Face detection has become the snapshot photographer’s invaluable assistant in ensuring tack-sharp faces, but soon it’ll be able to add two more job responsibilities to its resume: exposure metering and speedier autofocus. Two patents recently awarded to Apple show that future iOS cameras (perhaps the next iPhone?) will have standard camera features that rely much more on face detection technology. The first patent, titled “Dynamic exposure metering based on face detection“, allows the camera to automatically select faces as the primary target for metering. In more difficult situations — group shots or people standing in front of a crowd, for example — the camera will use factors such as “head proximity” to select the primary subject.
Based on some patents filed by Nikon, the company is expected to announce an updated 800mm lens, which will be the largest lens in the current lineup, according to Nikon Rumors. As of now, the 600mm f/4G ED VR is the longest lens Nikon is offering, though Sigma and Canon both have 800mm f/5.6 lenses in their lineups.
A new Panasonic patent uncovered earlier by Egami shows some exciting new sensor technology that may be heading our way soon. The new tech allows for the exposure values to be adjusted for each individual row of pixels. Essentially, the sensor could automatically apply a graduated ND filter to your images without the need for an actual filter. Read more…
A new Nikon patent unearthed by Egami shows that the company has developed a new in-camera feature that assists in panning photographs. Tracking a moving subject with your camera and shooting a longer exposure shot creates photos that contain motion blur and a sense of action, but getting the subject perfectly sharp can be difficult. Nikon wants to use some fancy digital trickery to get around this problem. The feature snaps two photographs — one at a slower shutter speed and one at a faster one — and then selectively blends the images together. The subject subject in the fast shutter speed shot is extracted and used to replace the blurry one, producing an image that has a blurred background but sharp moving subject.
Kodak has been selling off its assets left and right as it tries to dig itself out of its financial hole. Most recently, it “successfully” sold its Gallery business to Shutterfly. But Kodak’s most prized possession, and the sale it was hoping to make up the most ground with, is its massive collection of patents split into two portfolios. Read more…
A new patent application by Apple is showing off some of the technology we may be finding in the next generation camera. The application, which you can read in its entirety here, mentions a few new features, among them the ability to select multiple focus points, allowing the the phone to take over and adjust the aperture, exposure and even post-process to get the best possible picture for those points.
A few other notable features mentioned in the patent include motion tracking for focus, automatic sharpening of key areas, and the possibility of a dedicated image processor (instead of the image processing hardware built into the A5 chip?). Of course we can’t be sure that these advances will make their way into the next iPhone or that they’ll see the light of day at all, but just the fact that Apple is taking this much of an interest in improving an already good smartphone camera seems to bode well for the phoneotographers among us.
(via Photography Bay)
9 out of 10 adults in America believe that people are over-sharing sensitive personal information. One culprit is the GPS-enabled camera, which can reveal exactly where you were at a specific time by baking the information into photos. If you’re uncomfortable with how specific this EXIF data is, Canon has a solution: fuzzy precision. The company has patented a system that may one day allow its camera users to choose “low precision” EXIF data. This means cameras would record rough and non-specific details of when and where an image was made. Instead of 12:31pm, it might record it was 12-1pm, and instead of a particular location, it might provide a general area on a map.
(via Egami via Canon Watch)
There may soon be a new member of the Canon Extender EF lens family. A recently published patent filed by Canon describes a new 2.8x teleconverter. A 400 f/2.8L IS II would become a 1120mm f/8 lens with the teleconverter attached, though Canon will have to restore f/8 autofocus to its top-of-the-line cameras before that combo would become useful.
(via Egami via Canon Rumors)
We’ve all seen photographers make mad dashes into group portraits, hoping to get into position before the camera’s self timer automatically snaps a photograph. Apple wants to make those a thing of the past. A new patent filed by the company (#20120057039) describes a new and smarter self-timer system that uses facial recognition in addition to the standard timer. Using a picture of the photographer’s face, the camera will wait until the shooter is in the scene before starting the countdown, ensuring that everyone in the photo has the same amount of time to put on a picture perfect smile.
(via Patently Apple via Ubergizmo)
Looks like Canon has some serious plans to jump into the mirrorless camera market. The company’s G1X camera announced last month has a sensor large enough to compete with existing mirrorless cameras, but lacks an interchangeable lens system. A new patent filed by the company, however, reveals a new 18-45mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens for an APS-C mirrorless camera. It was filed back in 2010, so it seems that the company has been working on a mirrorless camera for quite some time now.
(via Egami via Mirrorless Rumors)