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The latest compact camera from Samsung, until now a brand more associated with cheap consumer units, looks interesting. The Samsung EX1 seems to be targetted at the niche at the top end of the compact market currently held by Panasonic's DMC-LX3; it has the solid metal body and large image sensor (1/1.7", with only 10 megapixels), and trumps the LX3 by having a f/1.8 lens (to the LX3's f/2.0, to say nothing of Canon's G11, the lowly f/2.8 aperture of whose lens borders on insulting), a fold-out screen (just like the PowerShot G series had back when it was good, only this one's AMOLED). It doesn't have the LX3's range of manual controls (the aspect-ratio and focus mode switches on the lens barrel), and appears to have fewer aspect ratio options, but the quality is said to outperform the LX3.
Art hipsters rejoice: someone has finally designed a digital camera without a screen or viewfinder:
Designer Sungwoo Park's prototype Eazzzy! camera consists of a USB stick with a lens and one button, and offers "the feeling of not knowing how your shots turned out à la analog film" with the convenience of USB transfer; not to mention a groovily ironic, retro-styled shape in several bright colours. And you can undoubtedly expect the images to turn out fashionably lo-fi, as you'd get that with anything of that size.
Though I wonder if it'd be just standard cameraphone lo-fi or whether they'd put an artfully crappy lens on the thing (as with cult film cameras such as the Lomo and Diana). They could, of course, program the firmware to oversaturate the colours, or overexpose the centre of the image and vignette the edges, though that would run against the cult of authenticity from which the lo-fi fad stems, thus being the photographic equivalent of alternative rock recorded for major labels in expensive studios, with special ProTools plug-ins thrown in to make it sound grungier.)
There is now a 39-megapixel digital camera on the market. You read that right; 39 megapixels, which would be about 7,212 by 5,408 pixels. The Phase One P45 can also boast a maximum frame rate of 35 frames per second; whether you'd end up using it is another matter, as its image files, weighing in at 117Mb, would pretty quickly fill up even the largest CompactFlash card. Though the existence of cameras of such a high resolution should bring light field photography somewhat closer to practicality.
I wonder what its dynamic range, thermal noise resistance and low-light performance are like, though; the smaller the pixels are on a CCD, the less sensitive to light they would theoretically tend to be.
Scientists have developed a camera that takes pictures that can be refocussed afterward, by keeping track not only of the intensity of incoming light but of its angle as well.
Now, Pat Hanrahan and his team at Stanford University have figured out how to adjust the light rays after they have reached the camera. They inserted a sheet of 90,000 lenses, each just 125 micrometres across, between the camera's main lens and the image sensor. The angle of the light rays that strike each microlens is recorded, as well as the amount of light arriving along each ray. Software can then be used to adjust these values for each microlens to reconstruct what the image would have looked like if it had been properly focused. That also means any part of the image can be refocused - not just the main subject.The researchers' page on the "light field camera" includes papers and a gallery of refocusable images, and videos of focussing through a frozen moment. The examples look uncanny, as if splashes of water frozen in space were unbelievably intricate dioramas.
Applications of this technology include surveillance (where being able to change focus after the fact would often be useful) and motion photography; I imagine we may see this in films, music videos and ads soon enough as well.
Interesting technical factoid of the day, from this page: (via /.)
Did you know your 10D and 300D run DOS? That's right. Embedded in the camera is DataLight's ROM-DOS. In fact, if you use the right tool such as s10sh you can see that inside the camera is an A: and B: drive. On the A: drive reside command.com and autoexec.bat, and most interestingly, camera.exe.And this page has a tool for getting a shell on your camera, and gives a list of Canon camera models known to work with it. Unfortunately, I left the USB cable for my PowerShot G2 in Australia, so I can't try it out.
The details of the Canon PowerShot G6 have leaked out; it appears to be basically a G5 with a 7.1 megapixel CCD, which is to say, not much changed from my old(ish) G2, other than in resolution (and apparently improved image processing algorithms a few generations ago). It'd have been nice if they had put in some better connectivity (Bluetooth, for example, or even WiFi); or, for that matter, more than 3x optical zoom. (via gizmodo)
(One of these days, I'll upgrade my camera; probably in the next round of gadget-buying. The G2 is a good unit (though with a resolution far below newer cameras), but is a bit bulky. Something that does (most of) what the Gx can (optical zoom, aperture/focus control) and yet is smaller would be good. These days, there are much smaller 4MP cameras; how their image quality compares to the G2, however, is unknown.)
640x480 digital camera on a USB flash drive; it has 64Mb of storage (accessible as the usual USB Mass Storage device) and recharges over a USB connection. And as it's from Philips, it's probably more reliable than the no-brand 640x480 digital cameras on the market. (via bOING bOING)
British scientists have developed a camera which can see through things. The camera picks up extremely high-frequency "terahertz waves" emitted by all objects. The project cost £400,000, but the developers believe the costs can be brought down drastically:
"If it were mass-produced, there is no reason why it could not be available for a cost similar to that of a digital camera."
So, thanks to the wonder of modern technology, those "X-ray specs" you may have seen advertised in old comic books may soon be a reality. (via one.point.zero)
Insanely cool, or perhaps vice versa: Now you can play classic arcade games on a Kodak digital camera. (via Slashdot)
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