Monday, June 26, 2006
What's right with this picture?
Casio has recently announced its latest compact camera. The EX-Z1000 manages to cram 10 megapixels into a 92 x 58 x 22mm case (think of an inch-thick credit card).
Along with the usual slew of features and special effects, there is one option called 'best shot', takes a 3 megapixel shot of the area you are focussing on, while simultaneously recording a 10 megapixel image of this area, plus the area surrounding it. This is designed for people who have a tendency for 'chopping' the heads off people, or steeples off churches, allowing them to re-crop the picture in image-editing software later on.
Now, this made me think about my recent blog about Stephen Wiltshire, and a less-recent one about aerial panoramas. Stephen remembers every detail of the scenes he looks at, and is able to 'stitch' them back together again later. What if the cameras of the future had a lens apparatus that took a gigapixel picture similar to these panoramic pictures.
Of course, getting the lens 100-feet in the air might be a problem, so maybe we'll have to settle for a 360-degree horizontal view (cue a new 'hold mobile phone above head when taking shots' craze).
You could then browse through the 'flattened' picture at your leisure, and choose the portion(s) you wanted.
And why not throw in an HDR imaging system? This takes three identically framed pictures, one under-exposed, one correctly exposed, and one over-exposed, then blends them together in software to create a picture with far more detail than would be possible using conventional photographic methods.
Now, I can already hear howls of protest from 'proper' photographers saying that it takes all the skill out of photography. However, people will still need to choose the 'best bits'... and the HDR method can lead to bland and uninteresting images without the right 'eye' to decide how much light and shade to mix in.
There was a time when only someone with photographic equipment worth tens of thousands of pounds could take professional-looking images. Now someone with a camera costing under £500 can record an image good enough to grace the cover of a glossy magazine.
Is this a good or bad thing? Discuss.