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Larry last won the day on 27 April

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About Larry

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  1. Indeed. Is this the closest we will come to seeing a photo of you?
  2. Wonderful image Luc ... well seen and well captured.
  3. if the above sounds fanciful, take a look at what Canon thinks of it:
  4. There is no doubt as to where liquid-lens is today. Given the limited industrial applications it has been put to use for, the development time will certainly be quite extended. I can still remember how expensive a SanDisk compact flash was in 1995, the very limited capacity it had, and how slow it was. But as with any technology that crosses a critical threshold, it will find a place and will have a role to play in computational photography. This will substantially increase the resources devoted to it and expand the market considerably.
  5. The iPhone 7 Plus has the dual camera (the iPhone 7 has a single camera). The next top-end iphone model is expected to create composite images from its two cameras, among other augmented reality capabilities. Mated to a 5.5" 1920 x 1280 at 400ppi, 1300:1 contrast ratio backlit LED touch screen, the relevant camera specifications are as follows. 12MP wide-angle and "telephoto" cameras STILLS: 28.7mm (135mm equivalent FOV) ƒ/1.8 aperture 56.8mm (135mm equivalent FOV) ƒ/2.8 aperture Optical image stabilization (currently only with the 28.7mm lens; next model will stabilize both lenses) Six‑element lens Quad-LED True Tone flash Panorama (up to 63 megapixels) Sapphire crystal lens cover Backside illumination sensor Hybrid IR filter Autofocus with Focus Pixels Tap to focus with Focus Pixels Live Photos with stabilization Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos Improved local tone mapping Body and face detection Exposure control Noise reduction Auto HDR for photos Auto image stabilization Burst mode Timer mode Photo geotagging (Assisted GPS and GLONASS, Digital compass) VIDEO 4K video recording at 30 fps 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps 720p HD video recording at 30 fps Optical image stabilization for video (currently only with the 28.7mm lens; next model will stabilize both lenses) Optical zoom at 2x; 6x digital zoom (iPhone 7 Plus only) Quad-LED True Tone flash Slo‑mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps Time‑lapse video with stabilization Cinematic video stabilization (1080p and 720p) Continuous autofocus video Body and face detection Noise reduction Take 8-megapixel still photos while recording 4K video Playback zoom Video geotagging (Assisted GPS and GLONASS, Digital compass)
  6. Over a year ago, I helped test a prototype barcode scanner that has a global shutter matched to a liquid-lens that has the ability to autofocus (and in the future, change its focal length) depending on the distance of the barcode that needed to be scanned. Previously, two separate scan engines with two different optics were used in one scanner, one to cover near to medium distance, and another, a longer to extra long range distance. Now, only one scan engine (imager camera) and one lens is used ... the liquid lens. Though still at its infancy in this first generation product, I can imagine how such a liquid-lens design would likely be integrated into computational photography equipment. Imagine the possibilities of bringing only a single liquid-lens as a prime lens that can be set to vary in focal length from 20mm to 85mm? The likely image from such a lens will not likely be anywhere be as sharp as would be possible using current optics but computational photography can transform and render the image as sharp as what we can currently capture ... all the while with the possibility and option of changing the point of focus and depth of field in post-processing. Here are some links to a liquid-lens design (fixed focal length)
  7. It was not too long ago when Apple hired a few people to work on enhancing the camera capabilities of it's iPhone. Within that short time and with relatively meager resources, Apple has gone far and will go even farther. It is not so much the technical aspect of the camera that Apple concentrated on even while that too is necessary. Rather, it was the mindset behind the work, the clarity of purpose in meeting the needs of the iPhone users that made such progress possible. Even while I am now an Android user, I am looking forward to what Apple will release in its next new iPhone iteration.
  8. The Push For Computational Photography One of the areas that interested me when Nikon introduced the Nikon 1 series was computational photography. By this, I mean the idea that a camera can take rapid multiple shots of the same subject (still non-moving subject), then applying various post-processing techniques in-camera to produce a much cleaner, better quality RAW image file that would equal and possibly surpass a bigger-sensor camera that did not use the same. I was intrigued in this as I saw no signs of a letup in the megapixel race with its deleterious consequence in higher-resolving lens become even bigger, heavier and more expensive. With such technology maturing, it would be possible I imagine for small and light camera and lenses such as that used by the Nikon 1 series to eventually match the image qualities from a Nikon D8xx / FX lenses. While this technology would of course also be applied to the bigger-sensor cameras, the quantum leap in image quality even for small-sensor cameras would make such small and light "computing cameras" much more viable alternative for casual photographers, as well as by enthusiast photographers in certain activities such as travel, hiking, etc. Computational photography will require a very fast and robust processor and memory. The processor, memory and the software components will increasingly take up a large part of the total camera cost. As sensor development hit a ceiling with not much of a significant improvement possible within 2-3 generations of camera, the ability of computational photography to improve the overall image quality will become more important if the camera manufacturers wanted the owners to continue the upgrade process to its newer camera models. Most metrics of the sensor can be improved using this method: SNR, Dynamic Range, Color, Tonality, etc. Other benefits could also include overcoming the inherent limitation of the Bayer RGB sensor. But new capabilities could also be realized such as completely silent shooting (mirrorless camera with global shutter), much higher frame rate, bigger buffer, tilt-lens like capabilities, much better image stabilization, etc. In hindsight, I over-estimated what Nikon could do or would do with the Nikon 1 series. If anything, Nikon badly fumbled the great potential of the Nikon 1 series. Elsewhere, camera manufacturers such as Hassleblad, Olympus and Pentax have taken on the challenge of taking multi-shot and pixel shifting to deliver improved image quality, even as Panasonic and Olympus have added features such as focus bracketing to further add to the capabilities of their cameras. Personally, I look forward to the day when I will be able to use the small and compact E-M1 using high-quality m43 lenses to take multi-shot pixel-shift images while shooting handheld for travel and equaling the image quality possible today using a Nikon D8xx with top-notch lenses. But far greater pressure and a more urgent push was needed on the traditional camera industry before computational photography would become a standard feature in the mainstream cameras. Where would such a pressure and push come from? Even as the technical capabilities of the very small sensor point-and-shoot cameras eclipsed those found in the phone cameras, the portability and the always-on-hand aspect of the camera-phone, combined with the ability to upload and share the photos quickly and instantly to social media effectively killed and made extinct the generic undifferentiated very small-sensor point-and-shoot cameras. Parallel to this, I saw the processor and memory of the phone increasing by leaps and bounds. As the phone is the natural repository of faster and more able processor, memory and software, it did not require much leap of genius to forsee that the push and even the rush into computational photography will most likely come not from the traditional camera industry, but from the phone industry. Except in some electro-mechanical aspect, the capabilities and resources needed to press on with computational photography are simply beyond the means of the traditional camera industry. As phone manufacturers tried their best to differentiate their product offerings, enhancing the phone's camera capabilities became an important point for achieving this. Computational photography and phone cameras is the inevitable consequence and tandem. So just where are we today with regard to this? This article in dpreview gives us a hint: Ultimately, I expect that the pressure and the push for traditional camera manufacturers to adopt computational photography in the cameras they make will come from the phone manufacturers. As camera manufacturers do not have any particular distinctive competence in software development, they would benefit greatly by partnering with companies who excel with this, e.g., Nikon with Apple or Google. Given the current lack of ease of use and the absence of a simplified user interface between cameras and phones, this might seem like a moon shot. The precipitous decline of the point-and-shoot camera however indicates that this technology partnership is needed not just for growth but for continued relevance and survival. Despite the seemingly startling advances and surprises that Sony introduced recently in the A9, these would pale in comparison to the advances and enhancement that will be possible with computational photography. As I look at the current camera manufacturers and examine their product lineup, I look for indications as to which of them will have the mindset and the skillset to get ahead in computational photography. No particular company however currently stand out even as I admit to liking what Olympus and Panasonic have achieved with the m43 system. Exciting times ahead.
  9. Very true on what you said regarding the lenses. Essentially, the A9 could conceivably work if the 70-200mm f/2.8 is long enough for what one shoots for. While cropping is an option, the 24mp sensor constricts this avenue. Thom Hogan highlights this point about lenses here: As to the ability to shoot quietly using only the electronic shutter, this option has been available under previous Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Fuji camera models. The A9's primary contribution is the ability to do so at a higher frame rate with a bigger buffer as the m43 and APS-C cameras can make up for their small sensor by using faster lenses. From the listing provided, I imagine that some wedding and dance photographers would be the most likely to consider adopting the A9 given the high frame rate and robust buffer if the current Sony lens selection suffices for their needs. Personally, one area where Sony can have a visible impact would be if the White House (and similar such offices) disallow press photographers from using dSLRs. As much as the dSLR remains my first choice (despite having more mirrorless cameras than dSLRs), the racket generated by many of the photographers shooting their dSLRs at the highest frame rate continuously for several seconds sometimes drown out and render inaudible some of the questions by the press. Requiring photographers to use cameras that can shoot quietly can restore some sanity to these events.
  10. Here is an indication of the hype I speak of: FRAME RATE Claim: 20fps, buffer for 241 RAW Reality: - 20fps possible only with electronic shutter and compressed RAW which is not lossless - if lossless uncompressed RAW is chosen along with the electronic shutter, highest speed is now down to 12fps - if lossless uncompressed RAW is chosen along with the mechanical shutter, highest speed is now down to 5fps BUFFER: Claim: 241 RAW Reality: - compressed not lossless RAW: 241 frames - uncompressed RAW: 128 frames
  11. I have been reading some of the discussions online regarding the A9 and while I appreciate the significance of some of the advances that Sony has made in the A9, I am stumped at the extent of hyperbole in many of the postings. Then again, this follows the fanciful and misleading claim that Sony made recently about being No. 2 in the full frame market ... and no longer to my surprise, the way Sony hypes the specifications of the A9. The lack of harmony and balance in the specs, body form and price of the A9 more than anything else pushes me in a different direction, that is, further away from Sony rather than closer to it. The A9 is clear evidence to me of the dissonance within Sony's camera and lens division for which I should stay away from.
  12. Indeed, the specs are impressive but I am also not tempted. Putting these features (minus the 20fps and 241 RAW buffer) plus a high-resolution sensor in an A7 Series III camera and priced at the current A7 level may however be tempting. One benefit from this A9 introduction is that Canon and Nikon will have to up their games considerably in any future 35mm "FF" mirrorless cameras they will be releasing. One side effect of that of course is a sharp increase in price. Touché!
  13. By the way, one area where the A9 could possibly excel given its ability to shoot silently at high frame frame with a robust buffer would be for covering political events, such as in the white house. The noise and din of multiple dSLRs shooting at full-tilt continuously for several seconds create such a racket that one could hardly sometimes hear what is being said in such events. Here, the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 would have enough range to easily cover the event. While the A9 would likely also be well suited for covering events where silence is golden (church events, quiet concerts, etc.), this function can already be covered by other cameras which can shoot silently and which do not need to have the frame rate and buffer of the A9.
  14. I am not sure if the 3rd party electronic adapters that allow Canon lenses to be adapted to the E-mount bodies like the A9 will work as well as native E-mount lenses to sufficiently enable the purpose for which the A9 was seemingly designed for ... sports photography. There are a good number of issues on this that afflicts amateur users. I skeptical whether a professional shooter whose bread and butter depends on his output would be willing to put up with these issues. Candidly, my initial impression of the A9 is that the form factor and some of its features (higher capacity battery, AF joystick, AF-on button, rear touchscreen, etc.) is a big improvement if these are implemented in the A7 Series III which are general purpose cameras. But the A9 form factor leaves it wanting for much more as a sports camera. One could use an A9 as a general purpose camera but the high-speed enabling specifications and the price are over the top overkill.
  15. Sony just released a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens which is now available to use along with its 70-200mm f2.8. But these lenses are not the best choice among those who need a longer lens options ... specially as the A9 sensor is "only" 24.2mp