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Old September 13th, 2017, 02:00 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Default A paradigm change: programmatic photography.

Photography was invented in 1826, the earliest extant written record of the camera obscura is to be found in Chinese writings dated to the -4th century. It is pretty old technology. All cameras, analog, digital, photo and video use the same principle of the camera obscura which projects an inverted image on a sensor.

The limitation inherent to that process is that depth information is lost: the sensor is flat. This is not usually perceived as a limitation, because the paper on which the image is printed or the display screen are also flat. But is is a limitation if one wants to edit the picture afterwards, changing the lights for example.

Other principles of photography exist which do not discard the depth information. 3D cameras based on dual cameras are only a crude approximation which make extracting the 3D map computationally intensive. Plenoptic cameras and cameras using laser ranging have been available, but not very popular. Basically, only Lytro tried to reach the mass market and did not really succeed as their software was not quite ready for prime time.

What can you do with a camera which keeps accurate depth information? You can (given the right software):
  1. change the lights
  2. change the amount and kind of background blur
  3. move objects around and even replace one object with another, even in real time.

(3 means that you could, for example, also replace a talking face by someone else, impersonating other people or appearing younger or older than in reality).

The news is that Apple announced a new Phone with a such camera and the software to go with it. It may not feel like a revolution now, but it is likely to be. The iPhone is, today, the most popular camera. The technology is likely to be available in other, cheaper, phones soon and there are thousands developers ready to think about new "apps" for the new cameras. Actually, the new iPhone comes with functions 1-3 above right out of the box.
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Old September 13th, 2017, 03:21 PM
Antonio Correia Antonio Correia is offline
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New horizons coming...
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Old September 13th, 2017, 04:00 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Jerome,

For some time I thought of using an array of multiple cameras to assemble 3 D data clouds representing an entire scene so that one could edit at any depth within the picture. However, I discovered quickly that I did not have the prowess in geometry and mathematics to do any work myself, but just followed the literature. It all makes sense. I can imagine a MF camera set up being linked to an infrared scanner and several lateral cameras, to build a really accurate 3 D model with the color data being added as the skin at the depths one wishes.

There are many decades of scholarly work that can be now exploited by making new iPhone X apps extending the new Programmatic capabilities. Even Apple will be surprised by the inventiveness that is about to be released by this new platform!

Now, the challenge for the Canon-Nikon-Pentax-Fuji-phase One -Sony camera manufacturers to grasp what has finally happened!

There will always be film cameras and planar imaging. But as you point out, as of yesterday, the imaging world comes face to face with programmetric photography, that the previous attempts become almost irrelevant.

I have waited for this!

Asher
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