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Old March 3rd, 2009, 01:27 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Default Camera that auto stitches and auto builds from multiple shots!

We discussed here today the demise of the Hy6 well engineered systems depending on precision and great optics. I suggested we are moving towards building images after the fact from rapid sequential frames. What this means is that pictures from such cameras will be of synthesized moments that never actually existed!

Well surprisingly I read just now of Sony's new sweep camera:







Sony DSC-HX1
Images PC Magazine




PC Magazine says:

"Sony Presents First Cyber-Shot Camera With Sweep Panorama Technology"
PMA: "Sony Super-Zoom’s New Processor Adds Neat Features
Sony’s new 20x super-zoom camera uses a more powerful processor so it can eliminate noise, capture 10 frames per second, record 1080p HD video, and merge pictures for panoramic shots just by whipping the camera around".


I don't see it as just another zoom camera with "neat" features. What's important is that Sony, like Fuji and Ricoh are moving toward doing in the camera what software like stitching programs do for us with sets of overlapping pictures, bracketed shots or shots stacked to increase resolution, DR or decrease noise. This is part of the move to concentrate on working with aberrations by accounting for them rather than by expensive manufacturing to make lenses more ideal or "perfect" or to extend the DR of sensels by more costly engineering of the chip or circuitry.

This is the edge of what we will increasingly see: specialized imaging chips that dissect, compare, qualify, rank and rebuild images from components pulled from images taken rapidly in succession. We can therefore expect ever simpler, uniformly made lenses which are well characterized and known as well by their designers as God knows his universe. The lens is not expected to align rays to make a perfect image, rather a perfectly predicted pattern that can then be reformed on the fly by the built in image engines and latest firmware.

Unfortunately, we have not seen any stable platform that would allow other companies to enter the in situ, (ie in camera), image rendering world where the competition is now being played out. Should this happen, we can expect an explosion of new capability that will eclipse current concepts of how a camera can work as an imaging tool.

LAS VEGAS, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- (PMA #F171), "Sony is spotlighting its first digital still camera to feature sweep panorama technology here at the Photo Marketing Association confab. The new HX1 Cyber-shot model can take 224-degree panorama shots in one easy press-and-sweep motion.

It is also the company's first Cyber-shot camera to use the exclusive 1/2.4-inch Exmor(TM) CMOS sensor technology. This technology allows it to achieve burst speeds of 10 frames per second at full 9.1 megapixel resolution in continuous burst mode.

Setting it apart from most digital still cameras, which use an electronic shutter to achieve high speed, the HX1 unit has a mechanical shutter that helps reduce distortion when shooting a moving subject.

Compared to images shot with traditional sensors, the HX1 model takes clearer images with about 50 percent less noise when in handheld twilight or anti-blur modes. It is also the first Cyber-shot camera to include a Sony G lens and 1080p HD movie clip recording capabilities.

"Traditional CMOS sensor technology provides higher shutter speeds, but we are using what we call an Image3 system that combines the best image, sensor and processor," said Karim Noblecilla, senior product marketing manager in Sony Electronics' Digital Imaging Division. "By combining this sensor with a high-quality Sony G lens and powerful BIONZ(TM) processor, we are able to create solutions beyond fast speed that helps consumers get better pictures."

Incorporating on-chip A/D conversion, which minimizes image degradation that can occur during analogue processing, Noblecilla said the Exmor CMOS sensor delivers outstanding images, reduces noise and can continuously shoot at a high speeds.

Clear Images in Low Light or for Moving Subjects

Compared to cameras with traditional sensors, the HX1 model has two scene modes that significantly reduce noise. Using the high-speed shutter Exmor CMOS sensor technology, the new model takes six shots within a fraction of a second. Combined with the power of the BIONZ imaging processor, it immediately superimposes them into one picture. The camera calculates the position of objects in each frame and composes the sharpest picture possible, resulting in clearer, sharper images.

The two modes that use this functionality include hand-held twilight and anti-motion blur. For difficult shots in low light, the hand-held twilight mode results in clearer and sharper pictures without the need of a tripod. Anti-motion blur uses High ISO to reduce blur especially in dimly lit environments.

To reduce blur, the camera detects if a person or object is moving, or if the camera is shaking, which is likely when taking a telephoto shot. When it superimposes the images, the camera captures the moving subject or object from one of the six shots. It takes, combines and composes the rest of the image using the six shots. This reduces blur on the main subject and results in a sharp, clear background.

Sweep Panorama Technology

Capturing wide landscapes, church spires or skyscrapers is as easy as "press and sweep." Sweep panorama mode lets you reach beyond the traditional wide-angle lens and capture breathtaking shots. With wide and ultra-wide settings and horizontal or vertical directions, sweep panorama mode can take up to 224-degree horizontal or 154-degree vertical shots.

Using the fast-speed Exmor CMOS sensor, the camera continuously shoots full-resolution images at a high speed. Using the BIONZ imaging processor, it automatically stitches the pictures together to create one stunning panoramic photo. The maximum resolution is 7152 x 1080 (ultra wide horizontal).

"This panorama mode is so seamless that it removes the guess work," Noblecilla said. "The camera indicates where you are in the degree range, so you know how wide you can shoot and stitches the photos automatically. It calculates and aligns pictures for you without using additional software."

1080p HD Movie Recording

The HX1 camera captures movie clips in 1080p HD resolution, and a built-in stereo microphone records crisp, clear audio. The camera's wide 20x optical zoom is also available while shooting.

When set to HD movie, it records at 30 frames per second (1440 x 1080). The camera uses the high-quality, high-compression MPEG4 AVC/H.264 format. Other recording options include standard-definition video and VGA.

The camera also has HDMI(TM) connectivity via supplied HDMI accessory (cable not included) so images can be shared in high definition on an HD television set. MPEG4 AVC video recording allows you to view footage on a PC and upload it to the Web.

Sony G Lens

The Sony G lens is optimized to complement the advanced image sensors and image processing technology in Sony's cameras. The HX1 camera features a 28-560 millimeter f/2.8-5.2 wide-angle lens with 20x telephoto range. With the combination of this G lens and sweep panorama mode, the camera can cover almost any telephoto and wide angle need.

Containing a six-blade aperture, the G lens produces beautifully defocused backgrounds with a soft, natural feel. A-spherical lens elements and elements made from extra-low dispersion glass combine to minimize chromatic aberration common to high-magnification lenses.

Intelligent Auto

Like many of Sony's new cameras this year, the HX1 model has the convenient and powerful intelligent auto mode, which combines Intelligent Scene Recognition (iSCN), Optical SteadyShot(TM) and face detection technologies. It recognizes scenes and lighting conditions within one-thirtieth of a second, and then changes settings. This produces clearer images with more natural skin tones, reduced red-eye, fewer closed-eye shots and less overall blur without compromising image quality.

The iSCN feature detects up to eight scenes and automatically changes settings that will apply to the scene or lighting conditions. With the iSCN Advance feature, the camera takes a second shot when low or backlight is detected, letting users choose the best picture.

With face detection technology, the camera will adjust the flash, focus, exposure and white balance producing more natural skin tones and reducing red-eye. Face motion detection identifies a moving subject and adjusts the ISO to minimize blur. In conjunction with iSCN, the camera takes two pictures simultaneously and saves the one in which the eyes are the least closed.

A new selected-face memory function registers one face (selected by the user) as the main face and adjusts focus, exposure, flash and white balance accordingly. The camera remembers the face every time that face shows in the frame.

Additionally, the camera comes with Smile Shutter technology that helps capture a smile the moment it happens and dynamic range optimizer (DRO) technology that adjusts for contrast.

Pricing and Availability

The Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 camera will be available in April for about $500 and pre-sales will start in March. The camera and a range of accessories will be available online at sonystyle.com, at Sony Style(R) retail stores (www.sonystyle.com/retail), at military base exchanges and at authorized dealers nationwide."
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; March 3rd, 2009 at 05:16 AM.
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  #2  
Old March 3rd, 2009, 07:30 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
We discussed here today the demise of the Hy6 well engineered systems depending on precision and great optics. I suggested we are moving towards building images after the fact from rapid sequential frames. What this means is that pictures from such cameras will be of synthesized moments that never actually existed!

Well surprisingly I read just now of Sony's new sweep camera:
A really nice essay (I still have to digest it).

Thanks.

Best regards,

Doug
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