The Camera Megapixels race! What’s NeXt?

At a typical social event or gathering where people come handy with their digital cameras, you may come across a comparative conversation quite similar to the following :

A: “ That’s a nice cam! How many Megapixels?”
B: “8.0. And yours?”
A: “Oh! I just sold my 7.1 one last month and bought a 10.0 MP one”
B: “Impressive. I guess I will have to upgrade mine soon as well!”

I am sure I will leave both “A” and “B’ wide-eyed if I tell them that a few camera manufacturers are talking today about 50 Megapixels ….and more! Leading the race of Camera Sensor resolution are two companies PhaseOne and Hasselblad that are going to produce 60.5 and 50 Megapixels cameras respectively. These are unparalleled resolutions till date, and woikr brings to you a brief on the two resolution monsters:

The PhaseOne P65+

July last month, Denmark based PhaseOne announced its latest model P65+ which will provide a whooping 60.5 Megapixels resolution. It utilises a new “Sensor+” design and is the world’s first full-frame capture system based on actual 645 film format.

A 60.5 Megapixel shot means that you will be taking an image having 8984 x 6732 pixels. This in turn means a 180MB data file for one image (8-bit RGB). So, I suggest you better equip yourself with enough disk space if you plan to buy these! To facilitate such image files, the camera has a 1.3GB High Speed RAM built-in and is able to provide a decent 1 frame per second (fps) of image capturing speed. The P65+ also boasts of the largest live capture area ever with a dimension of 53.9mm x 40.4mm, truly justifying the term WYSIWYG. Its salient features are jotted here:

  • 60.5 Megapixels
  • Full frame sensor
  • 1 fps speed (or 1 capture per 1 second)
  • 16 bit image capture
  • 12.5 stops dynamic range
  • ISO 50-800

The Hasselblad H3DII-50

The next leader in terms of megapixel count is the H3DII-50 by Hasselblad. It offers a magnificent 50 Megapixels resolution using Kodak’s 50 MP sensor which can produce a 6132×8176 pixels image (150MB TIFF file size). The Sensor measures 36×48mm, twice the physical size of the largest 35mm DSLR sensors.

The H3DII-50 offers some really unique features like the provision of two view-finders: you can either choose the view-finder at eye-level or waist-level! And when attached with a Global Image Locator (GIL) recording device, this camera can tag the captured images with GPS coordinates, time and altitude. So we are talking here about immediate geo-tagging of your photographs on Google Earth and Flickr Map applications when you upload the image.

The features of H3DII-50 are summarised here:

  • 50 Megapixels
  • Full frame sensor
  • 0.9 fps (or 1 capture per 1.1 second)
  • 16 bit image capture
  • 12.5 stops dynamic range
  • ISO 50-400


“Are these for me?”

Well I would say Yes, only if you are a top-notch full-fledged professional photographer and doing great in the photography market.

And I won’t give you a penny to guess that the best available camera technologies will be coming to us at “some” price. The first introductory price for P65+ Camera system is $41,990 and the H3DII-50 will be introduced for $39,995! So they are likely to burn a crater in your pocket, unless of course, your company sponsors these for you or you are someone who owns a company yourself! :-)

The huge resolution that these cameras will offer will come handy mainly for shoots where there is absolutely no compromise on the image quality, captured colours and noise absence. Such resolutions are not required for day-to-day photography where 7-10 megapixels suffices. In fact, people prefer to shoot at low resolutions for faster continuous mode shooting, lower file sizes and easy file-sharing. Thus, the manufactures of these cameras are no doubt targeting professionals and companies that are involved in shooting big commercial events like fashion shows, or say, the launch of a new car model.


“I want to be the first to test these mean machines! Where can I find them?”

Both PhaseOne and Hasselblad are planning to demonstrate the state-of-the-art “Sensor+” and “645 Sesnor” technologies through the trade show Photokina 2008, to be held from 23rd to 28th Sept 2008 at Cologne, Germany. The cameras will be reaching the markets approximately early next year (2009).

So go ahead and surprise your friends with these facts the next time they brag about their 10MP cameras, and ask them to start thinking in Gigapixels now!

Cheers!

[Home page Image courtesy: Sam Javanrouh]

*** Footnote: The above mentioned cameras have been chosen primarily on the basis of the Megapixel Resolution that they offer. Image and Information Sources for this article: www.phaseone.com and www.hasselbladusa.com ***

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Comments

10 Responses to this post

  1. Vineet says:

    Nice info! Never knew d cams cld picture inside my body…well m assuming 60.5 Megapixle wld do dat ;-)

  2. Nikhil says:

    Dear Anshu,

    thanks for a well written article which was very informative.

    We wish u all the very best to get one of these monsters for ur self in the near future as u become more professional !!!

  3. Megha says:

    Hey dude,

    Great info! Keep the good work on and keep posting and clicking!

  4. suresh says:

    interesting one! started wondering how much memory would a gigapixel cam wud occupy….

  5. Nive says:

    Gr8 Info… abt real cool cameras … ! Can't wait to get a hand on one n start clicking!

  6. Anshuman@woikr says:

    @Nikhil, Megha – Thanks a lot for your words of encouragement! :-) …….. The woikr team needs them.

    @Vineet, Suresh, Nive – Thanks all….. and do keep visiting :-)

  7. Vikas Chauhan says:

    Nice work guys .. keep going

  8. Amritash says:

    Nice info,, this is gonna help me choosing my DSLR

  9. Vee says:

    Awesome article, great going. Hasselblad is a dream, but 50 MP sounds downright crazy..at least right now!

    Good Luck.

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