Beyond the megapixel11 May 2006
Wired just released an article on digital camera technology: why megapixels alone are not a good indicator of camera and photograph quality.
For years, resolution was considered the main measure of image quality in digital photos, but continual improvements have only shown up the fallacy: Grainy, blurry and underexposed photos look just as bad at 8 megapixels as they do at 5.
Camera vendors are concentrating on other fields to enhance camera quality:
- Low-light shooting
- While camera’s used to be limited to a sensitivity of 400 ISO (i.e. almost worthless in night situations), new image processing algorithms and larger sensors allow newer models to go up to 3200 ISO
- Soft-flash (Casio) and i-Flash (Fujifilm) are ways to use a flash without ruining the natural lighting completely.
- Zooming further in, or out
- By using a right-angle construction within the body of the camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1K can get to a 10X optical zoom (35 mm to 350 mm). Kodak uses two 5X zoom lenses to get the same zoom capability
- Keeping steady
- Image-stabilization technologies, both optical and gyroscopic, avoid blurry photo’s.
- Capturing bright and dark
- enhancing the dynamic range of the sensors by using e.g. variable pixel size
- Protecting shooters from themselves
- Find the face in the picture and focus on it, or advise the photographer on how to improve his pictures.