It’s the stuff of sci-fi, or at least of “CSI”: British researchers have demonstrated a technique whereby faces reflected in a person’s eye can be extracted from a picture. Zoom in far enough, it turns out, and that twinkle in your eye turns into a full-blown portrait.
Movie buffs may remember something like this appearing in the 1982 sci-fi classic “Blade Runner,” in which a photo is “enhanced” to an unreasonable degree — and of course many a cop drama or mystery has relied on such photographic tricks as well to produce evidence. But this time it’s for real.
Psychologists Rob Jenkins, of the University of York, and Christie Kerr, of the University of Glasgow, show that in the proper conditions, reflections off the pupil of the eye can contain enough details to identify faces. Potential applications aren’t far off from the fictional representations: A picture of a victim might hide details of the attacker or surroundings.
Photographers looking for the ultimate in image quality might avoid zoom lenses like the plague, but the popularity of increasingly long-zoom cameras suggests that some people just can’t get enough telephoto reach. If you’re in their number, you may find the promise of a recent patent filing by Canon Japan to be rather thrilling.
Admittedly, most patents make for somewhat dry reading, but this one, uncovered by Japanese engineering blog Egami, suggests that Canon could soon offer a camera with close to a 100x zoom range. (Given that the existing Canon SX50 HS sports a ~50x zoom, Egami cheekily suggests the name Canon SX100 HS for a followup, tagging its image on the lens diagram with the moniker.)
The police officer rounds the corner of the house, his flashlight searching out the young girl standing quietly on the back deck. She is 10 and barefoot and holding a butcher knife.
“Can you put the knife down for me?” the Greensboro, N.C., cop asks. The girl is still. “Can you lay the knife down?”
Without warning, she hurls the blade like a dart. The officer ducks. His partner walks quickly across the deck and snaps handcuffs on the girl’s wrists, and what he says next — to the girl who just threw a knife at a police officer — might be unbelievable if the entire incident hadn’t been recorded.
2013 was another very good year for digital cameras, with plenty of innovations. As they have for several years, prices continue to drop, giving photographers more value for their dollars. Advanced fixed-lens cameras have been especially plentiful from manufacturers, offering a clear set of advantages over point-and-shoot models and cell phone cameras. Interchangeable lens camera, both DIL and DSLR models, also have been popular in 2013.
Having had a chance to fully test and review several cameras during the year, and having had a chance to informally test and consider dozens more models, here are some of the best cameras I’ve seen during 2013.
When we see professional photographers on the news and in the movies it often appears that only the dSLR cameras and super-fast lenses they carry are capable of making great images. Most amateur shooters want to take good pictures too, but they don’t want to spend a lot of money on esoteric photographic gear or learn anything about f-stops. Consequently, many amateur/casual photographers believe that only complex and expensive gear can produce truly beautiful photographs. Socket wrenches and screwdrivers don’t fix cars–good mechanics do! Cast iron skillets and French saut–pans don’t create delicious meals–good cooks do! The camera (like a cast iron skillet or a socket wrench) is simply a tool. And learning how to use that tool is how you can create amazing images.