December 9, 2004

Large Scale Film Camera is pretty cool, but the resolution isn't the story.

The blog-o-sphere is all agog over Clifford Ross's super camera, but they're not really talking about the important advance that his camera represents. For background, check out the NYTimes article: The Tom Swift's New Camera, Ready for Space and Spies. Yes, the resolution is cool, and I've seen the output from the actual gigapixel camera (the keyhole guys have some lightjet prints from one), but the real story is the depth of field. Being able to resolve a shingle of the barn in the picture in the new york times while still being able to resolve a foreground blade of grass is the real advance here.

There has been a lot of talk about dof-free cameras of late, and its really cool, imagine having control over multiple levels of focus, so you could, for example in a picture of a basketball game, have a sharp focus on the face of the player getting a point and his teammate under their own basket cheering him on, and blurring the players between. Or consider the movie Citizen Kane, where Welles would combine multiple shoots to keep multiple subjects in sharp focus. This is the important advance.

Chris DiBona
Posted From: Mountain View

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