Sony Creates Groundbreaking Backlit CMOS Sensor with Global Shutter

Sony just announced a groundbreaking development in the world of camera image sensors: it has created a 1.46-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor that has global shutter. This is the first-ever CMOS sensor of over 1MP that has both back-illumination and global shutter. Backside illumination (BSI) is an image sensor design that uses its arrangement of imaging elements to increase the amount of light that’s captured, leading to improved low-light performance. While this type of design was previously used for things like astro cameras and security cameras, it has become a prominent technology in consumer still photography cameras. In 2015, Sony’s
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This is How Smartphone Cameras Have Improved in the Past 5 Years

DxOMark has published an interesting look at how smartphone cameras have evolved and improved over the past half decade, starting from when the camera testing lab began reviewing smartphones in 2012. Needless to say, we’ve come a long way in just a few short years. Here’s a graph showing how the overall Photo and Video scores have trended upward since the “game-changing” 41-megapixel Nokia 808 PureView: “It’s not too much of a surprise that every generation from Apple, Samsung, and Google does better than the previous one, but with image quality reaching higher levels than ever, it has become
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Canon May Add Fingerprint ID to Its Cameras and Lenses

Fingerprint ID is used on many smartphones these days for security and identification, but would you like to see the same feature on your camera gear? Canon has apparently developed a fingerprint ID system that can identify the photographer using the camera or lens. Canon Rumors reports that a new Canon patent published this month in the US (US20180012061 A1) describes an “electronic apparatus having finger authenticating function.” The patent and illustrations describe and show a camera and lens that have a fingerprint ID reader built into them. A photographer could then press a finger against the
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Google’s Clips AI Camera Was Trained in Photography by Pro Photographers

In October 2017, Google announced Clips, a small hands-free AI-powered camera that’s designed to capture your life’s memories without much human intervention. The camera isn’t on store shelves yet, but Google is revealing some new interesting details about it. One such detail is that the camera was trained with the help of real professional photographers. Clips uses artificial intelligence to automatically capture memorable moments in your life, so Google needed to teach it to recognize photos worth keeping while ignoring throwaway snapshots. The goal is to allow people to enjoy moments more while trusting Google Clip to preserve memories
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Twitter Trained an AI to Help Auto-Crop Your Photos Better

Twitter has just announced that auto-cropping of photos on the social networking service will be producing much better results thanks to a new neural network that has been trained for the task. Twitter has been a platform for photo sharing since 2011, but cropping shared photos into neat previews has been a challenge for developers. One strategy the service previously used was to employ face detection and crop around the most prominent face in each photo. Problem is, there are many shared photos that don’t have faces, and these photos can often get turned into “awkwardly cropped preview images.”
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This is How the iPhone’s Portrait Mode ‘Fakes’ Bokeh

Ever wonder how the iPhone’s amazing Portrait Model is able to create “fake” bokeh? Some Stuff Explained created this simple 5-minute explanation video that explains how Apple’s Portrait Mode works on iPhones with dual lenses. The feature is made possible by the dual lenses found on the back of the phone (Google’s portrait mode uses dual pixels behind a single lens). Portrait mode creates “fake” bokeh by digitally softening the background. The two cameras create a 3D depth map of the scene using two images of the same scene shot a few millimeters apart. These two images are analyzed
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Google Unveils Two Point-and-Shoot VR Cameras by Lenovo and Yi

Google has just unveiled two new VR point-and-shoot cameras that are capable of harnessing YouTube’s VR180 format. The two cameras, the Lenovo Mirage and the Yi Horizon VR180, were announced at CES 2018. The VR180 format is not a complete 360-degree viewpoint but instead allows for an extremely large field of view pointing forwards. This allows for high-quality imagery that the viewer, while wearing a dedicated headset, can look around inside in the same direction as the camera is pointing. The Lenovo Mirage has a pair of 13-megapixel fisheye lenses, providing a 180 x 180 field of view. It’s an
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ACE Eyewear Camera Sunglasses Can Post Pics to Facebook and Instagram

Following in the footsteps of Snapchat’s Spectacles, there is a new kid on the block in the world of camera sunglasses: Acton. The company has created a new pair of sunglasses called ACE Eyewear that can shoot photos and videos and post them to Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. The glasses have an 8-megapixel sensor with a Dual Core MIPS 1.2 GHz processor, providing “ultra-low power consumption.” They are capable of recording JPEG images, as well as HD video (1792px x 1168px resolution) at 24 fps continuously for 40 minutes. There’s also a built-in microphone for audio capture.
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How to Do HDR Photography… Using Microsoft Excel

There are a number of popular HDR photography programs out there. Microsoft Excel isn’t one of them. Photography enthusiast and software engineer Kevin Chen came up with the strange and hilarious idea of using Excel to create an HDR photo, and he presented his results in this 12-minute presentation he gave at !!Con 2017 (pronounced “bang bang con”). Chen is a computer science student at Columbia University and was previously an intern working on camera software at Apple. In his presentation, Chen first explains the math and technical aspect of how both digital photography and high dynamic range (HDR) imaging
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Revolutionary ‘Metalens’ Can Focus All Visible Light on One Point

Researchers have created the first “metalens” that can focus the entire visible spectrum of light onto a single point in high resolution. The breakthrough brings metalenses one step closer towards replacing bulky camera lenses with much smaller chips. We first reported on the metalens research by Harvard scientists back in mid-2016, when they announced that the new technology could lead to high-resolution camera lenses that are thinner than a human hair. Instead of using solid pieces of curved class to focus light, “meta-material lenses” are covered with an array of “titanium dioxide nanofins” that helps focus light on a
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Google’s New AI Can Score Photos on Technical and Aesthetic Quality

Google has introduced a new AI system that’s trained to rate photos on whether or not they are good technically and attractive aesthetically. It’s called NIMA, or Neural Image Assessment “Quantification of image quality and aesthetics has been a long-standing problem in image processing and computer vision,” the researchers write. While AI has traditionally been able to assess technical details such as noise, blur, and compression artifacts, newer systems are now learning how to interpret aesthetic details — subjective characteristics associated with emotions and beauty. AI systems that do focus on aesthetics generally only rate photos as “high” or “low”
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Imatag Uses Invisible Watermarks to Protect Your Photos

Imatag is a new service that uses invisible watermarks to protect photographs from copyright infringement. With the development of AI technology that can easily remove physical watermarks, more covert solutions could be a solution for photographers looking to identify and prove ownership of copied images online. Once protected, Imatag will also track your photos on the web. You can use the website to see where your photos are found online and take appropriate action. The website has an online demo you can use to try out the technology. You can upload your own image, allowing you to check it
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UK Police Have a Porn-Spotting AI That Gets Confused by Desert Photos

UK police are turning to high-tech artificial intelligence to help wage war against the scourge of child pornography, but the system currently has a tricky problem: the AI has a hard time telling the difference between nudity and photos of deserts. The Telegraph reports that the Metropolitan Police’s digital forensics department is deploying AI to scan child pornography suspects’ phones and computers so that human police officers are no longer subjected to the psychological trauma that comes with the task. The department, which had to search through 53,000 devices just last year, hopes to have an AI system capable of
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How to Run Nik Collection Standalone Without Photoshop or Lightroom

DxO recently announced that it has acquired the Nik Collection suite of popular photo tools after Google abandoned development in May. The Collection is still available as a free download and can be run as standalone programs independent of Photoshop and Lightroom. Here’s how. Because the old Nik Collection is no longer maintained, some users have voiced concern that the classic plugins will not work with future versions of Photoshop and Lightroom. By running the Nik Collection programs standalone, this is no longer a problem. If you haven’t already, you can download the Nik Collection for free by entering your
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How Portrait Mode Works and How It Compares to an $8,000 Camera

Dual cameras have become ubiquitous in the smartphone world, and with them has emerged a new technique for simulating a shallow depth of field — the feature commonly called ‘Portrait Mode’. This 10-minute video from Marques Brownlee explains how it works, and it also pits Portrait Mode on an iPhone X, Note 8, and Pixel 2 against the $8,000 medium format camera Hasselblad X1D. Because a smartphone’s sensor is so small and the field of view is so wide, most of the time everything in a normal photo taken with the phone’s camera will be in focus. Portrait
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Samsung’s 512GB Chip Will Hold Years of Smartphone Photos

Samsung smartphone are about to get a lot more internal storage. Samsung has announced that it has begun mass production of a 512GB embedded Universal Flash Storage solution that will appear in the next generation of smartphones from the South Korean giant. The 512GB chips will provide vast internal storage space and may spell the end of the need for microSD cards by most smartphone users who want to store years of photo and video memories. Samsung says that this is the first chip of its size in the mobile industry that offers this new level of “unparalleled storage capacity
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A Mantis Shrimp-Inspired Camera That Sees Polarized Light

Researchers from the University of Illinois have managed to create a new camera called the Mantis Cam that can see polarized light. This technology provides possible solutions for everything from unlocking the mysteries of the underwater world to early cancer detection. The research was published in the journal Optica and takes its inspiration from the mantis shrimp, a crustacean with an incredible visual system. Humans have 3 different types of color receptors, but the mantis shrimp has 16 different receptors alongside another 6 polarization channels. Animals in the underwater world use polarized light for “covert communication channels” as well as hunting
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This AI Can Change Weather, Seasons, and Time of Day in Photos

Want to change winter to summer or day to night in a photo? In the future, that could be as easy as a single click. Scientists at NVIDIA are working on a mind-boggling AI system that can change things like seasons, time of day, and weather in photos. In a new paper titled “Unsupervised Image-to-Image Translation Networks,” the scientists describe how they created a new artificial intelligence framework that allows for unsupervised image-to-image translations. The scientists write that for many image-to-image translation problems, you can train the AI using high-quality before-and-after examples. For example, to train an AI
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This is the ‘Select Subject’ Tool Coming to Photoshop CC

Adobe just revealed a powerful new tool that’s coming soon to Photoshop CC. Called “Select Subject,” it uses machine learning to detect subjects in your photos to help you isolate them from the backgrounds. These days, making a selection of a subject in a photo is usually done with tools such as Quick Selection, Magic Wand, Pen, and Lasso. The Select Subject tool will revolutionize how selections are made by allowing you to create a usable starting selection with just a single click. Here are some examples of selections that the tool can easily make using Adobe Sensei artificial intelligence
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Man Finds DJI Customer Data Exposed, Gets Threat and Rejects $30K Bounty

Security researcher Kevin Finisterre recently found a flaw that exposed private customer data of the Chinese drone company DJI to the public. After reporting the bug to DJI’s bug bounty program, Finisterre received pushback and a legal threat. So instead of collecting his $30,000 bounty, Finisterre is now going public with his findings (and experience). Ars Technica reports that DJI developers had left private keys for the company’s web domains and cloud storage accounts within source code hosted on GitHub. Using the keys, Finisterre discovered that he was able to access private data uploaded by DJI customers — not
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