GigaPxl Project’s Gigapixel Camera

Some of you know of my interest in photography and a few of you know that I used to be a photographer who ran a photography store/portrait studio for a few years. Recently my interest in digital photography was amplified by the common availability of 6+ megapixel cameras for reasonable prices. That is the minimum size I believe necessary for any serious photography, though technically for true 8X10 print resolution you need 12 megapixels, but hey, it’s workable.

Well now I have stumbled across a site (The GigaPxl Project) that uses a GIGA pixel camera (actually 4 gigapixels – 88,000 X 44,000 pixels) and believe you me, the results are absolutely stunning. Now technically they are not shooting with a digital camera. They are shooting 9″X18″ film in a specially modified military reconnaissance camera that is then scanned at 100 pixels per millimeter giving us the final 4 gigapixel resolution image. So they are going from film to digital and then printing from the digital. The technology is truly remarkable and the results are something to behold.

The project decided to print their images in a 4’X8′ size (due to print and backing limitations) though they have assembled composites of 8’X16′, all of which maintain the same sharpness as you approach the print all the way down to your eye’s focusing depth. This is really cool stuff.

One of my favorite shots from their site was taken in Monument Valley in Arizona.

Monument Valley Gigapixel image

Below is a section of that print, which enlarges the upper left edge of the left mitten. Click here for the image on their site.

Monument Valley Gigapixel image closeup

Just to give you a better idea of the extreme resolution these images posses, here is a picture of the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, California.

Bixby Bridge Gigapixel image

Notice the pylon on the left side of the bridge, and then look at the top of the pylon where the railing intersects its cap. There is a boy sitting on the pylon. The picture below is an enlargement of 0.05% of the original image area. Unbelievable! Click here for the image on their site.

Bixby Bridge Gigapixel image close-up of boy on the pylon

Their technology and innovative process opens up a whole new venue for landscape and fixed location photography, producing images that go well beyond anything previously labeled as photographs and getting firmly into the area of fine art. I can image that when they begin to actually sell prints of their images, businesses, organizations, and people will be standing in line for one of their 4’X8′ prints. I can also see a series of commissions for specific images by businesses, municipalities and governments. Just image for a moment places like the Eiffel tower, the pyramids, Stonehenge, and other wondrous sites shot with this technology and thereby permanently preserving their images for posterity.

This is so cool!