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Kodak Unveils 50MP CCD Image Sensor 228

Posted by kdawson
from the 8176-by-6132-babee dept.
i4u writes in to let us know that Kodak has announced the world's first 50 million pixel CCD image sensor for professional photography (i.e., for medium-format cameras). Engineering-grade devices of the CCD, the KAF-50100, are currently available. Kodak plans to enter volume production in Q4 2008. "At 50 megapixels, the sensor captures digital images with unprecedented resolution and detail. For instance, with a 50 megapixel camera, in an aerial photo of a field 1.5 miles [about 2.5 km] across, you could detect an object about the size of a small notebook computer (1 foot by 1 foot)." Here's CNet's Crave blog with a few more technical details.
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Kodak Unveils 50MP CCD Image Sensor

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  • Hasselblads? (Score:5, Informative)

    by sudog (101964) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:26PM (#24108161) Homepage

    H3DII-50 has had 50 megapixel backends for quite some time..?

    Is it unprecedented because it's now available at a cheaper price or something?

    • Re:Hasselblads? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Z00L00K (682162) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:34PM (#24108257) Homepage
      Just take a look at the camera here [hasselblad.se].

      So this news may not be the really latest news.

      • Only if you can afford $37,000.00+. [engadget.com] That would buy a lot of film and developing solutions... I know that the larger the format when doing black and white, the better the tonality... I wonder how that translates in digital, given you have way less latitude than b+w film. But if you have the bucks, why not? Whoever who has the best toys when they die wins, right? And hey, it is environmentally more friendly than wet photography.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by AmigaMMC (1103025)
          Who said that? Maybe a few years ago, today we have cameras that are better than any B&W film. Hint: I'm a professional photographer. I'm on /. because I'm a reformed geek and every once in a while I get withdrawals ;-)
  • Note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ucblockhead (63650) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:27PM (#24108167) Homepage Journal

    This is pretty much useless without really expensive lenses, so don't expect to see it in any consumer-level cameras.

    • Re:Note (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Silicon_Knight (66140) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:45PM (#24108351)

      It's a medium format sensor; the silicon imaging area is twice as big as a single 35mm film slide. Currently there's only a handful of cameras that has a "full frame" sensor for 35mm.

      So, no, it will NEVER be used in a consumer-level camera. This is for people who shoot billboard ads.

      This is the camera that sensor's going into:

      http://www.hasselbladusa.com/products/h-system/h3dii-50.aspx [hasselbladusa.com]

      $1k per Megapixel is about right for a Hasselblad - the H3DII-39 is about $35k. And that's just the body only. Lenses start at 3k. Zeiss makes'em. Aside from Zeiss's optical reputation, these lenses are special because the clockwork mechanism and the shutter are integrated into the lens.

      http://www.zeiss.com/C12567A8003B58B9/Contents-Frame/2DFB31CE532E5E32C125711B0038D874 [zeiss.com]

      Unlike a DSLR which has to expose the image sensor a slit at a time at higher shutter speeds, this means that the entire frame can be exposed simultaneously, down to 1/8000 sec.

      In other words... not your typical point and shoot or Digital Rebel XSi :-)

      • Re:Note (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @08:46PM (#24108985)

        Billboards can be shot with the cheapest of consumer digital cameras due to the fact that they are printed at an extremely low DPI. If you were standing two feet in front of a billboard it would look absolutely horrible regardless of what it was shot with, but for people viewing them from 50 feet away it looks perfect. The only thing you need a ton of megapixels for is very large prints that can be viewed up close. An average print in a shopping mall is anywhere from five to ten feet tall and you can walk right up to it. For those you need a lot of resolution. Having said that, billboards are still probably shot with medium format due to the nature of the assignment, even the two by three inch pictures on product boxes or catalogs are shot medium format because that is what is used by commercial photographers, almost exclusively.

      • this is really a very small incremental improvement over their 39 mpix sensor. to double the resolution of a sensor, you need to quadruple the pixels. and memory bandwidth and image processing power is becoming a huge limitation with these things, the uncompressed image from these is like 150 MB. the $30000.00 39 mpix back has a 3 second shot-to-shot delay, so it is really only useful for studio work.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Zeinfeld (263942)
        It's a medium format sensor; the silicon imaging area is twice as big as a single 35mm film slide. Currently there's only a handful of cameras that has a "full frame" sensor for 35mm.

        The release of the D3 and the announced D700 have changed that. Full frame is now maintstream, albeit pricey ($3K). But this sensor is medium format. It is 4 inches by 5 inches, not an inch by an inch and a bit like 35mm.

        So, no, it will NEVER be used in a consumer-level camera. This is for people who shoot billboard ads.

        T

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "The release of the D3 and the announced D700 have changed that. Full frame is now maintstream, albeit pricey ($3K). But this sensor is medium format. It is 4 inches by 5 inches, not an inch by an inch and a bit like 35mm. "

          Not to start a holy war, but the Canon 5D made full frame mainstream three years ago. It's just Nikon that have finally caught up.

        • If I recall correctly, the top-end camcorders use 3 CCD's with the lens to help with low light issues. Low light is something that film was way better at, even at decent (Hi-8) resolution levels. The issue is not necessarily more pixels but larger ones to capture the ambient light without F/stopping it to hell.

          The 'blad will continue to be absurdly expensive but its that huge sensor size that demands the expensive lenses. The only improvement you get going to a larger sensor size on digital is that your

      • Unlike a DSLR which has to expose the image sensor a slit at a time at higher shutter speeds, this means that the entire frame can be exposed simultaneously, down to 1/8000 sec.

        This is the first time I've heard anybody claim a leaf shutter could to anywhere close to 1/8000 of a second. I can't find any indication that Compur or Copal has ever heard of such a thing either (most leaf shutters are manufactured by one of the two). OTOH, it's true that the entire frame can be and is exposed simultaneously d

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Opr33Opr33 (1180091)

      This is pretty much useless without really expensive lenses, so don't expect to see it in any consumer-level cameras.

      But Steve Jobs could put this into the iPhone right???? The reality distortion field would correct any lens issues plus now that 3G is here, the pictures could be sent wireless.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      Um 8 megapixels is useless without really good lenses. The crap lenses put on most consumer DSLR cameras are worthless. I regularly freak people out with a really old 3 megapixel DSLR (interpolates to 6MP) and a $3200 lens that takes better photos and produces better 8X10 prints than their new rebel XTi with it's $22.95 stock lens that it comes with.

      it's ALL in the lens. Megapixels makes very little difference if your glass sucks.

      Granted that Rebel XTi kicks my arse hard if you put a $3200.00 or better l

    • by quenda (644621)

      > useless without really expensive lenses, so don't expect to see it in any consumer-level cameras.

      That has never stopped the consumer camera makers before.

      My phone claims 2Mp, but because of the cheap lens, the pictures are crap compared to an old 1Mp camera.

    • by doctor_no (214917)

      For medium format digitals the body & lens are minuscule costs compared to that digital back that cost between $14-40k.

  • by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:27PM (#24108169)

    The article doesn't seem to mention whether the new Kodak sensor uses the new-and-perhaps-improved pixel pattern that Kodak announced in 2007. See http://johncompton.pluggedin.kodak.com/default.asp?item=624876 [kodak.com]

  • Nice (Score:4, Informative)

    by Misanthrope (49269) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:27PM (#24108173)

    Happily this sort of development drives down prices on consumer grade products over time. I wonder how this compares to scanning low iso medium format film on a drum scanner.
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/shootout.shtml [luminous-landscape.com]
    Is a good example of such a comparison, though I've seen differing results with older digital cameras.

    • by san (6716)

      That test is seriously flawed: the only real comparison they show is done on buildings with lots of perfect verticals that line up with the pixel grid of the digital sensor, making the enlargement of the digital camera look better than if a scene with lots of small detail is shot through what is essentially an aliasing artifact.

      There is a second series of pictures with more details, but there the scans (that have many more pixels than the digital camera image) are then reduced to match the size of the digit

      • So, film is better? Cause, basically, if you want lots of detail, film is better, and if you don't need lots of detail, then digital is good enough?

        • by san (6716)

          Image quality is not just about resolution: it's also about dynamic range and noise. Digital cameras at low ISO have really low noise which makes for very smooth-looking color transitions in, for example, out-of-focus areas of the image.

  • I mean really I have a 6mpix camera and have never been lacking for resolution. It's got a 12x optical zoom (powershot s3 is) so I don't need resolution to make up for magnification either.

    I wonder how big the market is for people that really NEED that much resolution?

    And I wonder how many people's computers will absolutely CRY when trying to open a 50mpix tiff. My 6mpix jpegs are 2.5-3.5mb. (the tiffs are 15-16mb iirc) at 50mpix, 29mb would make for a terribly large and unwieldy jpeg.

    But then there wil

    • Re:I can't use this (Score:5, Informative)

      by mschuyler (197441) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:47PM (#24108377) Homepage Journal

      You can't use this. I can't use this. But a real pro can. I'm just a point and shooter with a small amount of knowledge to be dangerous. 5-6 mpix is probably all I need because I don't have a discerning eye. I only want to blow stuff up to 8 x 10 once in awhile when I accidentally take a great picture (like when the airplane went right by Mt. Rainier (REALLY close) and I just happened to have a window seat. I coulda seen a climber pee in the snow on there!)

      But to a real pro I could see how this would be a must have, and if it is a must have they'll pay whatever it takes to get it, and the cost will be too much for both of us. And if producing this ultimately brings down the cost of my Nikon Coolpix 5700 next time I have to buy one, that's cool with me.

      • You can't use this. I can't use this. But a real pro can.

        Exactly. And not just any pro, either. Somebody who makes his living doing weddings, bar mitzvahs and high school yearbook photos would have no use for it because it's too big for the job. Where this will be useful will be things like aerial photography (Think Google Earth, here.) or, as another poster pointed out, bullboards. Possibly magazine advertisements too, but I'm not sure they're detailed enough to need this.

        • Wow, this would be so cool. At this resolution, I expect you could crop the tiniest square out and be able to enlarge the hell out of it with it looking pixelated.

          So instead of taking 100 photos, you could just take one big one of the whole school (at a ball game maybe?) and then crop headshots out all day.

          And then there's the voyeurs...hot girls better watch out I guess.

          • by Zymergy (803632) *
            That depends if the shooter gets paid by the head shot or paid by the hour.

            I am putting my money on he will drag the process out rather than crop like a fiend at his/her workstation (and probably not get paid much fo that time)..
            That, and the 50 kids that were talking to each other or had their eyes shut.

            It WOULD be interesting to take some hi-res shots of stadium crowds to spot gems like this: http://my.break.com/content/view.aspx?ContentID=353366 [break.com]
          • by rcw-home (122017)

            Wow, this would be so cool. At this resolution, I expect you could crop the tiniest square out and be able to enlarge the hell out of it with it looking pixelated.

            Sure. Unless it's blurry. 50MP at 4x3 aspect ratio is at least 8165 horizontal pixels. Most digital cameras have a similar angle of view as a 35mm camera - which Wikipedia lists as 39.6 degrees [wikipedia.org]. Can you keep your camera from moving more than 8 arc-seconds (half a pixel width) during the exposure period?

            Forget just getting a good tripod. Get a re

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          You could do IMAX bullet-time with a few hundred of them...

        • New CCD sensor + lots of UAVs = always current Google Earth/Maps aerial views
      • by westlake (615356)
        You can't use this. I can't use this. But a real pro can.

        I remember visiting an exhibition of very large format glass plate landscape photography from the nineteenth century. The detail and depth of field was astonishing. It was an entirely different experience from seeing even the finest modern small or "medium format" images in reproduction.

      • Amateur (and well off) astro-photographers.

        Manufacturers who are probably playing with engineering samples right now:

        http://www.sbig.com/
        http://www.flicamera.com/
        http://www.qsimaging.com/

      • You can have a discerning eye and still not be a good photographer, BTW.

      • All you need is a requirement for a really large print or, alternatively, a reason to shoot in low-light conditions. Most consumer digital camera manufacturers set a goal of matching 35mm film (they've actually exceeded it by now). But the joke of this is that 35mm film is just barely large enough to make good 8x10 prints, provided you've carefully composed your image. Me, I can't afford a camera that uses this sensor, so I'll keep on using my medium-format film camera. At least the parts are cheaper.

    • Re:I can't use this (Score:4, Informative)

      by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @08:00PM (#24108523)

      And I wonder how many people's computers will absolutely CRY when trying to open a 50mpix tiff. My 6mpix jpegs are 2.5-3.5mb.

      Here [arizona.edu] is a 24mb tiff from the Phoenix mission.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MajorDick (735308)
      You may not but I could.
      Its not a Mom and Pop ccd for a $299 camerat at walmart.
      Current digital backs for film cameras like I use are 20,000 a POP !

      Try to take one of you 6mp pics and blow it up to a 6ft poster or art piece, youll be swimming in boxes

      I still shoot film, medium format 6cmx6cm, 25 iso high silver film. I took a picture of a building in NY and the 60th story I can count rivets in the windowsill vents when I blow it up.

      For high quality there is no comparison for film, currently, I would tra
    • And I wonder how many people's computers will absolutely CRY when trying to open a 50mpix tiff.

      Do you really expect that the buyer of this nice toy will spend $35k on the camera only to cry that his $500 Wal-Mart computer is too slow? It is much more likely that the prospective buyer already has an adequate workstation. Damn, he could buy a dozen of adequate machines just for the price the camera body and digital camera back. (They could probably even afford to add one such computer as a nice gift or bon

    • I wonder how big the market is for people that really NEED that much resolution?

      Tiny. Then again, if it was very large, things could get interesting in hurry. There's virtually no such thing as a medium format camera being produced in huge quantities (e.g. like SLRs in the APS-C and 35mm size range are).

      And I wonder how many people's computers will absolutely CRY when trying to open a 50mpix tiff. My 6mpix jpegs are 2.5-3.5mb. (the tiffs are 15-16mb iirc) at 50mpix, 29mb would make for a terribly l

  • by John Whitley (6067) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:34PM (#24108259) Homepage

    Bing! Right on the heels of Hasselblad [hasselbladusa.com] announcing their new H3DII-50 camera (to be released in October) which presumably uses this sensor. Hasselblad has also announced a future 645 format sensor (roughly 56mm x 45mm), more details to be revealed at Photokina 2008 (major bi-annual worldwide photography trade show) later this year.

  • That's a tall tripod (Score:4, Interesting)

    by greyhueofdoubt (1159527) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:43PM (#24108337) Homepage Journal

    >> in an aerial photo of a field 1.5 miles [about 2.5 km] across, you could detect an object about the size of a small notebook computer

    That's either a really tall tripod or image stabilization has come a lot farther than I thought.

    -b

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by OrangeTide (124937)

      you assume you can only sample the sensor once.

      Also look at aerial photos today. a 1m square area (when shot at 2.5km) is pretty easy to discern at least for the film-based technology I've seen.

      I hope you didn't assume that they could read the keys on the laptop or something at that distance.

    • Or a fast shutter speed. Unless you are going to make me look like an idiot with some aerial photography details.

  • Oooo... (Score:3, Funny)

    by jo42 (227475) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:45PM (#24108349) Homepage

    Hi-Rez Pr0n!!

    Gimme!!!

  • Make your own back? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Easy2RememberNick (179395) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:49PM (#24108405)

    I have a Mamiya 645 J (I think it is) and an older Yashica Mat 124 G that I wish had digital backs. I wonder how hard it would be to make my own back.

    • Not a chance (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mbessey (304651)

      I don't think a do-it yourself digital back for your old camera is a very realistic project, unless you're an experienced Analog & Digital electronics designer. Kodak used to have a pretty nice demo board for their CMOS imager chips, which was about as "plug and play" as you could hope for, but I haven't seen anything for their higher-end CCD sensors...

      Actually, they do have an evaluation board listed for the previous version of this sensor:
      http://www.kodak.com/global/en/business/ISS/Products/Fullframe/ [kodak.com]

    • Old digital backs are still for sale on the market because they have no moving parts to fail. They work great.

      Some of them have to be tethered to a computer.

      Pretty soon there will be a good surplus of used 22MP backs on the market for about the price of a 1DS MKIII ($8000). I think the mamiya ZD is trading at $10k, brand new, with lens and camera body included.

  • Hasselblad and Film (Score:3, Informative)

    by arigram (1202657) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:51PM (#24108427) Homepage
    I have an extensive Hasselblad V system which totals more than 30,000 euros but it is completely film-based. Unfortunately only major photographic studios can afford MF digital backs, save for the small 16mp back for the V System. So, at the moment, I consider a better investment the scanning of 6x6 film frames which at 4800 gives an image around 10,100 pixels square which can reach up to half a gig in size in 16bit resolution.

    Unfortunately, Hasselblad has given up on the V system line (as the H system is a completely different design) and only the lowly 16mp back is offered with a square sensor. And its mostly as a tribute to V system diehards and possibly be discontinued soon.

    That means that if a V system user want to upgrade to a new digital back, like the 50mp one, will need to dump the whole system. The lenses can be used with adaptors but then you will miss their real focal length and the autofocus and electronics of the H system. Which unfortunately goes against the philosophy of the "old" Hasselblad company where one could mix modern and old components freely. That meant that you could stick a modern lens and a digital back on a 50 year old body. Now, its pretty much "dump everything" to upgrade.

    • by doctor_no (214917)

      If you have a Hasselblad V-system and want to use a modern digital back you should get the new Mamiya/Phase One 645 AFDIII with a V-adapter. Its an open system so it'll take all your old blad V-lenses (as well as Contax, Zeiss Ikon, Pentax lenses as well). Also the 50MP sensor will be available to Leaf and PhaseOne later. Not to mention the availability of cheap backs (the Mamiya ZD back is around $8k now)

      http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/phase645.shtml [luminous-landscape.com]

  • I did manage to spend about 30 seconds reading the article though.

  • from cnet [cnet.com] we have:

    The specs on the two cameras, however, show the lower-resolution version to be faster: 1.4 seconds per capture for the H3DII-39 over 1.1 seconds for the H3DII-50. That could simply be implementation-specific, though.

    Indeed, 1.4 seconds is a very long time to not move. Only useful for objects and scenery, certainly not going to do people or wildlife.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by j_peeba (860583)

      from cnet [cnet.com] we have:

      The specs on the two cameras, however, show the lower-resolution version to be faster: 1.4 seconds per capture for the H3DII-39 over 1.1 seconds for the H3DII-50. That could simply be implementation-specific, though.

      Indeed, 1.4 seconds is a very long time to not move. Only useful for objects and scenery, certainly not going to do people or wildlife.

      The times refer to saving the photos, not exposing them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by w00d (91529)

      from cnet [cnet.com] we have:

      The specs on the two cameras, however, show the lower-resolution version to be faster: 1.4 seconds per capture for the H3DII-39 over 1.1 seconds for the H3DII-50. That could simply be implementation-specific, though.

      Indeed, 1.4 seconds is a very long time to not move. Only useful for objects and scenery, certainly not going to do people or wildlife.

      I do not think that means what you think it means.

      It has nothing to do with shutter speeds. You just can't shoot again until 1.4 seconds, which is how long it takes the camera to process and write the image to the card. The camera has a frame rate of about 0.7 FPS.

    • by T-Bone-T (1048702)

      I was pretty sure you were going to point out that 1.4 seconds isn't faster than 1.1 seconds but then you went a completely different direction.

  • I would really like to put one of these in a telescope, maybe there is a camera adapter I could use. I think that would be cooler than using it for ad's (which is probably what it is for)
  • by spir0 (319821) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @08:12PM (#24108643) Homepage Journal

    those of us in third world countries like New Zealand who have to pay in blood for our bandwidth are going to start seeing Users sending (or trying to send) their friends 40+ meg attachments once those cameras become standard consumer issue. Trying to explain to my dad how to load MS Paint, and shrink the image, resulted in him writing down the instructions, and then promptly ringing me the first time he had to follow those instructions.

    The major ISPs in this country who offer "broadband" plans with 200MB traffic per month -- yes, you read that right: MB -- are going going to have to do some serious reassessing. As it is, with Xbox demo games upward of 1GB, I don't know how we're putting up with this garbage.

    As Uncle Ben said: "With great power comes great responsibility." Everybody wants the power, but nobody wants the responsibility.

    I'll probably be marked as a troll, but this is a serious issue. How many of you have received one page word docs, or excel spreadsheets from companies, only to find that those files were over 5 megs? just a bunch of text, and fecking huge 12 million DPI logo.

    I'm not saying we should stay in the dark ages, but we need to start preparing.

    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      those of us in third world countries like New Zealand who have to pay in blood for our bandwidth are going to start seeing Users sending (or trying to send) their friends 40+ meg attachments once those cameras become standard consumer issue. Trying to explain to my dad how to load MS Paint, and shrink the image, resulted in him writing down the instructions, and then promptly ringing me the first time he had to follow those instructions.

      Get your dad a Mac.

      I managed to teach my mother how to us iPhoto to save an email friendly version of a photo to send to friends with a minimum of fuss.

      That said, I wish someone would teach our marketing people that a 'blank' one page word template doesn't need to be 5Mb and the social club should stop killing our mail network by sending 4Mb upwards emails to the entire work userbase nationally. :/

      • by spir0 (319821)

        Get your dad a Mac.

        don't get me started on that. I've tried. trust me. I've tried. If you look up "stubborn old mule" in the dictionary, you will see a photo of my dad.

        In fact, the last time I mentioned a Mac to him was last night. I even offered to give him one of mine. No go. And for the record, I think iPhoto is the biggest piece of dogpoo i've ever had the misfortune of using in my life. :) I'm not teaching that to anyone.

    • by Tatisimo (1061320)
      Your wait will be well worth the time. Fellow third world dweller here. From what I see happening in towns in the middle of nowhere, you will soon catch up. Here in the city, we have the standard 1.5 meg broadband, but in places where the technology is new, thay are making the jump from 128 kbs dial up to the newest 4-8 meg at the same price I pay! It seems that it's cheaper when they put in brand new tubes than to upgrade... Just wait till some rich guy who wants to get richer decides to invest in connecti
    • by figleaf (672550)

      Or just install a product like Windows Live Desktop Mail -- it automatically resizes and has a easy GUI option to reduce the file-size if required.

    • by ptbarnett (159784)

      Trying to explain to my dad how to load MS Paint, and shrink the image, resulted in him writing down the instructions, and then promptly ringing me the first time he had to follow those instructions.

      Have him download and install the Image Resizer Power Toy:

      http://download.microsoft.com/download/whistler/Install/2/WXP/EN-US/ImageResizerPowertoySetup.exe [microsoft.com]

      One installed, all you have to do is right-click on the image and choose Resize Pictures.

      If you mark multiple images before doing so, you can do all of them at one time. It gives you a simple menu to choose the desired size, and can either resize the original file or create a resized copy.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      oh cripes. install imagemagick for him

      mogrify -resize 640X480 *.jpg

      simple as pie and far easier than the paragraph of instructions you have to give to do it in any other program. Hell make it a batch file and grab the filename from when he drags and drops it on the bat file icon and it will do it magickally.

      Most of the time a command line program is the best option, and surprisingly computer newbies find then easier as well.

    • Tell your non-techie friends and family to get a Mac. If you're in iPhoto and use the e-mail option, it re-sizes them to something a bit more sane by default.

      As for our ISP situation, it is crap. But 200MB? Sure you're not getting confused with mobile broadband? Because I have a 10GB cap, and it's not exactly a high-end plan.

    • New Zealand have nice weather? I'd love to come out there from the states for a year and set up a non-profit/coop fiber concern to provide high speed access.
      • by spir0 (319821)

        New Zealand have nice weather? I'd love to come out there from the states for a year and set up a non-profit/coop fiber concern to provide high speed access.

        depends on how you define nice. it's much colder than older places, but it's no Siberia. If the temperature here gets to 30 degrees C, we're in the middle of a heatwave. I personally think it's nice, and when I last went to Australia, I near melted.

        in NZ, bandwidth costs a shitload. I'd invite you over, but you would fail. basically, that which is happening or threatening to happen is something that we've been used to since day one. the reason is because most of our traffic is international. in the states,

  • how impossible is it to take a shot- and move the sensor- and reshoot?

    imagine a 25 MP sensor mounted with something that expands when a current is applied.
    take a picture, and apply a smidge of current, and take a picture.

    now process the two results into one double resolution pixle picture-- offset just enough of a hair to get double the resolution.

    • by corsec67 (627446)

      That would be called photo stitching, and is useful for panoramas of landscapes.

      Not very useful for a picture of a person, unless you like arms that have seams.

    • how impossible is it to take a shot- and move the sensor- and reshoot?

      You're thinking of wobulation [wikipedia.org]. It's a nice idea, but it doesn't work too well when your subject is also moving.

  • ...how is this going to make my porn better?
  • You take this camera up to an altitude of 1 mile or whatever it is that gives you a 1.5mi wide field of view with your favorite lens, and I'll hide my original blue iBook somewhere in the field of view and you tell me where from a single snapshot to collect your $100.

    If you lose, you can give me the (obviously overhyped) camera.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @10:32PM (#24110419) Homepage Journal

    The fovea [wikipedia.org] of the human eye, the part that sees details, is approximately (in a hexagonal layout) 4000x3000 photoreceptive cells. To saturate the foveal field with data, the Nyquist rate [wikipedia.org] says that an image must deliver 8000 x 6000 dots. Which is 48MP. 50MP is enough to cover that field. It's still not quite enough to completely fool the eye, until the 50MP is in a grid that exactly matches the eye - and no two eyes are the same, even in a single person, and not regularly hexagonal, but actually a stochastic distribution in a roughly six-axial surface across the inside of an uneven sphere.

    And even then, the fovea is only about 1mm, capturing a 2-degree field in the middle of vision, about double the width of your thumbnail at arm's length. These 50MP cameras only capture the amount of info that's in the central 2 degrees, though the human eye captures data (though much less per degree outside the fovea) from a visual field [wikipedia.org] with a 160 degree horizontal width and 135 degrees vertical height. Unless the image delivery can track the eye's movement to stay projected on the fovea, the image has to have foveal (over) density imagery across the entire scene for the fovea to track across.

    But for images to stare at, 50MP is about the foveal (over) resolution. Further improvement is probably better off invested in image delivery technology, as we're sampling at about the limit of what we can actually see.

    • The problem is, all that maths and comparisons of electronics to biology doesn't really mean much in the real world. First there is how the digital data is used in producing something, the other part is how our brains process things in the first place, which we don't even fully understand yet. Basically, it makes no sense to compare the two for what you say in your conclusion.

    • by doctor_no (214917)

      Actually the Hasselblad has a multipass system on their H3DII-39MP. This system will do the exact same thing as the Foveon sensor, it offsets so that each pixel via miniature piezo electric motor gets every color.

      As for the Foveon, its a proven flop, its in the Sigma SD14 and have produced worse images then equivalent CMOs based sensors on Canon/Nikon/Sony, etc. Worse is the high-ISO noise level, the Foveon produces more noise then any modern CMOs.

  • Each photosite is around 1 ft across in that hypothetical 1.5 mile wide view (actually really a little smaller, and only in one axis - the image pixel count is 8176 x 6132).

    But that's just a photosite. Each photosite is behind a grid in a Bayer array, which means each photosite is either red, green, or blue. If you have a green laptop behind a green filter - it'll just look black.

    So it's an impressive number of pixels, but you lose more detail than you might think even with the huge numbers.

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