On Digital Cameras

Cameras are useful tools to have. As technology shifted from Analogue to Digital, the Camera Industry adapted. The participants who did not, faded.

These days, in digital technology, we are seeing rapid development in processing power, advances in the use of machine learning algorithms, etc. But it does seem like there is something missing. “New” is not there completely.

As digital computing has moved forward, we have seen relatively better results from smaller sensors thanks to heavier processing of the data recorded by the sensor. But at some point, there will come a point of saturation.

For example, at present, companies are focusing on things like dual sensors, artificial intelligence, pattern recognition, etc. Looking into artificial intelligence and pattern recognition, we have to properly train the program. Are we? And are we involving people with extensive knowledge of photography, light and optics to do so?

Then there is this shift towards using multiple sensors. Light is a startup focusing on using multiple sensors and using digital computing to process all of them to give a good photo as an output. They claim that their output is as good as that of an average DSLR.

But I think that there’s something missing in the process. Photography is an art, it’s going to be hard to replace a big sensor with multiple small ones for convenience and focus on image processing to get a good photo.

For example, let’s take “portrait” photos. The depth information is important, and for the photo to be good, the bokeh has to be gradual and accurate. This can be done with AI, where the software guesses; or it can be done with multiple sensors, where multiple focal lengths are recorded; and then the photo is processed. But why should we limit the process? Why can there not be a gradual change of focus to incorporate a lot of (relatively) focal planes for better processing?

Light, the startup, is trying to accomplish that with even more sensors, and as for my understanding, Nokia, Sony and Xiaomi have partnered with it to incorporate its technology on their smartphones. Although Sony can use it with its digital cameras as well, in which case both Sony and Light would benefit from it.

I’ve also heard that some phones are using 3D sensors instead of a normal sensor as a secondary to get better depth information. I don’t know, yet, how the 3D camera works, so I cannot comment on it. Let’s see.

But I do think that the future is bright, so to say. What do you think?

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