50 Gigapixel Camera BuiltCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: June 21, 2012 06:59AM
While just about every professional digital-photographer will tell you resolution is not everything, a 50 gigapixel will still probably interest them. Of course the technology will first have to become something viable for taking to a shoot. The researchers at Duke University and the University of Arizona are confident though that we will see gigapixel cameras hitting the market within five years.
Traditionally one would improve the resolution of a camera by using better optics that require more components. This works quite well, but only to a point. The additional elements push the complexity of the system to such a level that the design is too expensive to make. Instead of adding more optics, the researchers added more cameras.
A shared objective lens brings the light into the system, which is then split up and routed to an array of microcameras. These microcamers are each aimed at different, overlapping sections of the image, and each section is then combined by the camera's processor.
The camera the researchers built is roughly 2.5 square feet and 20 inches deep, so obviously not the choice of someone trying to capture a wedding. Interestingly, the majority of this bulk is dedicated to the electronics required to process the imagery and cool the system, instead of the optics and microcameras. As technology improves though, less will be needed to process the imagery from the microcameras, which will also allow the cooling systems to be removed. It may take five years, but when you consider the camera can capture more detail than the human eye, it is probably worth the wait.