Monday, 9 March 2009

The Megapixel Myth

Ars Technica has an interesting article on why bumping up the megapixels on a mobile phones camera is not making any substantial improvements to image quality.

"Megapixels are the digital camera market's equivalent of horsepower and megahertz—a single metric that consumers and marketers latch on to tenaciously, despite the fact that it hardly describes overall performance. Over the last several years, camera manufacturers have been pumping up the megapixels on each successive camera model, regardless of whether such increases offered any real benefit (hint: it usually doesn't)."

Although you will notice a big difference between a 3 megapixel camera phone and a 8 megapixel one, it is claimed that 12 megapixels is the most we will need.

There are several factors which combine to make a good camera; the quality of the lens is crucial along with things like having a decent flash and also sophisticated post image processing.

Although the article quotes a guy from Olympus Imaging's SLR planning department who may feel threatened by the rapid rise in camera phones, I do feel he has a point. We may soon see phone manufactureres putting less emphasis on megapixels but more on other aspects which will continue the improvements in image quality.

Read the full article at Ars Technica.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

The Bloop: An Unexplained Sound

"The 'bloop' is the name given to an ultra-low frequency underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration several times during the summer of 1997. The source of the sound remains unknown....

The sound, traced to somewhere around 50° S 100° W (South American southwest coast), was detected repeatedly by the Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array, which uses U.S. Navy equipment originally designed to detect Soviet submarines. According to the NOAA , it "rises rapidly in frequency over about one minute and was of sufficient amplitude to be heard on multiple sensors, at a range of over 5,000 km." This means that the sound was detected in 2 different places 5000 km apart! What could be big enough to make a sound that huge?

According to scientists who have studied the phenomenon it matches the audio profile of a living creature but there is no known animal that could have produced the sound. If it is an animal, it would have to be, reportedly, much, much larger than even a Blue Whale, the largest known animal on the earth."

(Turn up the volume. Don't worry this isn't some scary prank.)

Source: Wikipedia