The iPhone 4 camera, which is probably the camera we all use the most when out and about, is just 8 megapixels. Sure it’s a vast improvement on the fuzzy phone cameras of old, but it’s a along way off a DSLR. And these days you can get a DSLR with 200 megapixels, like the H4D-200MS—although it’ll set you back $45,000.
But, while 200 megapixels is undeniably impressive, it’s not a gigapixel, is it? With technological improvements happening exponentially it had to come along at some point. And now researchers at Duke University and the University of Arizona, along with support from DARPA (who else?), have developed a prototype gigapixel camera, which could herald the age of the billion pixel family portrait.
The AWARE-2 camera (above) combines 98 tiny cameras with 14-megapixel sensors to create a single device which can capture pics of one gigapixel resolution. But by adding extra microcameras the machine could capture images with resolutions of up to 50-gigapixels. So if you have 20/20 vision 50-gigapixels would be five times better than that. The one gigapixel image is created by combining the multiple pictures captured by the 98 different cameras to give a mega-detailed picture of your cat.
And while at the moment it’s not really a pocket camera as it measures 2.5 × 2.5 × 1.6 feet (76 × 76 × 51 cm), the scientists say that as electronic components become smaller we could see consumer gigapixel cameras within the next five years.