Amazing new camera tech

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  • Dirtbox 22 Jun 2011 07:00:15 79,176 posts
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    Watch the video

    Amazing stuff.

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  • Scimarad 22 Jun 2011 07:13:50 8,633 posts
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    That is fantastic!
  • Dirtbox 22 Jun 2011 07:18:47 79,176 posts
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    Must be some zany 4 lens setup to move it around like that. I can't see this being at all affordable or particularly accessible in any way.

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  • StixxUK 22 Jun 2011 07:27:45 7,287 posts
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    Very cool, wait and see what it means for the consumer though :)
  • PhoenixFlames 22 Jun 2011 07:51:10 9,229 posts
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    Holy shit! That is cool.

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  • Tomo 22 Jun 2011 08:07:17 13,980 posts
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    Very cool. I'm sceptical till I see the final product mind.
  • Grunk 22 Jun 2011 08:17:13 4,718 posts
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    This is actually quite old technology, enhanced your the digital era. The idea is that if you have a camera lens, you can take an impulse response at a particular focal point. Then any photo can be broken down using the inverse impulse response and re-focused to a new focal point.
    There was a story of wedding photo which happened to have a bank robbery going on in the background. They took the photo and refocused it onto the getaway car's number plate and caught the bad guys.
    pretty clever, but labour intensive. I've always thought it would be a good idea to build this kind of thing into camera phones
  • macksed 22 Jun 2011 08:29:32 3,798 posts
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    Wow, I'm really impressed, I think it's a shame they've decided to make the product themselves rather than license it as I think it would be great to see this tech everywhere as soon as possible. If it really did reach low end users (like me) I think it would have quite a massive impact.
  • Dirtbox 22 Jun 2011 08:35:14 79,176 posts
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    It's a startup, which these days means that practically their entire aim is to get bought by a big company.

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  • Mr-Brett 22 Jun 2011 08:37:32 12,892 posts
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    Even if they do go it alone, isn't it likely that the big camera companies will just copy their tech?

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  • mal 22 Jun 2011 08:41:46 22,828 posts
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    Grunk wrote:

    This is actually quite old technology, enhanced your the digital era. The idea is that if you have a camera lens, you can take an impulse response at a particular focal point. Then any photo can be broken down using the inverse impulse response and re-focused to a new focal point.There was a story of wedding photo which happened to have a bank robbery going on in the background. They took the photo and refocused it onto the getaway car's number plate and caught the bad guys.pretty clever, but labour intensive. I've always thought it would be a good idea to build this kind of thing into camera phones

    It's always been a digital technology, hasn't it? I vaguely recall a research team, I think in Cambridge, who worked on inverse circles of confusion. Only problem is, to do it well you need to know exactly what sort of focus artifacts the lens produces, and either way it's still a computationally very difficult problem, and I'd expect it to still be beyond anything you could do on a camera phone, or even a desktop PC in reasonable time.

    I'm not sure if I'm talking about the same thing you are though.

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  • henro_ben 22 Jun 2011 08:51:29 2,244 posts
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    Maybe it's my eyes, but none of the example shots look great, you can see where the original focus was on most of them - i.e. it's sharp, then the other focus points are blurrier. Reminds me of applying an unsharp mask to a slightly out of focus shot.

    Mind you, early days, will wait and see what the final product's like. Can certainly see a use for it in camera phones & low end point & shoots. DSLR's however I'm not so sure about...
  • spindizzy 22 Jun 2011 09:09:03 6,609 posts
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    rodpad wrote:
    I've wanted tech like this in a camera. If this could somehow also be incorporated into the viewer choosing what to focus on in 3D movies, it'd solve the headaches and dizziness slot of people experience.

    That's actually a really good point... but I don't see how it could work unless you could have a screen projecting all the 'light fields' (which seems impossible right now) or have a VR type headset which tracked where the eyes were focussing (again, very hard).

    I bet one day we see it though.
  • Dirtbox 22 Jun 2011 09:10:27 79,176 posts
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    There is eye tracking tech that you could combine with an in-glasses viewer, but it would make the whole thing prohibitively expensive. not to mention 3D is already going for a burton if that other thread is anything to go by.

    But yeah, it would be pretty stupid trying to do it in a theatre. Not everyone would be trying to focus on the same thing.

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  • Tiger_Walts 22 Jun 2011 09:32:51 16,625 posts
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    I recall seeing something like this on Wired about a year ago. The system is not too different from radio telescope interferometry. Getting the software that builds the image onto the camera and have it run quickly is the amazing bit though. When I first saw it, it was just a custom lens and some PC software. This might give you an idea of how it works

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  • ram 22 Jun 2011 09:50:08 3,488 posts
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    It's very clever, but a book on understanding aperture will be cheaper!
  • Lukus 22 Jun 2011 10:04:19 19,459 posts
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    It's impressive but I can imagine lots of people complaining about its artistic merits, in the same way film zealots did when digital started becoming popular.

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  • Tiger_Walts 22 Jun 2011 10:04:21 16,625 posts
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    Right now a book is cheaper but in the future the extra cost of putting this in will be less than a hardcover.

    But people should obviously still familiarize themselves with how aperture settings affect an image. This system will be unable to refocus to distances far from the original focus when a wide aperture is used. Those parts of the the picture will still remain a little blurry and I expect vertical and horizontal line artefacts to appear in those regions.

    But as long as you're manually focusing and are in the ballpark, refocusing should yield acceptable results. If your camera auto-focuses on the foliage next to you, then your distant subject in never going to be rescued perfectly. Alternatively, you could use a narrow aperture and add depth of field later, but that can cause other shooting constraints.

    Like any photography aid, it makes things easier but it helps if you know what you are doing in the first place.

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  • Nasty 22 Jun 2011 10:37:38 4,748 posts
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    That joker pic is giving me the heebeejeebees
  • chopsen 22 Jun 2011 10:39:06 16,289 posts
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    Cor, that's nearly as good as a pin-hole camera!
  • LeoliansBro 22 Jun 2011 10:46:45 44,955 posts
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    That's really quite impressive.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • Spanky 22 Jun 2011 11:00:33 14,610 posts
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    I always thought this was what camera raw was all about when i first heard about it, oh how i was disappointed.

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  • Deleted user 22 June 2011 18:42:56
    Has anyone linked to the gallery where you can fiddle with the focus yourself?
    Linky

    I'm intrigued - the idea of self-focusing 3D would be an incredible win though
  • henro_ben 23 Jun 2011 09:41:30 2,244 posts
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    Was reading up a bit on this the other night, looks like the big issue with this tech is the low resolution images you actually get out of it - as each micro lens will cover several pixels on the sensor. Some of the numbers I've seen have been a touch surprising - 25 megapixel sensor = 1 megapixel image...

    Apparently these guys have a new technique that gives a bigger final image, although the trade off is artifacting. Have to wait and see what they actually end up selling, but their website looks more geared to the consumer level than pro or serious amateur.
  • Deleted user 23 June 2011 10:17:33
    If they were aiming at pros they'd partner with a pro firm.

    The figures for resolution I heard were even worse though - 16mp sensor = 0.1mp image and that's not to mention the associated data storage implications
  • FutureDave 2 Jul 2011 14:11:58 534 posts
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    There's some funky stuff going on with the edges of objects in the foreground. Then again, a lot of those examples are faked, so it could just be from the creation process of the flash demos.
  • otto Moderator 2 Jul 2011 20:27:34 49,335 posts
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    Can anyone explain how this works optically? "Light fields" sound up there with midichlorians. Is it just a processor-heavy sharpening tech or is it properly deep depth of field? Sounds gimmicky tbh.

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  • Dirtbox 2 Jul 2011 20:33:05 79,176 posts
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    I just typed out a bit long explanation of how I thought it would work then read it back and it sounded like utter bollocks, so I'm going with: A wizard did it.

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