Digital photography certainly opened new horizons on imaging and gave photographers a very powerful set of tools. We enjoy the quality and spontaneity of digital cameras and the software to handle small or extensive image processing has improved greatly. We can create stitched panoramas for a wide field of view photographs, or use software to generate high dynamic range images that yield images of great tonal spectrum and detail. All this has been really great, but …
… imagine the next generation of cameras that, by using more powerful onboard computers, could converge computing and photography. As I write this piece, researchers are busy working on various experiments, experimental cameras that are collectively called “computational photography.” Where there is now some time and space separation between the taking of the photographs and later processing on a separate computer, the new generation of cameras will likely merge these separate activities into one device.
These cameras that bring discrete steps together into a seamless process will bring some very exciting capabilities to photography. Imagine the following:
- A camera that can record scenes with 10-12 f-stop brightness range, maybe even more
- A lens that captures an image with information that comes from three separate points and can generate a 3D rendering of the subject that can be seen from different angles
- A camera that allows photographing a scene and later deciding on the plane of focus
- A camera that captures 360-degree horizontal field of view and 200+ degree vertical
- A camera that captures a group photograph where everyone’s expression is as desired, no closed eyes
Now, imagine that these are not some fancy of my imagination and they actually exist!
And you thought the digital-vs-film debate was heated…