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miniaturization limits for digital cameras?

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Anonymous
February 27, 2005 9:45:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

The subject of 5MP camera phones came up in a camera phone list and
some of the comments made me wonder. A common thought was "provide
better optics to make better quality pictures rather than more pixels."

One response was that physical limits have already been reached due to
the small size of the camera phone. By way of example, the author
pointed out the size of quality camera lenses. I am neither an expert
on optics or digital or film photography, but I wonder if it is not
possible to produce far better pictures from a miniature digital
camera.

With regards to the lens, for decades, if not centuries (OK, no expert
on history of photography either ;)  the size of the lens has been
dictated by the size of the film and the necessary speed. And the
required lens speed is also related to the film speed and shooting
situation. I suppose with digital cameras that relationship has been
reversed at the high quality end (DLSR) where the sensor
characteristics are determined by a lens size and speed that was
determined by film characteristics. I guess this issue boils down to
how small a good sensor can be made for use in a miniature camera.

A second aspect would seem to be manufacturing tolerances. It seems to
me that a 0.01mm deviation in a 35mm camera lens would have less effect
on the image than a 0.01mm deviation in a lens that is only several mm
in diameter. The same is probably true of the physical dimensions of
the sensor. These probably relate to manufacturing capabilities and
that really boils down to cost. The phones are sold in an extremely
price sensitive market.

I am aware that with traditional film photography that stopping the
lens down past a certain point provides no additional sharpness in the
resulting image. I believe this is due to diffraction. I think that
this relates to the wavelength of light and the absolute size of the
aperture, but I don't know if there is any way to compensate for this
on a small lens. This might be the place where physics truly limits the
capability to deliver a quality image. But I really wonder if that
limit has been met.

My guess is that manufacturing costs are the greatest factor in image
quality with sensor technology being the second most important issue.
And as sensor and manufacturing technology improve, physical
limitations will eventually be met that will prevent further
improvement.

Or am I all wet? Are there any other thoughts on this?

I'd hate to see a megapixel arms race rather than an image quality arms
race, but I'm afraid that megapixels are a lot easier to quantify and
advertise than image quality.
Anonymous
February 27, 2005 1:35:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"HanbB" <hbarta@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1109515551.544721.94360@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
> The subject of 5MP camera phones came up in a camera phone list and
> some of the comments made me wonder. A common thought was "provide
> better optics to make better quality pictures rather than more pixels."
>
> One response was that physical limits have already been reached due to
> the small size of the camera phone. By way of example, the author
> pointed out the size of quality camera lenses. I am neither an expert
> on optics or digital or film photography, but I wonder if it is not
> possible to produce far better pictures from a miniature digital
> camera.
>
> With regards to the lens, for decades, if not centuries (OK, no expert
> on history of photography either ;)  the size of the lens has been
> dictated by the size of the film and the necessary speed. And the
> required lens speed is also related to the film speed and shooting
> situation. I suppose with digital cameras that relationship has been
> reversed at the high quality end (DLSR) where the sensor
> characteristics are determined by a lens size and speed that was
> determined by film characteristics. I guess this issue boils down to
> how small a good sensor can be made for use in a miniature camera.
>
> A second aspect would seem to be manufacturing tolerances. It seems to
> me that a 0.01mm deviation in a 35mm camera lens would have less effect
> on the image than a 0.01mm deviation in a lens that is only several mm
> in diameter. The same is probably true of the physical dimensions of
> the sensor. These probably relate to manufacturing capabilities and
> that really boils down to cost. The phones are sold in an extremely
> price sensitive market.
>
> I am aware that with traditional film photography that stopping the
> lens down past a certain point provides no additional sharpness in the
> resulting image. I believe this is due to diffraction. I think that
> this relates to the wavelength of light and the absolute size of the
> aperture, but I don't know if there is any way to compensate for this
> on a small lens. This might be the place where physics truly limits the
> capability to deliver a quality image. But I really wonder if that
> limit has been met.
>
> My guess is that manufacturing costs are the greatest factor in image
> quality with sensor technology being the second most important issue.
> And as sensor and manufacturing technology improve, physical
> limitations will eventually be met that will prevent further
> improvement.
>
> Or am I all wet? Are there any other thoughts on this?
>
> I'd hate to see a megapixel arms race rather than an image quality arms
> race, but I'm afraid that megapixels are a lot easier to quantify and
> advertise than image quality.

I understand what you are saying. I think the answer is how much are you
willing to pay for these devices? And, bigger is often better -- without a
doubt.
Anonymous
February 27, 2005 1:59:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Wavelength sets some physical limits, including on lens design.
Diffraction certainly affects lenses. As we shrink them the diffraction
blur will begin to dominate over geometric aberration.

The only solution to this is to use shorter wavelengths. This would
mean giving up reds, and accepting more UV.


HanbB wrote:

> The subject of 5MP camera phones came up in a camera phone list and
> some of the comments made me wonder. A common thought was "provide
> better optics to make better quality pictures rather than more pixels."
>
> One response was that physical limits have already been reached due to
> the small size of the camera phone. By way of example, the author
> pointed out the size of quality camera lenses. I am neither an expert
> on optics or digital or film photography, but I wonder if it is not
> possible to produce far better pictures from a miniature digital
> camera.
>
> With regards to the lens, for decades, if not centuries (OK, no expert
> on history of photography either ;)  the size of the lens has been
> dictated by the size of the film and the necessary speed. And the
> required lens speed is also related to the film speed and shooting
> situation. I suppose with digital cameras that relationship has been
> reversed at the high quality end (DLSR) where the sensor
> characteristics are determined by a lens size and speed that was
> determined by film characteristics. I guess this issue boils down to
> how small a good sensor can be made for use in a miniature camera.
>
> A second aspect would seem to be manufacturing tolerances. It seems to
> me that a 0.01mm deviation in a 35mm camera lens would have less effect
> on the image than a 0.01mm deviation in a lens that is only several mm
> in diameter. The same is probably true of the physical dimensions of
> the sensor. These probably relate to manufacturing capabilities and
> that really boils down to cost. The phones are sold in an extremely
> price sensitive market.
>
> I am aware that with traditional film photography that stopping the
> lens down past a certain point provides no additional sharpness in the
> resulting image. I believe this is due to diffraction. I think that
> this relates to the wavelength of light and the absolute size of the
> aperture, but I don't know if there is any way to compensate for this
> on a small lens. This might be the place where physics truly limits the
> capability to deliver a quality image. But I really wonder if that
> limit has been met.
>
> My guess is that manufacturing costs are the greatest factor in image
> quality with sensor technology being the second most important issue.
> And as sensor and manufacturing technology improve, physical
> limitations will eventually be met that will prevent further
> improvement.
>
> Or am I all wet? Are there any other thoughts on this?
>
> I'd hate to see a megapixel arms race rather than an image quality arms
> race, but I'm afraid that megapixels are a lot easier to quantify and
> advertise than image quality.
>
Related resources
Anonymous
February 27, 2005 6:01:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Roland wrote:
>As you say - diffraction and the >wavelength of light sets the limit
for >miniaturization.

Hardly. User-unfriendliness - from tiny controls, short battery
life from tiny batteries, etc. - is the real limiting factor for
further miniaturization of digicams. Live with the Pentax Optio S for
a short while - and you'll fast learn this, and that miniaturization of
digicams becomes a headache for owners at some point. (I think the
Optio S is wonderful - but pushes miniaturization about as far as
useful.)

See all our stuff at <a
href="http://stores.ebay.com/INTERNET-GUN-SHOW">Internet Gun Show!</a>
Anonymous
February 27, 2005 6:03:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On 27 Feb 2005 06:45:51 -0800, "HanbB" <hbarta@gmail.com> wrote:

snipped a large amount of nonsense showing a complete lack of
knowledge of optics.

>Or am I all wet? Are there any other thoughts on this?

I suggest you go take a basic course in optics and get back to us when
you have knowledge of the subject rather than the nonsense you just
typed.

You aren't wet you drowned a long time ago.


********************************************************

"A nice man is a man of nasty ideas."

_Introductions to History of the Reformation_
Jonathan Swift
1667-1745
Anonymous
February 27, 2005 6:03:39 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <r2o32152l5ih7rond4rh3oalvnqhr9q726@4ax.com>, John A.
Stovall <johnastovall@earthlink.net> wrote:

> I suggest you go take a basic course in optics and get back to us when
> you have knowledge of the subject rather than the nonsense you just
> typed.

Harsh words, considering that you don't tell us what's wrong with what
he wrote. Having spent decades selling cameras and using them
professionally, I don't see any flat-out "nonsense" there. Care to
illuminate us peons?
Anonymous
February 27, 2005 6:18:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"HanbB" <hbarta@gmail.com> wrote in news:1109515551.544721.94360
@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com:

> The subject of 5MP camera phones came up in a camera phone list and
> some of the comments made me wonder. A common thought was "provide
> better optics to make better quality pictures rather than more pixels."
> ..

As you say - diffraction and the wavelength of light
sets the limit for miniaturization. There is also a signal to
noise issue as a small lens lets in very little light.

This is a formula that you can use:

resolution =
1.2 * focallength * wavelength / diameter =
1.2 * F-stop * wavelength.

One example:
F-stop = 4.0
wavelength = 0.5 um

Then the resolution is 2.4 um

Lets say that you want 2000x3000 pixels.
Then the minimum size of the sensor is
4.8x7.2 mm.

That is the size of a consumer sensor.
It is a reason for this.

To get smaller sensors at 6 Mpixels you have
to make diffraction limited lenses with e.g
F2.0 or even F1.0. That is difficult.


/Roland
February 27, 2005 7:56:03 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"HanbB" <hbarta@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1109515551.544721.94360@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...

snip

There has been some talk of 'lens per pixel' chips that act like a 'fly's
eye' but with much higher resolution. I expect that if these can be
constructed that the size limit will go down.

Evad
Anonymous
February 27, 2005 9:47:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"HanbB" <hbarta@gmail.com> wrote:


>
> I am aware that with traditional film photography that stopping the
> lens down past a certain point provides no additional sharpness in the
> resulting image. I believe this is due to diffraction. I think that
> this relates to the wavelength of light and the absolute size of the
> aperture, but I don't know if there is any way to compensate for this
> on a small lens. This might be the place where physics truly limits the
> capability to deliver a quality image. But I really wonder if that
> limit has been met.


It has. That's why small point and shoots don't close down past f/8.
Anonymous
February 27, 2005 10:47:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Scott wrote (to Stovall):
>Harsh words, considering that you don't tell us what's wrong with what
>he wrote. Having spent decades selling cameras and using them
>professionally, I don't see any flat-out "nonsense" there. Care to
>illuminate us peons?

Just tell us how much smaller than the Pentax Optio S a digicam
could be made before you couldn't HOLD it? Even at its present size,
the Optio S is difficult for a woman to hold - and I couldn't imagine a
man with "man-size" hands being able to use it at all well.

See all our stuff at <a
href="http://stores.ebay.com/INTERNET-GUN-SHOW">Internet Gun Show!</a>
Anonymous
February 28, 2005 12:06:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Bubbabob <rnorton@_remove_this_thuntek.net> wrote in
news:Xns960A77ED99612dilfjelfoiwepofujsdk@216.168.3.30:

> It has. That's why small point and shoots don't close down past f/8.
>

Yupp.

What you could do is to make diffraction limited
lenses at F/1.0. That is very hard.

Then you could make sensors as small as 2x3 mm and
still get resolution for e.g. 8 Mpixels.

But then you are at the limit.

It is theoretically possible to make F/0.5 lenses,
but it is extremely difficult to achieve even something
substantial below F/1.0.


/Roland
Anonymous
February 28, 2005 3:16:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Don Stauffer in Minneapolis <stauffer@usfamily.net> writes:
>Wavelength sets some physical limits, including on lens design.
>Diffraction certainly affects lenses. As we shrink them the diffraction
>blur will begin to dominate over geometric aberration.

>The only solution to this is to use shorter wavelengths. This would
>mean giving up reds, and accepting more UV.

That works if you're making IC masks, or printing plates. But for
pictorial photography, we want to know what the subject looks like in
the *visible* wavelengths. So we can't go to shorter wavelengths when
taking the photo.

Dave
Anonymous
February 28, 2005 5:59:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Evad" <evad@dodgeit.com> wrote:

>
> "HanbB" <hbarta@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1109515551.544721.94360@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
>
> snip
>
> There has been some talk of 'lens per pixel' chips that act like a
> 'fly's eye' but with much higher resolution. I expect that if these
> can be constructed that the size limit will go down.
>
> Evad
>


And the iris diaphragm would go where?
Anonymous
February 28, 2005 12:29:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <1109562428.516469.30720@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
<"editor@netpath.net"> wrote:

> Just tell us how much smaller than the Pentax Optio S a digicam
> could be made before you couldn't HOLD it? Even at its present size,
> the Optio S is difficult for a woman to hold - and I couldn't imagine a
> man with "man-size" hands being able to use it at all well.

Not only are they about as small as they can get, the contol layout is
more engineering expedience than ergonomics. A smallish ladyfriend has
a Sony Cybershot DSC-T1 (91 x 60 x 21mm) and she almost literally
cannot manipulate it in her hands.
Anonymous
February 28, 2005 1:39:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <1109515551.544721.94360@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
"HanbB" <hbarta@gmail.com> wrote:

> The subject of 5MP camera phones came up in a camera phone list and
> some of the comments made me wonder. A common thought was "provide
> better optics to make better quality pictures rather than more pixels."
>
<snipped for brevity and bandwidth>

Miniature cameras existed long before digital. Minolta made an excellent
series of 16mm cameras and the Minox was always favoured by the James
Bond set. Minox also make an excellent 35mm camera and so did Rolei.

For most people this is the size they want - not the cell-phone camera
which is little more than a toy and a bad toy at that. Something with an
extending lens with a built-in lans cap, something they can slip in the
pocket or purse and use at a moment's notice. Nikon and Fuji realised
this early on and Sony belatedly later. Everyone does not want a huge
piece of hardware slung around their neck like an albatross, many people
simply want a camera they can carry all the time while doing something
else - sightseeing with kids, hiking, shopping etc. Digitals are useful
in recording timetables, menus and maps.

I think the next step would be a Minox sized digital which plugs
directly into a palm pilot - something with a bigger screen than a
camera - to send by email but rarely to print - and then only postcard
size.

People choose cameras wisely - the DSLR crowd are big budget hobbyists
for the most part. Most people have other priorities.

BTW I have a Fuji S7000 and and a Fuji F440. The F440 was a 2nd choice -
I couldn't easily buy the Nikon Coolpix 3700 which I believe was a
better camera. I have no intention of getting a semi-pro DSLR until the
price drops below £500 for camera and decent zoom (35-135 or so)
Anonymous
February 28, 2005 3:57:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Mon, 28 Feb 2005 09:29:02 -0500, Scott Schuckert <not@aol.com> wrote:

>In article <1109562428.516469.30720@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
><"editor@netpath.net"> wrote:
>
>> Just tell us how much smaller than the Pentax Optio S a digicam
>> could be made before you couldn't HOLD it? Even at its present size,
>> the Optio S is difficult for a woman to hold - and I couldn't imagine a
>> man with "man-size" hands being able to use it at all well.
>
>Not only are they about as small as they can get, the contol layout is
>more engineering expedience than ergonomics. A smallish ladyfriend has
>a Sony Cybershot DSC-T1 (91 x 60 x 21mm) and she almost literally
>cannot manipulate it in her hands.
Nonsense, I have the Sony DSC W1, almost the same dimensions,
very ergonomic and easy to use, after mastering the controls,
IOW reading the manual.
Anonymous
February 28, 2005 10:12:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"editor@netpath.net" <editor@netpath.net> wrote in
news:1109541899.643492.245850@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:

> Roland wrote:
>>As you say - diffraction and the >wavelength of light sets the limit
> for >miniaturization.
>
> Hardly. User-unfriendliness - from tiny controls, short battery
> life from tiny batteries, etc. - is the real limiting factor for
> further miniaturization of digicams.

Yepp - that is also true. At least for simple cameras without large zooms.
For super zoom cameras diffraction might hit you first.


/Roland
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 2:28:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

<editor@netpath.net> wrote in message
news:1109541899.643492.245850@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Roland wrote:
>>As you say - diffraction and the >wavelength of light sets the limit
> for >miniaturization.
>
> Hardly. User-unfriendliness - from tiny controls, short battery
> life from tiny batteries, etc. - is the real limiting factor for
> further miniaturization of digicams. Live with the Pentax Optio S for
> a short while - and you'll fast learn this, and that miniaturization of
> digicams becomes a headache for owners at some point. (I think the
> Optio S is wonderful - but pushes miniaturization about as far as
> useful.)

You're talking about different things, though.

Roland's answer is probably more pertinent and useful to the original
poster, who if I understand him correctly is asking about how small it is
PHYSICALLY OR THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE to make a digital camera which will
still give good results, not how small it can be made and still be easily
managed.

I have an Optio S4i, and I'd agree it's about as tiny as I'd care to see a
camera made. I don't think it's TOO tiny for its intended purpose, mainly
point-and-shoot use but with a lot of extra features and capabilities for
someone willing to take the time to deal with the menu system--made
necessary by the small size which limits the number of hardware controls
it's practical to put on the thing. Yes, it's more of a chore to use it in
anything other than full-auto mode, but the other capabilities are there. A
larger camera with more room for buttons and knobs obviously can do more of
those things directly, but the Optio S series offer a very acceptable
trade-off in convenience for someone who wants an ultracompact camera.
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 2:54:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Bubbabob" <rnorton@_remove_this_thuntek.net> wrote in message
news:Xns960A77ED99612dilfjelfoiwepofujsdk@216.168.3.30...
> "HanbB" <hbarta@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>>
>> I am aware that with traditional film photography that stopping the
>> lens down past a certain point provides no additional sharpness in the
>> resulting image. I believe this is due to diffraction. I think that
>> this relates to the wavelength of light and the absolute size of the
>> aperture, but I don't know if there is any way to compensate for this
>> on a small lens. This might be the place where physics truly limits the
>> capability to deliver a quality image. But I really wonder if that
>> limit has been met.
>
>
> It has. That's why small point and shoots don't close down past f/8.

And not just the small ones. My somewhat hefty DiMAGE S414 stops down only
to f/6.7 and f/8 at the short and long ends respectively; my SLR-sized 7Hi
gets down to f/9.5 at the long end, but only f/8 at the short end.
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 7:54:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Sun, 27 Feb 2005 18:47:14 -0000, Bubbabob <rnorton@_remove_this_thuntek.net>
wrote:

>"HanbB" <hbarta@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>>
>> I am aware that with traditional film photography that stopping the
>> lens down past a certain point provides no additional sharpness in the
>> resulting image. I believe this is due to diffraction. I think that
>> this relates to the wavelength of light and the absolute size of the
>> aperture, but I don't know if there is any way to compensate for this
>> on a small lens. This might be the place where physics truly limits the
>> capability to deliver a quality image. But I really wonder if that
>> limit has been met.
>
>
>It has. That's why small point and shoots don't close down past f/8.

Took two pictures with my Canon Powershot A60. One at F4.5, the
other at F8. The picture taken at F4.5 was sharper. Not by a great
deal, but the difference was enough to be noticeable on my monitor.
At F4.5. the actual size of the aperture is 1.2mm. (lens at wide angle
is supposed to be 5.4mm) At F8, the actual size of the aperture is down
to 0.675mm. Unless you need a lot of depth of field, wider apertures are
likely to be sharper (depending upon the quality of the lens, of course).

I also own a Sony DSC-U10 which is probably about as small as you
can build a digital camera with batteries, electronic flash, flash memory
card. Anything smaller is going to have to give up something to get a
smaller form factor. It might be an interesting "gadget", but would it be
something that very many people would want?

Jerome Bigge
Member, Muskegon Astronomical Society
Author of the "Warlady" & "Wartime" series.
Download at "http://members.tripod.com/~jbigge"
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 11:54:35 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <v91721d00438ik9vhor9cnsqhqq3197a44@4ax.com>, irwell
<hook@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Nonsense, I have the Sony DSC W1, almost the same dimensions,
> very ergonomic and easy to use, after mastering the controls,
> IOW reading the manual.

Well, tell her that. She's read the manual and practiced, and she's
always fumbling to get a good grip on it. When I pick it up it's always
perched in my fingertips.

The funny thing is, I often have and sometimes still do carry a Minox,
which I have no trouble handling.
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 11:54:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Tue, 01 Mar 2005 08:54:35 -0500, Scott Schuckert <not@aol.com> wrote:

>In article <v91721d00438ik9vhor9cnsqhqq3197a44@4ax.com>, irwell
><hook@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
I have the Sony DSC W1, almost the same dimensions,
>> very ergonomic and easy to use, after mastering the controls,
>> IOW reading the manual.
>
>Well, tell her that. She's read the manual and practiced, and she's
>always fumbling to get a good grip on it. When I pick it up it's always
>perched in my fingertips.
The W1 is a little bigger but the reason I chose it against
the T1 is the tripod screww and the threaded lens that allows
for attaching tele/wide/macros.

>
>The funny thing is, I often have and sometimes still do carry a Minox,
>which I have no trouble handling.
Same with my little Casio watch, has a calculator etc.,
practise makes perfect, or does it?
March 1, 2005 12:22:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <010320050854350056%not@aol.com>, not@aol.com says...
> In article <v91721d00438ik9vhor9cnsqhqq3197a44@4ax.com>, irwell
> <hook@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> > Nonsense, I have the Sony DSC W1, almost the same dimensions,
> > very ergonomic and easy to use, after mastering the controls,
> > IOW reading the manual.
>
> Well, tell her that. She's read the manual and practiced, and she's
> always fumbling to get a good grip on it. When I pick it up it's always
> perched in my fingertips.
>
> The funny thing is, I often have and sometimes still do carry a Minox,
> which I have no trouble handling.
>


I had the Sony V1 and it is VERY similar to the W series (I dont remember
what number they are up to). On the V1 the "pop-up" flash was in a VERY bad
place, and I would imagine if you used the camera with its built in flash
holding the camera would be awkward.

I dont think the "ergonomics" of the V1 OR the W series is well thought out..
when holding the camera in a natural, comfortable way, the index finger of
your left hand tends to block the flash from popping up, and if you use the
optical view finder, your nose is squished against the LCD on the back.

I would have purchased one of the W series by now to have a good "pocket"
camera, but none of them have a HOT-SHOE or a pc connection (very BIG flaw in
my opinion).

So Im saving for the new V3, and I'll need bigger pockets both to PAY for it,
and to carry it in a pocket.




--
Larry Lynch
Mystic, Ct.
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 1:14:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

> on a small lens. This might be the place where physics truly limits the
> capability to deliver a quality image. But I really wonder if that
> limit has been met.

Nope. They've already got those stomach pill cameras that'll take
1-2MP digital photos, and over time, you'll see things change to
increase resolution and decrease size. You'll probably see credit card
thin cameras sometime in your life.

The biggest revolution that should make a huge change is frensel or
holographic lenses. These can be super-thin, yet bend light just like a
regular big lens, and when they can make them in commercial quantities
cheap enough, you'll see yet another jump down in size.

Batteries and display panels go hand in hand -- as panels go down in
power consumption (think LCD -> newer technologies that don't require
power to retain the image), LED -> OLED/etc = smaller batteries.

Given that spy cameras are super-tiny already, and any smaller =
you'll lose it can can't hold it, you'll probably see them going down to
the size of an eraser or so, then stop there for most consumer cameras.
Any smaller and you can't even get a display in there (and not the
usual big panel display, but the virtual heads-up displays that look
like they're 10 feet monitors, but only require the tiniest square of
space to be installed on the camera).
March 3, 2005 9:15:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

The marginal ray angle at f/1 is 30 degrees. Sensors just can't handle
that kind of input angle very well - you get drastically reduced
sensitivity and/or crosstalk. Sensor losses make the use of fast
optics a losing battle, even ignoring the optical design hurdles.

Brian
www.caldwellphotographic.com
Anonymous
March 3, 2005 2:59:30 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Let me make a simple guess.

A picture from a 5 Megapixel cellphone camera will not be
entirely sharp and even less sharp when taken in low light
conditions.

What happens here is most likely marketing. The manufacturer
wants to sell the phone on the basis of the 5 Megapixel figure,
no matter if the pictures are really sharp or unsharp, als long
as they consist of 5 Megapixels.

We observe this phenomenon not only in camera phones, but also
in many digital cameras and even more conspicuously in slide
scanners.

People who do not understand the technical details go for the
higher number, usually for no good reason but the thinking that
more is better.

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
Anonymous
March 3, 2005 2:59:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Hans-Georg Michna wrote:
> Let me make a simple guess.
>
> A picture from a 5 Megapixel cellphone camera will not be
> entirely sharp and even less sharp when taken in low light
> conditions.
>
> What happens here is most likely marketing. The manufacturer
> wants to sell the phone on the basis of the 5 Megapixel figure,
> no matter if the pictures are really sharp or unsharp, als long
> as they consist of 5 Megapixels.
>
> We observe this phenomenon not only in camera phones, but also
> in many digital cameras and even more conspicuously in slide
> scanners.
>
> People who do not understand the technical details go for the
> higher number, usually for no good reason but the thinking that
> more is better.
>
> Hans-Georg
>
In a camera phone, the quality of the lens is probably a lot more
important than the difference between 2mp and 5mp in the sensor. Most,
if not all, phone camera lenses I have seen were very small.


--
Ron Hunter rphunter@charter.net
!