29 December 2011

Casual Consumer Photography Musings

I am neither a professional nor an amateur photographer, but a common man who uses his phone cameras and point-and-shoots. Here are some of my musings related to photography, which are possibly meaningless or wrong.

Digital Zoom

Many point-and-shoot and phone cameras discourage digital zoom. For example, Android cameras set at max resolution don't allow digital zoom beyond that. The reason is that, the image can be cropped any time later during post-processing.
This is true for camera's that store images in lossless/RAW formats. Otherwise quite some detail is lost, when the image is compressed in camera, and then later when cropped and blown-up("digital zoomed") in a PC. If we digital zoom on the camera itself, before compressing the image, more details could be retained! I could see that digitally zoomed image on my point-and-shoot is better than zooming in later during post-processing.


Creating panoramic images was too hard long back, but not any more. My phone camera which has an accelerometer, but doesn't have a gyroscope is able to stitch and generate low-res panoramas in no time. Latest phones and cameras all have gyroscopes and do a better job with this.

I tried clicking panning few panoramas in my friends marriage hall with my phone.

And I feel that this format of very ultra-wide-angle is the best/must format for covering marriages! Hope wedding photographers/videographers would start adding panoramas to the mix. If you are planning to spend a lot on wedding photography, ask for panoramas/super-duper-ultra-wide-angle high-resolution shots.

180°/360° Panorama Videos

Awed by the panoramas from my phone. I wanted to shoot panorama videos i.e., videos with 180° or more FOV. Imagine placing/hanging a 360° Video camera in the center of the wedding hall.
One way to do it would be to create an circular array of cameras and stitch the videos together later. Another way could be to have a shining Christmas tree ball/convex hemispherical mirror and shoot a video of the image on it with a camera, and later post process it to do distortion correction. The same could be achieved by shooting on a camera with a fish-eye lens. Even better would be to use a circular fisheye lens and get a 360
° (on one axis) video. Or 2 or more such cameras to create the complete 360x360 video. I found few 360x360 stills, but no videos. Also found few uncorrected 360°(single axis) videos.

I am trying to shoot pics/video using all shiny balls, door handles now :) I also tried to shoot videos simultaneously with 3 cameras phones with limited FOV, and tried stitching them together. Even when they are stitched badly, it has a good effect.

Lens and focal length

All the photographic equipment manufacturers use focal length for lenses, even on those that are targeted at consumers. With variety of sensor sizes, it doesn't seem to make sense at all. How does it matter to me, what is the focal length? Why cant they just mention the FOV instead? Focal length is an implementation detail, I am not interested in.

Might be continued

Will be continued, if more thoughts on fast-frame rate cameras that help creating super slow motion videos(which can be another nicety in marriage coverage), Light field cameras, 3D cameras and dreams of combining these together like 360
°x360° Super slow motion 3D light field video will continue to occupy my mind...


Sankar P said...

The wedding photographs are amazing. Cannot believe that mobile cameras have come this far. Do you have a url for that video that you mentioned ?

Nikanth Karthikesan said...

Do you mean the stitched video I made using 3 separate videos? Sorry, I haven't uploaded them anywhere. I will share it, if and when I do. :)