What time of year is it? More thought than a Super a Meme’s at least has gone into this April Fools Day Joke. Sure it is an early set up but it will have a better pay off than a stupid lame arse shot of RAW meat, which was one of the saddest attempts of April first humour last year.
Camera manufacturers are always looking for ways to reduce picture noise while increasing image resolution, especially in compact cameras and those used in mobile phones that cannot compete with the bigger DSLRs due to their smaller sensors. Up to now, the most common ways to increase resolution while maintaining noise performance were an increase in sensor sizes or the use of extensive image noise processing. German photographer Chris Marquardt has managed to come up with a way around this. With the help of scientists from the Max-Planck Institute and German film manufacturer Spürsinn, Marquardt developed a new type of camera system that uses an optical technology similar to polarization, to amplify the light that forms the image by harnessing ambient light.
“The introduction of JPEG in 1992 was a disruptive technology that has transformed an entire industry,” said Marquardt. “By providing a large increase in image quality while simplifying manufacturing processes and considerably reducing the price of cameras, this set of technologies that we named The Invisible Camera, has the potential to prove even more disruptive.”
The approach is similar to the way a laser amplifies light by stimulating the emission of photons. But instead of creating an emitter of coherent light of a single wavelength, Marquardt and his team have found a way to uniformly amplify the entire visible spectrum, making the technology usable for regular photography.
The project has its roots back in the early 1990s, and getting to the current point has taken years of research and numerous failed attempts. The early tries to develop the technology had all been based on the premise of digital, but the development cost was too high for the small company to pursue this track. The breakthrough finally came, when Chris Marquardt met Michael Weyl of Spürsinn, an analog film manufacturer in Germany.
“We have developed a new kind of film and the according chemistry to support the project,” says Weyl. “The Directional Desensitization (DD) formula is a key ingredient in making the Invisible Camera work.” In contrast to the efforts of digital camera manufacturers who have to use complex micro lens arrays to provide light from many different angles to their digital sensors, Spürsinn’s new DD film only responds to light when addressed from a very specific angle and at a very specific amplification. While still firmly rooted in analog film photography, the early success of the Invisible Camera has now prompted interest from several digital sensor manufacturers who are considering an investment in developing digital versions of the DD technology. Goal is to make the technology available in some of their high-end camera sensors.
Marquardt and his team are planning to field test the system with a limited quantity of 100 cameras beginning March 30 2011. Interested parties can apply to participate in the test on the project’s web site at http://www.theinvisiblecamera.com/fieldtest
Chris Marquardt is a photographer and host of several shows about photography. He is also known for building the large format Marquardt International Pinhole camera. His photo seminars and workshops have gained a large audience all around the world, and he regularly holds the world’s highest photo workshop in the Himalayas.
Spürsinn Unternehmensgesellschaft is one of Europe’s leading retailers, confectioners and makers of analog photography products, located in Braunschweig, Germany. With a constantly updated product portfolio, they cover everything from the well-known to the cutting edge of innovation.
The Max-Planck Institute is Germany’s most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 17 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide.
Go to the Invisible Camera to sign up as a field tester.