Archives for 2012

Toshiba announces speedy sensor, develops Lytro-like module


Perhaps you like the idea of post-capture focus as provided by Lytro’s light field camera, but don’t want another single-function device? You might be in luck if rumors of a small sensor from Toshiba that emulates that ability prove true early next year.

But first the company officially announced a new 20-megapixel CMOS sensor it says “offers the industry’s highest resolution in the 1/2.3 inch optical format, using backside illumination technology to improve sensitivity and imaging performance.” Also, the TCM5115CL achieves a 15 percent improvement in full well capacity — the amount of charge an individual pixel can hold before saturating — over Toshiba’s previous generation. And it’s “designed to meet the demands of high quality, fast frame rate image capture and HD video recording supporting smooth, slow motion playback,” with fast capture at 60 frames per second at 1080p, or 100fps at 720p. The sensor is set for mass production in August 2013.

The new post-capture module will reportedly house an array of 500,000 tiny lenses. It’s aimed at phones, and so it’s smaller than Lytro’s system — just one centimeter thick. Also, it even captures video with selectable focal planes. However, it’s not likely to come out until the end of next year.

The Asahi Shimbun has a full report here.


Aptina 8-Megapixel sensor speeds shots for sports


Aptina announced an “ultra-fast” 8-megapixel sensor it says “takes on the challenging sports camera markets for very fast, high performing cameras with still and video capabilities.”

A similar chip is aimed at mobile phones. They capture 16:9 HD video at 60 frames per second without pixel binning or cropping the field-of-view, the company says. “This 6-megapixel data stream oversamples the target image by 3x resulting in video as sharp as that of the high-end multi-sensor video cameras used in television studios,” Aptina claims. “Camera designers can take advantage of this speed to enable the capture of 6-megapixel still images without interrupting the video stream and with zero shutter lag.”

The AR0835 for mobiles is in mass production now; The AR0835HS is sampling and will be in Q1 2013.

Smartphone-caused camera crash continues?


Slowing seasonal sales in your camera shop? You’re right to suppose the likely suspect continues to be smartphones: ABI Research says the ubiquitous devices “continue to steal market share” from both cameras and handheld game players.

In the digital camera market, shipments are expected to decline more than 11 percent year-over-year worldwide, and nearly 20 percent in North America, the firm reports.

Picture quality and lens attributes might still be the best way to differentiate dedicated point-and-shoot cameras, ABI adds. “While the auditory and visual quality of content in many ways is less important today than in the past, some consumers still look for these features. A subset of customers still look to higher end single-purpose cameras for higher image quality …over smartphone feature sets.”


Madbits makes moments


Your customer’s smartphone shots might be too small or incidental to often warrant hardcopy — but perhaps a collage might better tempt them to hit the print button.

A new app called Momentsia creates “Mondrian”-style photo collages — colorful layouts with two to 20 tiles — and even lets users compose those collages live, snapping shots into onscreen arrangements (as well as working with previously captured shots).

“The essence of one special moment can’t be captured in a single image,” says developer Madbits, “and photos lose their effect when you have to flip through too many of them. With Momentsia, iPhoneographers can better express their experience by combining photos instantly into a single, fully enriched collage, using an app that operates the same way their mind does.”

Foxconn stakes $200 million in GoPro


Is it time to make a fox-in-a-henhouse joke? Hon Hai Precision Industry, the world’s largest electronics manufacturing company also known as Foxconn, acquired an 8.88 percent stake in GoPro for $200 million, the wearable camera maker announced. The investment values the company at $2.25 billion.

“Foxconn and GoPro see a future where personal content capture and enjoyment will play an increasingly important role in our lives and we’re excited to combine efforts to strengthen GoPro’s position in that future,” the company says.

Foxconn founder and CEO Terry Gou will join GoPro’s board. Foxconn manufactures Apple’s iPhone and iPad, as well as the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox.

GoPro says its versatile cameras enable people “to capture and share immersive and engaging footage of themselves during their favorite activities.”