Let me start right off by saying today's post is not a product review. Not that I have anything against them, mind you, but like the teacher who said there'd be no math, I had promised to avoid them. Most of the time, anyway. Don't get me wrong, nobody loves a shiny new object more than a photographer, and every time I read about a new camera or a new lens, I mentally go through what I loosely refer to as my "budget". But I digress. This is not a product review. And yet, and yet......
I refer you to an article sent to me by my friend Doctor Dave: Canon announced that it has produced a 250-megapixel sensor that could, if they darn well wanted to, fit into a consumer grade DSLR camera. Their own description of it reads that this sensor is capable of "...distinguishing the lettering on the side of an airplane flying at a distance of approximately 18 km (11 miles) from the shooting location." And who hasn't ever wanted to do that. Obviously (I hope) this is more useful technology for law enforcement and engineering than for us studio types and, as Dr. D pointed out to me, who the heck has a lens capable of resolving 250 megapixels? Even Canon is mum on that point, but who cares. I'd happily jack up the RAM in the old Macbook and give it a whirl.
But wait, there's more.
I have also recently come across an online report of a 3.2 giga-pixel camera currently under construction. Giga. As in billion. The math geek in me is wrapping my brain around what I calculate a single file size to be (somewhere south of 10 gigabytes, yes?) while my brain ponders the astronomical possibilities: the report states that this camera will potentially record more galaxies than there are people on earth. No mention of the cost yet, and I'm pretty certain the good folks at DP Review aren't going to be writing about it. But's it's pretty damn cool, if you ask me.
At some point -- like now, maybe -- it's hard to think about any of this in the context of photography. I guess a more accurate descriptor would be imaging technology, even though that sounds awfully sterile and antiseptic, but that's the romance of rocketry for you. If we get to take a peek under the universe's blankets, I'm all in.
It beats taking pictures of airplanes, even from 18 km (11 miles) away.