Last week the U.S. Department of Energy gave a green light to a project that aims to build the largest digital camera this planet has ever seen. The camera, built by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, will cost around $170 million, be roughly the size of a small car, and be able to capture 3.2-gigapixel photographs using a giant sensor composed of 189 CCD sensors.
Sporting an 8.4-meter-diameter primary mirror, the LSST will be a large, wide-field ground-based telescope designed to provide time-lapse 3-D maps of the universe with unprecedented depth and detail. Of particular interest for cosmology and fundamental physics, these maps can be used to locate the mysterious dark matter [...]
[...] Each night, the LSST will take more than 800 wide-field 15-second exposures, each covering 49 times more sky area than the moon. It will photograph the entire visible sky twice a week. [#]
The lens/telescope will be quite a beast as well — it packs “enough resolving power to distinguish [...] a pair of car headlights seen at a distance of 400 miles.”
Last year Canon announced the world’s largest CMOS sensor — an 8-inch chip that’s 40 times the size of those found in Canon’s full frame cameras. Now, a year later, the sensor is finally being put to good use, having found its way into the Schmidt telescope at the University of Tokyo’s Kiso Observatory. The extreme-sensitivity of the sensor has allowed astronomers to detect more faint meteors during a 1 minute period than could previously be seen during an entire year, and has the ability to record those meteors at 60fps. Now we’ll just patiently twiddle our thumbs and wait for the sensor to appear in an upcoming digital camera.
Facebook is by far the world’s largest photo service, but how does its massive image collection compare with other website and photo libraries? 1000memories created this interesting graphic showing the relative sizes of the world’s largest photo libraries.
Digital cameras are now ubiquitous – it is estimated that 2.5 billion people in the world today have a digital camera. If the average person snaps 150 photos this year that would be a staggering 375 billion photos. That might sound implausible but this year people will upload over 70 billion photos to Facebook, suggesting around 20% of all photos this year will end up there. Already Facebook’s photo collection has a staggering 140 billion photos, that’s over 10,000 times larger than the Library of Congress.
I wonder what future generations will think of the photos being uploaded to Facebook these days…
Photographer Mitchell Feinberg wanted to continue shooting 8×10 large format once his Polaroid stockpile runs out, so he decided to create his own 8×10 digital back. He spent over a year looking for a manufacturer and designing the back, and shelled out enough money to buy a good-sized house:
The development and production of two backs (I wanted to have a spare) was equal to the cost of a good size house – before the housing crash. I know it sounds insane, but the financials on it are not so bad: I used to shoot on average 7.5 Polaroids per photo, and I shoot between 400 to 500 images a year. That’s at least 3000 Polaroids. At 15 bucks a pop. Or about 50K per year, minimum. Polaroid was at one point my highest single cost.
Now he’s the owner of the world’s largest color capture back (two of them, in fact), which shoots 10MP photos. He uses it to shoot test shots before using film for the final captures.
The record for world’s largest camera is currently held by an aircraft hangar camera, but back in 1900, a photographer by the name of George R. Lawrence built the massive camera seen above. He was commissioned by the Chicago & Alton Railway to shoot the world’s largest photo of one of its trains — a photo measuring 8 feet by 4.5 feet. The camera weighed 900 pounds, required 15 men to move and operate, and cost a whopping $5,000 — enough money back then to buy a large house.
Not satisfied with creating a stop-motion animation of microscopic proportions, Nokia has gone in the opposite direction, this time turning a beach into what Guinness deemed the “world’s largest stop motion animation set.” The 12-megapixel stills were shot over five days using a Nokia N8 cell phone strapped to a 40 meter high cherry picker, and the largest scene spans a whopping 11,000 square feet! Read more…
If you’ve ever wondered how an art gallery would display the world’s largest photo taken by the world’s largest camera (and aircraft hangar), check out the above artist render of an exhibition that’s opening tomorrow at UC Riverside. The 32×111 foot photo will be wrapped around a two story atrium at the Culver Center of the Arts.
What you see above is the inside of the world’s largest pinhole camera measuring 45x160x80 feet. It’s an abandoned airplane hangar in Irvine, California that was converted over the course of two months into a gigantic pinhole camera. 24,000 square feet of plastic, 1,300 gallons of foam filler, 1.52 miles of tape, and 40 cans of spray paint went into darkening the hangar. Read more…
Jeffrey Martin, the guy behind the world’s largest indoor photo, has done it again — the founder of 360cities was hired by Wembley Stadium to shoot a massive 20 gigapixel 360-degree panorama of the 2011 FA Cup Final this past weekend. About 1000 photographs shot with a DSLR and robotic tripod head were needed to capture the 90,000 fans in attendance, and the final image was processed with a workstation that had 192 gigabytes of RAM and 24 CPU cores!
Check out the final photo here or read about how it was made. You can also tag people you know in the image — tens of thousands have been identified and tagged already.
What you see above is the largest true-color photograph of the night sky ever created, shot by 28-year-old amateur astrophotographer Nick Risinger using six astronomical cameras. It’s not just the view of the sky from one location, but is instead a 360-panoramic view of the sky taken by trekking 60,000 miles across the western United States and South Africa starting in March 2010. The final image is composed of 37,000 separate photographs. Check out the massive zoomable high-definition version of the photo here.