Consider this: your new-ish digital camera shoots images containing roughly 10 megapixels. That’s old news. All of the cool people are shooting images with 100 times as much resolution. Images with 1,000 megapixels!
Of course, these images are huge. Too large to print. But not too large to view on the web it’s difficult to take in the stunning clarity of the whole image, but it is fun to pick any part of the gigantic image and appreciate the clarity.
There are digital gigapixel panoramas, and digital gigapixel macro (close-up) images. But before you even consider making one yourself, you need to develop a plan and a process. think
in terms of shooting a series of panoramic images where the top, left, bottom and right sides must be perfected aligned with the image above, below and to each side. It can be done, but most tripod heads are not designed with this precision requirement. To do the job in the best possible way, take a look at the GigaPan EPIC Pro, a programmable mount.
If you’re interested in learning more, one very good source is the spring 2012 issue of a terrific new international photography magazine called c’t Digital Photography. Click here for access for past issues.
UPDATE: A team at Duke University posted a letter to Nature magazine. In a story published by DPReview, a theoretical design exists for a 960 megapixel camera that’s small enough to be used in the field. As they’ve imagined the new AWARE-2 camera, their work led to a design that arranges a series of cameras in a hemispherical arrangement, pointing at a single, spherical lens that the team have dubbed the ‘gigagon.’ The use of a single lens avoids the cost and complexity of having specialist optics on each sub-camera, while the curved design scales more easily than a flat array of cameras. The team believes this approach would continue to work for up to 50GP cameras.