Engineers create 50 gigapixel camera … yes 50 gigapixels

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Even the 36-megapixel Nikon D800 has got nothing on this. Engineers from Duke University have created a prototype camera that can capture up to 50 gigapixels of data -- that's 50,000 megapixels.

The camera’s resolution is five times better than 20/20 human vision over a 120 degree horizontal field and is actually created by synchronizing 98 tiny cameras in a single device.

"Each one of the microcameras captures information from a specific area of the field of view," said researcher David Brady.

"A computer processor essentially stitches all this information into a single highly detailed image. In many instances, the camera can capture images of things that photographers cannot see themselves but can then detect when the image is viewed later."

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While the prototype is two-and-half feet square and 20 inches deep, only about three percent of the camera is made of the optical elements, while the rest is made of the electronics and processors.

Researchers said, this is the area where additional work to miniaturize the electronics and increase their processing ability will make the camera more practical for everyday photographers.

But they believe that within five years, as the electronic components of the cameras become miniaturized and more efficient, the next generation of gigapixel cameras should be available to the general public.