Four-Gigapixel Photos Shot on 9x18" Film!!

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by kbreak, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. Physicist Graham Flint is working on an ultra-high-resolution portrait
    of America -- a series of gigantic, gigapixel images taken with a
    custom camera made from bits and pieces of decommissioned Cold War

    Armed with a self-designed camera he crafted from parts of spy planes
    and nuclear reactors, Flint is crisscrossing America, taking thousands
    of pictures of cities, monuments and national parks.

    Weighing more than 100 pounds, Flint's camera captures images at 4
    gigapixels -- a resolution high enough to photograph four football
    fields and capture every single blade of grass. When printed at
    maximum resolution, the images are as big as billboards, but render
    the finest detail.

    A photograph of a San Diego beach shows a paraglider swooping over
    bluffs. Zoom in on some tiny dots on the cliff, and a group of people
    with binoculars and telephoto lenses can be seen. Follow their gaze,
    and you'll see nude sunbathers on the beach.,1282,66498,00.html

    See this couple? They're sitting on the bench in the middle distance
    on the left. Actually they're dots.
  2. Nice that he has done some good technical trickery. Now... are the photos any good?
  3. nope.<BR><BR>

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  4. When shooting a citycape photo, rise or fall of lens standard is importent to control perspective. With this special camera, I could not see any mechanism to do this job.

    When I gave up shooting with my Leica and Hasselblad, one reason is I don't want to see a building in my picture not vertically standing 90 degree on the gound. Therefore, I use large format camera which can control perspective.
  5. Peter...I not sure what you say is completly true re perspective control on the 4 Gig camera. If you look at one of the photo's showing the camera you can see two dial indicators. One may indicate tilt the other swing. But you may be correct about rise. Interesting camera nonetheless.
  6. Gee, I wonder what those photographers with 20x24" ULF cameras have been doing wrong? 4 gigs, you say? I suppose I should be impressed, but I can't seem to get inspired by his work.
    I remember a quote that has been attributed to Ansel Adams that went something like "There is nothing worse than a sharp picture of a fuzzy concept." I guess this is the proof.
    I keep asking myself: Why??
  7. If I scan a 10x8 sheet of Provia at 2400dpi I regularly end up with files over 1GB in size, so I don't see what's so special about this. My camera has movements as well!
  8. 9"x18" ! 9"x 18" !

    What a brilliantly simple insight.

    Those 11"x14", 8"x20" and other format folks have been on the wrong track for 120 years. How stupid of them...

  9. Mani, if you read the story -- not new, by the way -- you'll find, I think, that the camera is built around a 9" x 18" vacuum back from an aerial camera. That's why the rarely used, at least on cameras that don't fly, aspect ratio.
  10. I have seen alot of photographer spend so much time tinkering with cameras and all worried about a special number of megapixels in there images or some crap, or that you can zoom in on the image and it be sharp. Well, in result, I feel they loose their original vision as a photographer and end up taking pictures that really dont say anything. Sure his images are sharp, but I think he is putting too much effort in using some funky camera, and his images lack because of that.
  11. Hi,

    let's not be negative or sarcastic, the issue is not art but documentation of today's world, therefore let us be more generous about this project.

    Best regards

    Joerg Krusche
  12. While the concpet of using LF cameras, with good film and lenses is not new, I think this guy just got the press involved.

    I wonder if some other people can get their negatives scanned and posted as well.

    Even my advisor asked me to build/get one of these super gigapixel cameras. I took him to the camera shop, showed him an old 8x10 and I just had a good LOL when he saw the size/inconvenience of the system.
  13. I don't know about the rest of you, but I like large format images. I like IMAX movies. I like to bury my nose in the contact prints from 20x24 negatives shot by William Henry Jackson. I've always been intrigued by those scenes in police dramas where a technician takes an ordinary photograph and blows up a section so that they can read the serial number on a man's watch. I always knew it was fantasy, but I always liked the idea of being able to look closer. Mr. Flint has given us a tool that will enable this vision. I know that his technique is not new. The same techniques have been applied to aerial images for years. Let's give him credit for a good piece of engineering. Now the challenge (similar to IMAX movies) is to exploit this tool for artistic effect.
  14. to tell the truth, i am a bit of a tech dork too and i get a kick out of this story, but
    man, i'm wondering how he's going to store thousands of those photographs.
    I hope he's sponsored by Seagate or something.
  15. The article makes it sound like he's burning them to DVD.
  16. 'A good piece of engineering' for 'artistic effect'?

    One may also figure out how to use a $10 'point & shoot' camera to get artistic effect. The common features of this gigapixel camera and a $10 camera are looking through a view finder and then fire the shutter. Difference between them is flm size only.

    But remeber Cirkut camera. Film may be 10"x60" long. This film could be scanned into several sections by a drum scanner and then the images are combined by software to get the original length and then be printed. So if this camera called Gigapixel camera, how we call a Cirkut camera? 4 gigapixel or 12 gigapixel camera? Cirkut camera is not weighted 100 pounds. Lens could be changed. Some camera movements are available.

    Or just settle with 8x20 camera. Buy a roll of 9.5" aerial film from Kodak or Agfa and cut it to 8"x20" size and then insert in 8x20 film holder. Now, you have a gigapixel camera but yours is with changeable lenses and camera movement to achieve 'artistic effect'.

    For me, the good things of large format camera are camera movement AND (not or) film size.
  17. Anyway, a credit to this physicist because he confirmed that aerial films could be shoot at sea level with good result.
  18. Anyway, a credit to this physicist because he confirmed that aerial films could be shoot at sea level with good result.
    Indeed. A serious issue that has dogged mankind for decades.
  19. What is impressive to me, when you follow the links to their web site, is the engineering achievements:
    1. Custom designed extreme wideangle lens, with what looks like a significant break-through on off-axis sharpness, using a "zero magnification" element. (Chunk of flat glass.) Net result is a lens that throws an image about as good as a fine 35mm or medium format lens over a whole 9x18 inch frame.
    2. They finess the whole issue of aperture by eliminating through-the-lens focussing. They measure distance with lasers and calculate and set focus mechanically to a fine degree. This means they design the lens to one optimum aperture based on depth of field requirements.
    3. Use of a high-powered rifle sight to predict effects of wind on sharpness.
    The net result of all of this engineering is remarkably sharp image. The photos themselves are not necessarily great art, a little post-cardey, but the engineering achievement is impressive. A lot of space on these forums is spent on the holy grail of the perfectly sharp lens/camera/flim-or-sensor combo, and these people seem to have come pretty close to it.

    (That is not to say the comments on aesthetic quality in this thread are misplaced.)
  20. The bokeh, what about the bokeh?????
  21. After reading the articles, I am still left scratching my head as to WHY everybody is going gaga over this thing.

    Seems that the only "Cool!" factor here is that he's got a nifty 4GP SCANNER!

    The camera has a negative that is 9"x18" and lens to cover the area. Not so unusual when you consider that 20"X 24" lenses also exist as does the film. (with more movements on the camera bodies)

    But is seems that everybody (in the article at least) is falling all over themselves for the "4GP" thing.

    The only way he got the 4GP was because he scanned it at that res.

    What is the res of a 20x24 negative? Probably more than 4gp. So if we use that thought all we have to do is to scan a 20x24 negative at it full res and we have what a 6GP or 7GP image?

    Seems that the only Cool! factor here is that he's got a 4GP scanner.
  22. Making some numbers... 9X18 film means a 228.6x457.20 mm image

    If the film allows 100 lines/mm (round figure) then you have roughly (228x457x100^2) or 1 Gigapixel. So the film would have to allow 200 lines/mm to achieve the 4Gpix. Is that possible?

    I don;t know if scanning at any higher resolution than the film's lines/mm will make anydifference from here on though.

    From that reasoning a 20X24 negative will hold 3Gpix, and a Cikut (10x60) 3.8 Gp (or 4 times more if film can do 200l/mm)
  23. 1 line = 1 pixel
    1 line pair = 2 pixels

    A black line is a line. A white line is a line also. So a line pair is a black line and a white line... A pixel is equivalent to a line (at the Nyquist frequency) so 2 pixels is a line pair...

    But, line per mm is written lpmm and line pair per mm is written lp/mm so quite often no one knows which one one is talking about.

    I for one can't ever remember if film has a resolution of 100 lpmm or 100 lp/mm (the first one is 100 pixels/mm the second 200 pixels/mm).

    Remembers me when I had to mix Kodak E-6 chemicals. The instructions said 'pour this into a container and add water up to one gallon'. I wanted 300 ml or something for my Jobo. I had only metric beakers, while the quantities on the bottle were in pints (but I think one of them was in fluid ounces though, can't remember). It was fun.
  24. I can see being impressed if you saw the pictures blown up big, with that detail in them.

    As to why this is any different from any other viewcamera...apparently, sharper lenses, maybe better film?

    Anyway, the 4-gigapixel part isn't impressive. I'd be a lot more impressed if he had a 40Kb jpeg that he could blow up to 5'x5' and still be sharp.
  25. I cant think that the film is better. It was made for the war effort years ago. Any he has left is probably NewOldStock.

    Lenses - Custom made. Is that better than what a tradional company who has years of experience making hight quality large format lenses could produce? Dont know.

    What I think is going on here is that he is real good at selling a 4GP thought when the world is focused on 6-12mp thoughts.
  26. Agfa and Kodak make aerial film, and apparently they have updated their emulsions. They are not selling you old film, and they are not selling you emulsion technology from 20 years ago.
  27. I tried to find the tech sheets for those new aerial films, anybody had luck?
  29. Thanks!
    200-400 lp/mm WOW!
  30. Pablo, I followed the links but didn't find "200-400 lp/mm". Where did you get the numbers?


  31. in the pdfs for aerial films, specially the BW are supposed to have that much resolution
    Aerographic film MX 2407 160 - 250 lp/mm
    Panatomic-X 2412 400 lp/mm
  32. "Lenses - Custom made. Is that better than what a tradional company who has years of experience making hight quality large format lenses could produce? Dont know."
    If you read the info at the website you'll see that it is by an appreciable factor. They considered off-the-shelf commercially available lenses and found them wanting because of the fairly hi-res film they were using. They spent something like a year on just the ultra-wide angle lens design (about the equivalent of a 65mm on a 4x5). I thought that was pretty impressive - as was the shot of the climbers stuck like flies on the upper part of El Capitan.
  33. I wish *I* had a camera like that - I could shoot pictures more aestheically pleasing
    *and* get the sharpness I want.

    I don't think we can underestimate sharpness, especially in landscapes - after all,
    Ansel Adams did not shoot 35 mm, now did he.

    Still, I think FOUR Gigapixels is overkill. I'd be satisfied with 0.5 to 1 Gigapixels. (I
    already get something like 200 megapixels from my 4x5 Velvia 50 slides.)
  34. Hi Guys,

    If you would like see the full image of about the same resolution on the web you can take a look at a project that I just completed Now I know that this is not a large format film project precisely and you are all large format film guys but if you are interested in seeing more detail in an image you will probably enjoy this. Our hero shot was taken from the diving board in Yosemite, very near the spot that Ansel Adams shot "Monolith, Face of Half Dome" we timed the shot so it was half in shadow as it was when Ansel shot it but we also captured the rest of the valley. The final resolution of the image is 3.8 gigapixels and I split the image into 100,000 256x256 jpgs and delivered it via a google maps hack. This might be a method to show large format photographs on the web as well. I hope you like it!

    -Greg Downing

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