|Comparison photos between the Canon EOS-5D Mk III and the experimental Monocentric System|
A research program funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, an arm of the Defense Department, with the hope of leading to significant refinements in navigation of unmanned combat vehicles have led to a breakthrough at the University of California, San Diego.
Researchers are fine-tuning new tiny camera technology that may dramatically boost the detail and field of view for DSLRs and smartphone cameras. Joseph Ford, a professor in the university’s Jacob School of Engineering, will be presenting his paper at the Optical Society of America‘s annual meeting next week. You can read the article on the OSA website.
Professor Ford and his team are aiming to create a camera assembly with a sensor of about 85MP, an aperture of f/2 with a 120-degree field of view, all packed into the size of a walnut. The combination is based on a perfectly rounded monocentric lens, connected to the image sensor by fiber optic cables, perfectly aligned with the curvature of the lens. They are designed to eliminate the distortions caused by fisheye lenses and still give high resolution, detailed images. If this experiment proved to be successful, eventually it may produce a camera assembly small enough to fit into a smart phone and rival some of the current DSLR cameras in image quality.
We are a long way from this eventuality but if cameras in smart phones keep on improving, it is bad news for camera manufacturers paddling low end point-n-shoot and DSLR cameras.