu’s Slow Photography.