Saturday, June 05, 2004

Super high-res camera

Every year, digital cameras get better resolution. At the $1,000 level, you can currently get 8 megapixels (e.g. the Sony F828). Eight megapixels seems like overkill... until you read this article:

New high-resolution camera nears virtual reality

From the article:The article does not actually say what the resolution of the camera is, but it gives some hints. Using those hints, I would guess that this camera has something approaching one gigapixel resolution.

Unfortunately the current technology needed to reach gigapixel levels is insane. It requires huge pieces of film, vacuum pumps and big aluminum supports to keep everything aligned.

But if you think about Moore's law... We should be able to buy 16 megapixel cameras for $1,000 in two or three years. Then 32 megapixel cameras two or three years after that. Then 64 megapixel, 128 megapixel, 256 megapixel, 512 megapixel and finally 1 gigapixel cameras. According to that timeline, we will all have gigapixel cameras by 2025 or so. Each image will consume 2.6 gigabytes on the hard disk (assuming we haven't replaced hard disks with some something better by then). But 2.6 gigabyte images will be OK because a hard disk in 2025 will hold a petabyte (1,000 terabytes).

The same kind of thing is happening on the video side. Researchers have leapfrogged HDTV to create UHDV, with 16x better resolution than HDTV. See this article for details.

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