Sunday, February 08, 2009

Photography: Automatic panning device for gigabit images

Engadget profiled the GigaPan Epic some time ago. The Epic is a robotic camera mount that holds your point-and-shoot digital camera and then automatically pans the visual scene, taking picture after picture (up to thousands, according to the manufacturer). Software is included that then automatically stiches the individual images into a single digital panoramic image. Very cool. The inventor used it at the recent inauguration to capture a panorama of the mall. Many more images can be found at a community page devoted to these images. Here is a link to the product page with more details (and the sales price).

Why would anyone need so many pixels in an image? Over the Christmas holidays, the pundits were telling us that no one needs more than, say, 6 megapixels in a camera. Two examples where more pixels are needed include when one needs to zoom in to get small details or when one requires very wide angle shots with good resolution (i.e. which is hard to do with a fisheye lens or a dome mirror).

A potential forensics application is crime scene photography, thanks not only to its functionality, but also its modest cost and compatibility with a wide range of digital cameras.


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