Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Gigapxl Project

Gigapxl Project

It began with a seemingly simple question. As a designer and builder of cameras, what could one do that has not been done before? The question came on the heels of an earlier project which involved the design and construction of an astrocamera having a resolution of 0.01 millimeter across photographic plates that are 356 millimeters square. Recognizing this to be the equivalent of 1250-megapixel imagery prompted the question of whether or not anything comparable had been achieved in the context of landscape photography. Some back-of-the-envelope calculations concerning the performance of conventional large-format cameras indicated that it had not. Thus began a quest which has become ever more fascinating; namely the pursuit of full-color panoramic landscapes which contain prodigious amounts of information. Early on, the goal was set at 1,000 megapixels. However, as technology has advanced, the bar has been raised to 4,000 megapixels; a figure that we expect to reach within the next several months. At this level, a real-world 90-degree panorama would need to be searched with 12X tripod-mounted binoculars before one could hope to accumulate an equivalent amount of information. Unsurprisingly, a host of problems have been encountered along the way. But the results have been spectacular. And so, the fascination continues.

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