Blast from the Past: Technology and Aesthetics

Disclaimer: All photographs are taken from and

If consumer digital cameras and mobile phones are becoming more mainstream, let us remember how these gadgets changed the image of technology through their precisely-crafted design through imaginative engineering by the world’s most venerated pioneers (wonder who they are BTW).

Before Gadgets Magazine became the “norm” to techie lovers and those who have gadget fetish, T3 used to be the leading gadget magazine in the world (well, IMO) due to its palatable layout and presentation. You’ll really feel mouth-watering satisfaction when you see these gadgets. Also, T3 Magazine is a stone age version of DigitalRev because they “magnify” things. The only difference is, T3 is more detailed in terms of err… technical information.

Now here are some of the gadgets that caught my attention…

The Sony Ericsson K850i, otherwise known as the Cyber-shot phone that has a “real camera” at the back.

The green and/or blue navigation keys that you see in the phone itself is not easy to use. Also, these errrr… three “sensor” buttons are also not easy to deal with. Believe it or not, it makes a good camera but… I don’t think this is user-friendly.

The phone’s beauty… how I wish I have it.

Pretty smartphones such as the K850i isn’t only a “pretty” phone, but it’s also like your “Swiss knife.” Usually, I would look for a phone with a proper Bluetooth, Internet capability, memory card slot, decent storage, MP3 player, camera, voice recording capability… and other multimedia features. But with the rise of the smartphones, everyone has forgotten these important features ever since the apps and Internet convenience invaded the minds of these techies (like me!). Well, the only advantage of smartphones over the previous phones is that you could access the Internet through Wi-Fi and 3G and download lots and lots of apps.

The Sony Cyber-shot P200. I’m sure everyone knows that this was the last surviving model of the P-series.

Ever since the boom of digital photography, this is where the Sony Cyber-shot P-series ended. No, not even a single camera with a distinctive curve did ever succeed the P200. However, in person this looks prettier and much looking more sophisticated. It is thin, light… but long. Well, that shouldn’t be a problem, but before, I was never a fan of huge 2.5″ LCD screens on a digital camera. What I usually look at is at least, the screen should have a 2.0″ screen, and I’m happy with that… not until the boom of digital photography… 2.7″ screen became the norm and replaced the 2.5″ standard. 3.o” LCD monitors are reserved for DSLRs and touchscreen-capable digicams.

Nokia 7380… a simple phone with a stick feature… wonder if this type of phone (if not this model) is still in production.

If you’re not familiar with MP3-like phones, this Nokia 7380 is the best example of this stick-looking phone. Everyone will think of you as someone using a giant cigarette lighter as a cellphone or like, “What does he/she use to call people? A giant cigg lighter!?” Yeah, very funny, but you might be disappointed about its “limited” features despite the awesome mirror screen and a 2MP camera. You only get a non-expandable 52MB internal memory which sucks! Another thing is, you might feel hassle when making a phone call or maybe send a text message. This phone is only stylish in design, but it’s definitely not for busy people and those who do apps, of course!

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-L1

Okay, when it comes to ultra-compact fetishism, you get the L1. Yes, that’s the only L-series in Sony Cyber-shot cameras (too bad you were expecting for a Canon L-series lens, but NO) and guess what? It’s like the “ultimate successor” to the Cyber-shot U-series. When Cyber-shot cameras were still “Made in Japan,” yeah say that again, they were somewhat costly but when Cyber-shots were already Made in China, there comes the bad news: Where are the “aesthetics”?

Sorry to say, but there is no longer such thing as “aesthetics” ever since most camera companies moved their factories to China due to labor cost issues. To tell you the truth, Sony Cyber-shot camera designs are getting crappier and crappier as their technologies improve. That’s sad news if you’re going to check out where you’ll notice that the “magic” in Cyber-shot camera designs are no longer there… they’re bastardized, as a matter of fact.

Sony has lost its magic when it comes to aesthetics. Ever since they moved their factories to China, that’s where the “bastardization” started. I was very disappointed when I saw the TX waterproof series in person, when I realized that “Oh my God! I think these things are prettier in pictures… but in person it seems like fucked up!” No wonder there are no more G-series and the N-series (yes, I’ll feature the N1, don’t worry), same with the P-series and the ones with rotating lenses. OMG, Sony needs to revive its good reputation once more… by changing the design director, if ever there’s such a thing.

Everything does not stop there! In fact, I noticed that most Sony Cyber-shots would have this problem of oversaturation. Why!? Because in FLASH ON mode, the screen becomes brighter and when it’s FLASH OFF, it becomes darker. Upside down, isn’t it? Once more, Sony failed to err… improve and improve. God, what happened to the company that I used to admire?

But anyways… let us move to err… something else.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N1

The N1 indeed is the most err… best invented camera in the history of mankind. Frankly, I wanted this camera BADLY but yeah… forget it. (Side note: Tech illiterates get more beautiful gadgets than power users do, which is NOT FAIR AT ALL! GRR!)

One of the reasons why I pushed myself to get an iPhone 4S (boo me for not touching the Nokia N70 fully), and another thing that I like in the N1 is its huge screen! The N1’s screen, however, is an ideal DSLR feature and notice that the screens of previous DSLRS before the 450D were too small… too small. Another thing is, it’s touchscreen, and I believe it’s fun to use.

I hope Sony would make cameras with LCD screens with 3:2 aspect ratio rather than four-thirds, because 4:3 aspect ratio is TOO digital unlike 3:2 which is more traditional.

Canon IXUS i-Zoom

Another example of a compact camera comes from Canon (that time, I was a Cyber-shot loyalist). This camera is really damn hot, and it’s like you wanna EAT it rather than use it. Gah… fuck this baby out here! Guess what? It’s the first IXUS with decent optical zoom… with a 1.5″ inch screen (that’s what I like before).

People missed that part when it comes to compacts. Choosing something that is super-duper handy may be like, “OMG, it’s so classy,” compared to the usual nerdy thing. I used to think that Canon’s are hard to use, but it was only that me bro owned the latest IXUS (which has a plastic-y look and feel BTW) and it seemed that it’s easy to use as well. Now that’s how Canon improved itself — it does not fail to cater everything to its products, whether it’s an IXUS, Powershot or an EOS. Overall, the EOS is the most outstanding.

Canon IXUS i7

If you like a silver camera or a pink or blue one, this is the best thing the world has to offer… and it comes in 7.1 MP! The look and feel is more glossy and despite its size, its megapixel count is like, “WHOA!” This is the i-Zoom’s successor and its err… hmm, can’t think of any word!

Alcatel Mirror Phone

Stylish phones such as this Alcatel one actually had this mirror screen, which seems unusual for a mobile phone. T3 stated that its only known for its design and nothing else more could tell about the overall evaluation. In fact, its memory is only 3MB. BOO.

Samsung F300 (MP3 mode) and F500 (phone mode)

Samsung may be known for being the “Apple of Korea,” but the latest news would tell you that Apple sued Samsung because of copyright issues…? Being the “Apple” of a certain country does not make you extremely popular, but come to think of it, Sony used to hold this “crown” of being the “Apple of Japan,” but it seems like it’s no longer observing proper aesthetic standards.

Before the Galaxy series emerged from the market, Samsung has achieved a lot of innovations, as well as some inventions that we might probably do not know about. This is the original “magic” of Samsung, from end call buttons as power switches to an actual touchscreen world, it’s not mistake that Samsung made a one big leap towards global popularity… being the “Apple of Korea.”

Now why did I gave Samsung the “Apple of Korea” and Sony as the “Apple of Japan”? If you’d notice, their gadgets are really… innovative, and somehow really consumer-friendly. You’ll notice that they had several inventions… and that’s it!

Back to the F300/F500…

The F300 is a “back-to-back” mobile phone which is a multimedia toy on the front, but behind it is a useful mobile phone for texting and calling. It’s not the only phone with this distinctive feature, maybe you might check this out…

Such beauty.

A true innovation.

Wait until you see another “invention.” That way you’ll mistake it as a sideways 3-D camera…

Recently, Kodak filed for bankruptcy due to its diminishing sales. What do expect from Kodak? They’re not even continuing their legacy for being an iconic model for photography… and that’s where it is… it’s now a nobody. However, Kodak has made a remarkable achievement which inspired a lot of cameras to create the perfect wide-angle end of their zoom lenses… you might not know that they pioneered something because the only wide-angle end actually before was 35mm, and below that, it’s impossible unless you get an add-on lens.

Kodak V570

This is the first (I think) dual lens camera that I ever seen in me whole entire life. I really do not know if some people are actually buying it due to its dual lens feature (one is a super wide-angle lens and the other one is a normal zoom lens). This is actually the inspiration behind most consumer digicams that we know today in terms of wide-angle zooming.

Before, people who owned a digital camera with a 35mm wide-angle end would find it difficult to fill the frame when they photograph architecture. I really do feel the same way as well, but when I started shifting to digital SLR photography, that’s where I started to discover how “wide-angle” photography really works. It’s actually from the sensor which dictates the focal length of the lens. You do not expect a normal digicam with a full-frame sensor and you know that 4 megapixels during the ancient times of digi-photography was the beginner when it comes to prints, but now, digital cameras should at least have 10 megapixels as their minimum megapixel count because below that, you should leave those to the camera phones.

Kodak V610

Imagine owning a lens with two lenses for wide-angle convenience. During that time, it was really an “innovation” and a good invention, but now, it’s all history. You cannot go back to the past and rant, “Go make some more like these, please?” Remember, aesthetic designs in the tech industry are becoming bastardized rather than “more beautified.” The reason why I’m saying this is because, Kodak also lost its charm and magic at the same time, just like Sony and Olympus (BTW, Olympus was one of the first camera companies that used to have better aesthetics). Companies such as Casio, Panasonic, Nikon and Canon are now taking the seat of “better aesthetics” due to their continuing legacy of replacing the “original giants.” These original giants I’ve mentioned were those who used to have better aesthetics, but is/are now bastardized. If Apply would produce cameras, they won’t ever bastardize their products, however, there are signs that it’s now starting to lose its good reputation because of negative reactions regarding the iPhone 5.

Kodak V705

If only Kodak DID continue producing these cameras, that should be good news to them, but usually, companies with a good reputation go down when people choose to go “digital” just like in the case of people switching from film to digital photography — no one wanted to go back to film. This is similar to those who switched from Windows to Mac. That way, Mac users choose NOT to buy again a Windows PC.

Maybe if Apple agrees to make the Mac OS accessible just like MS Windows, there will come a time that HP, Toshiba, Acer, Asus, etc., would choose to adopt Mac OS (maybe a modified version maybe) as their main platform rather than MS Windows. Of course, there’s always Windows Mobile, but if there’s such thing as MS Windows following Mac OS’s layout, I think Windows Media Player will synchronize all apps to a Windows Mobile Phone (I kid, I kid).

During the time of gadget rise, the Apple Macs were considered as real luxury items

I won’t ever lie when I say that Apple Macs were luxury items during the time of Nokia and Sony Ericsson, but it seems that BlackBerry, Apple, HTC and Samsung are now leading the mobile phone market industry (hahaha, correct me with this description, I really don’t know it). I was never a fan of Apple Macs that time and I only patronized the iPod. Okay, I have to admit that the iPod was the only thing that I liked about Apple, but when the Macs became mainstream, it made me decide to switch from a PC to a Mac, and with that, it seemed that I made a right choice. I loved the Mac so much that I stayed away from that MS Windows upgrade drama and all that stuff. When the term “MacBook” was not yet existing, there was the PowerBook (MacBook Pro today) and the iBook (consumer MacBook). I wanted to have an Apple laptop, but it wasn’t fulfilled before the emergence of mainstreaming Macs. Overall, I decided to own a DSLR, a MacBook Pro (I’ll be buying a MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display soon if that comes) and an iPhone 4S to get rid of those novelty thing drama. I think it’s the most peaceful when I went away from a “third-world” life to a “provided” life. I was so like in heaven when I learned on my own, evaluating gadgets by myself, and that’s how I became a power user.

Make use of technology the right way

I really don’t know if this is true, but before I make the official hiatus for the thesis, I think I have to leave this blog post to you guys… and enjoy reading it!


About Molybdenum Studios

I am a very opinionated person. Get used to it. If you can't stand it, then so be it.

Posted on September 26, 2012, in Blast from the Past, Department of Liberal Arts, Digital Cameras, Everything Technological, Mobile Phones, The Historian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hello just wantesd to give you a quick heas up.
    The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Firefox.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but
    I figured I’d post to let you know. The layout
    lookk great though! Hope yyou get the problem fixed soon.

  1. Pingback: Before the emergence of Smartphones, Androids, Tablets and Cellphones with Cameras… « Spitfire Rants and Thoughts over the Kimchi & Adobo

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