Thought the grain-of-salt-sized camera announced in Germany earlier this year was small? Well, researchers at Cornell have created a camera just 1/100th of a millimeter thick and 1mm on each size that has no lens or moving parts. The Planar Fourier Capture Array (PFCA) is simply a flat piece of doped silicon that cost just a few cents each. After light information is gathered, some fancy mathematical magic (i.e. the Fourier transform) turns the information into a 20×20 pixel “photo”. The fuzzy photo of the Mona Lisa above was shot using this camera.
Obviously, the camera won’t be very useful for ordinary photography, but it could potentially be extremely useful in science, medicine, and gadgets.
Time-lapse enthusiast and electronics wiz Achim Sack came up with this super-small hardware-based intervalometer. Only a little larger than the size of a standard 2.5mm stereo plug, the device doesn’t require any special setup or configuration — all you do is plug it into your Canon/Nikon/Pentax DSLR and then take two photographs between 0.4 seconds and 18 minutes apart. The device will continue to shoot photos at that interval until the memory card is full or the battery dies. Sadly, it’s not for sale, but if you’re handy with electronics you can find the schematics and code for free on Sack’s website.
Pentax has just announced the Q, the world’s smallest interchangeable lens camera (ILC). Unlike existing ILC cameras, which have large sensors despite their tiny bodies, the Q has a tiny 1/2.3-inch sensor that’s more comparable to the sensors in point-and-shoot cameras. Thus, the Pentax Q can be considered the world’s first interchangeable lens point-and-shoot camera, though it is packed with the features and manual controls found on ILCs and DSLRs.
The camera shoots 12.4MP JPEG or raw stills at up to 5fps, records 1080p video at 30fps, and offers the traditional shooting modes found on DSLRs (i.e. P, Av, Tv, M). ISO goes up to 6400, there’s a 3-inch LCD on the back, and a funky onboard flash pops up in a strange way to help illuminate your photos. Read more…
If you had a camera the size of a grain of rice, that would be considered extremely small, but researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have created a camera the size of a grain of salt. The world’s smallest camera measures 1x1x1 millimeters, shoots 0.1 megapixel photographs (250×250 pixels), and is so inexpensive to make that they’re disposable. Potential uses for the camera include photographing the inside of human bodies (AKA endoscopy) and being used as rearview cameras on cars.
Less than a year ago when I was a grad student at Berkeley, I heard a guest lecture by Professor Daniel Fletcher in which he discussed his CellScope project. His group aims to transform cell phones into light microscopes to aid in disease diagnosis in developing countries. Turns out the concept can be used for more than medical purposes.
Inspired by the CellScope, Nokia hired Aardman to create the world’s smallest stop-motion film using the Nokia N8 cell phone. The result is “Dot”, a stop-motion film starring an uber-small 9mm tall girl. Aardman had to create 50 different versions of the girl for all her various poses, and spent about one day making every four seconds of the video. Read more…
Today, Canon Japan’s Image Communication Products head Masaya Maeda said that Canon is working on a smaller version SLR to be released in the near future. In an interview with Reuters, Maeda said the idea behind the small SLR is that it could compete with Nikon’s future mirrorless system and other existing EVIL systems that are inherently more compact than most current mid-level DSLRs.
Maeda did not reveal whether the new Canon camera would include a mirror, but he suggested that the company has their focus elsewhere. Maeda said:
It’s not a question of whether or not you have a mirror. There is a consumer need for good-quality cameras to be made smaller … We will meet this need.
Still, Maeda did not commit to a solid answer about internal mirrors, though he suggested that there may be more ways to reduce the size of SLRs without removing the mirror.
Reuters cited an analyst, Kazumasa Kubota of Okasan Securities, who believes Canon may be wisest in sticking to traditional SLR designs. Kubota added, “Looking directly at something through a viewfinder is different from seeing it indirectly via semiconductors.”
What do you think? Is Canon on the right track, or are they missing the next gravy train?
This amazing pinhole camera is so small that it’s amazing it actually works. It was created by Francesco Capponi (Dippold on Flickr), the same guy who created the nifty printable 35mm cardboard pinhole camera we featured a while back.
Here are a couple more views of this extraordinary camera to give you a better idea of how it works:
To prove the camera is fully-functional, Capponi took the following photograph with it, titled “my little eye“:
The film used to capture this image was simple black and white photo paper.
Sadly, Capponi doesn’t have a tutorial out for making one of these amazing cameras (they would make fun conversation pieces), but hopefully he’ll post some explanation and/or instructions soon!
Video monitor maker SmallHD has just announced the DP-SLR, which they boast is the smallest HD field monitor on the market. The DP-SLR is 5.6″ diagonally (or 4 x 6 x 1), and has a resolution of 1280 x 800 at 270 ppi. As the name implies, it’s designed for use with DSLRs with video capabilities.
The monitor mounts on the camera’s hotshoe and connects to the body with an HDMI cable. The standard monitor also has a component connection. The higher end model includes a 3G SD/HDI, which puts the monitor on par with professional monitors for broadcasting.
But tech jargon aside, this pint-sized monitor is a pretty huge step for folks who shoot video with DSLRs. The DP-SLR is compact, so it won’t compromise the mobility of a DSLR, but allows more viewing space than the camera body’s monitor.
The functionality might even encourage some videographers to jump ship in favor of a more compact video DSLR.
At $899 for the standard model and $1199 for the model with 3G SD/HDI, the unit is a bit on the pricey side compared to most small field monitors, but it still remains affordable.
SmallHD’s website is taking pre-orders for the monitor, and says that the product will be available this July.