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Pixels pixels everywhere

Just found this article today and thought it was an amazing glimpse at the history of the digital photo. We’ve been in a pixel-rut and haven’t even realized it. For years most people have been led to believe that more megapixels is better. This is true, but only partially. The more pixels you throw into a picture, the better the chance of pixel noise, which degrades the quality of the picture. There are pictures that I’ve taken with my ancient 5 MP camera that I know would’ve come out looking better on my even more ancient 3 MP camera.

Instead of trying to squeeze more and more pictures into the image, we should’ve been trying to reinvent what the pixel is, which is what Russell Kirsch is doing. Technologically we get constrained in a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset. Unfortunately, the popular belief has been that pixels aren’t broken. While this may be true, it doesn’t mean that they can’t work better. This is a great article to show what innovation can do, and also how the lack of innovation can cause things to spiral out of control. Just because something works and has been good enough for past use, doesn’t mean that it has to stay that way and can’t be improved.

Also, the first digital image is 50 years old, holy flipping cow!

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  1. July 1, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    That’s really interesting! I find that I’m also believing that the more megapixels, the better. I just got a new 10 megapixel camera, and I caught myself being slightly disappointed that I didn’t get a 12 megapixel camera, which is about the highest you can get. Mine takes amazing photos though, so it’s not a big deal at all.

    • DJ
      July 5, 2010 at 7:00 am

      From what I’ve read, the more important part is the sensor. They both work together, but if you have a 12 MP camera with a crappy sensor you won’t be able to get as good of photos as a 6 MP camera with a really good sensor. The other thing is that once you make it past 6 MP, you’ll probably not even notice the difference in picture quality unless you’re printing out poster sized prints.

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