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Canon Unveils 120-Megapixel Camera Sensor 289

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that's-a-lotta-bits dept.
Barence writes "Canon claims to have developed a digital camera sensor with a staggering 120-megapixel resolution. The APS-H sensor — which is the same type that is used in Canon's professional EOS-1D cameras — boasts a ridiculous resolution of 13,280 x 9,184 pixels. The CMOS sensor is so densely packed with pixels that it can capture full HD video on just one-sixtieth of the total surface area. However, don't hold your breath waiting for this baby to arrive in a camera. Canon unveiled a 50-megapixel sensor in 2007, but that's not made it any further than the labs to date." It's probably not going too far out on a limb to say that the any-day-now rumored announcement of an update to the 1D won't include this chip, but such insane resolution opens up a lot of amazing possibilities, from cropping to cheap telephoto to medium and large format substitution. Maybe I should stop fantasizing about owning a full-frame 1D or 5D and redirect my lust towards 120 megapixels.
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Canon Unveils 120-Megapixel Camera Sensor

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  • by Greymist (638677) * on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:01PM (#33358440)
    I'm just curious what this would be like in low light settings, cramming that many pixels into such a small space has got to have some effect on sensitivity.
  • by localman57 (1340533) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:17PM (#33358742)
    Plus, sooner or later the general public is going to realize that megapixels aren't everything. A the output of a 6 megapixel Nikon D40 will amaze your non-photographer friends, while the 14Megapixel Samsung compact you just bought at walmart will most definately not.
  • Uses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:21PM (#33358798)

    I'm sure the professionals would love such a critter, but as a person who likes to just take personal stills, to me the megapixel war is over. At this point in time I have a hard time getting excited over anything more than 10-12MP. They print just fine to photo sizes that I'd be interested in, and the truth is that MOST of my photos I keep digitally anyways where anything that has more pixels than my monitor is a waste (particularly with the ballooning size of these photos).

    I'm far more interested in seeing higher quality photos within our current megapixel options than seeing that particular number go up and up - afterall, there's a HUGE difference between your typical DSLR at 10MP and a $100 point and shoot at 10MP. That metric doesn't define the quality of the image.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:24PM (#33358858) Homepage Journal

    I'd love to be able to take many of my old family and vacation photos and take a small piece and blow it up to 4x6 or even 8x12 size without noticeable-to-the-casual-observer loss of detail.

    Imagine taking crowd-scene photos of a sporting event then when your friend said he was there and points his face out in the crowd, you can print him out an 8x12 of him and his friends.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:29PM (#33358936)

    If your name is Decker, and you want to see who is in the reflection of a curved mirror in photo, you're gonna need a lot of resolution.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:38PM (#33359080)

    How would that help dynamic range?

  • Light Field Camera (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cowtamer (311087) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:52PM (#33359308) Journal

    I'm sure it'll be perfect for this application:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plenoptic_camera [wikipedia.org] (a type of camera that can let you re-focus (and to a certain extent re-position) images after taking the shot. The problem is that it requires a LOT of resolution to produce acceptable images).

    http://graphics.stanford.edu/papers/lfcamera/ [stanford.edu]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H7yx31yslM&NR=1 [youtube.com] (demo video from paper above)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3cyntPC2NU [youtube.com]

    Here's one built with a 250 MP Flatbet scanner:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O5fPoacF3Q&feature=related [youtube.com]

  • by Bryansix (761547) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:54PM (#33359328) Homepage
    That article is OLD and he is not saying that Megapixels don't matter. He is saying that to see a difference you need to quadruple the megapixels and also that other things matter a lot like light sensitivity, pixel to space ratio, ISO performance and the like. He then goes on to say you would need a 25 megapixel camera to meet 35mm uality and that such a camera is not feasable. Well I have to give him a Bill Gates because it is moronic to say anything is not technically feasable because in 10 years you look like a fool.

    To get to the POINT, I own a Canon 5D Mark II which is a 21 Megapixel sensor. I have shot plenty of 35mm film and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that this sensor blows 35mm film out of the fucking water! You can see the images I take here. http://shezphoto.zenfolio.com/ [zenfolio.com] and www.shezphoto.com Those are not even full res (although you can buy some of them full resolution). I have blown up the images to 24" x 36" and all the detail remains intact. I'm sure I could go larger but I just haven't.
  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:58PM (#33359404)

    I'm familiar with HDR, thanks. You'll note that the article you linked to doesn't contain the words "average" or "averaging."

    HDR requires that you have the same picture but with multiple, different exposures. You could potentially acquired this in one shot by making adjacent pixels more or less light sensitive (which has to be done in hardware), but averaging identical pixels isn't going to help. Nor does the HDR process involve averaging, even with multiple exposures.

  • Dynamic Range, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @03:16PM (#33359724) Journal
    I wish they would spend more time on improving the dynamic range than to just play the megapixel count wars.

    Instead of total pixel count, get one set of pixels to shoot at the equivalent of 100 speed, and the adjacent set of pixels to shoot at 200 speed etc etc. Then process the pixels to get details in dark regions and to scale the brightness. I would like a dynamic range (brightness ratio of the brightest to dimmest pixel) to be a million or more, not the present 1000. Human eye has a dynamic range of about 1 million (only in the fovea, not in the peripheral vision).

  • by Beardydog (716221) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @03:50PM (#33360238)
    This is an actual question directed at you, not an argument, so bear with me... In a frame that captures the full available range in a scene (where a bright sky, for example will have detail), the dark areas will be underexposed and noisy, but not completely black (the way an overexposed sky will appear completely white). Couldn't four adjacent pixels simply be added together to produce an image with four times the range, and one quarter the resolution? So if, for example, three of the underexposed pixels aren't lucky enough to get a single bit of light, and one pixel gets lucky and grabs some, you can treat it like a single pixel that's sensitive to units of light 1/4 as strong (abundant? I don't know how it works) as the actual pixels. You'd probably get extra noise and blurring added, (for pixels that sit on actual boundaries in the captured scene, but are merged together), but in principle, wouldn't you get more range information in such an image?
  • by danpbrowning (149453) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @04:58PM (#33361410)

    Ken Rockwell is to photography what a goatse troll is to Slashdot. (In fact, if you read his alien abduction pages, you'll see some similarity with goatse).

    It's like saying "Computer specs don't matter. Unless you're folding proteins, a 486 is just as good as i5." While it's true that sharpness and resolution are not the most important factors in a photograph, it's misleading as their benefits do in fact contribute to most styles of photography, just as a faster computer can contribute to a better experience for most computing needs.

    For example, most people feel that for an 8x10, there is no benefit to pixel counts above 6 MP, but in fact it takes a 24 MP before all the possible gains are realized, most importantly counteracting the loss in contrast from the anti-alias filter. (Many more MP would be required to hit full color resolution at Nyquist, but few natural images benefit from that, despite what the Foveon advocates claim.)

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @02:33AM (#33366046)
    Unforunately this sensor also blows many of the lenses Canon makes out of the water. Wake me up when glass gets perfect and the laws of nature w.r.t difraction are broken. Until the ... 120mpx *YAWN*.

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