A couple of years ago, HP debuted a digital camera that made people look slimmer. At the time I remember a wee bit of controversy around the feature with people debating the merits of this kind of technology. Some people thought it was great, other not so much.
But clearly the concept generated enough interest at retail that manufacturers have been looking to build on the idea. Case in point: Samsung's new PL60. According to their press release, the camera "improves the way you look in pictures by automatically identifying imperfections and retouching them".
"Blemishes and dark spots" are the primary villains the PL60 is looking to eradicate with their "Beauty Shot" system, thus giving your subjects faces a "brighter and smoother" appearance.
A camera that can't take a bad photo sure sounds like a good idea, but I'm a little concerned about the impact this will have on our culture's record-keeping for posterity.
It's a little disingenuous to complain about this kind of image manipulation in a world where every magazine cover has been retouched to a sometimes ridiculous degree, and
professional good quality results are within reach of anyone with a PC, Adobe Photoshop and a little patience.
The difference I think lies in the fact that most people will retain the original photos they take, prior to any alterations. The 'truth' (yes, I realize this can be very subjective term) remains for archiving, even if the person who took the photo never publishes it publicly.
With cameras like the PL60 – which I suspect will grow in popularity over time – the truth simply isn't recorded in the first place.
Where do you stand? Should we be trying to keep an accurate record of our friends and family, or help everyone feel better about themselves through real-time retouching in our cameras?
If you're interested in picking up a PL60, they retail for $199 at most major electronics stores across Canada. If you buy one, come back and tell us what you think of the Beauty Shot and other features.