Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pelican Imaging Publishes Full Resolution Original Images

Pelican Imaging publishes its oncoming paper at SIGGRAPH Asia 2013, including many high resolution images straight out of their reference system:

PiCam: An Ultra-Thin High Performance Monolithic Camera Array
Kartik Venkataraman, Dan Lelescu, Jacques Duparré, Andrew McMahon, Gabriel Molina, Priyam Chatterjee, Robert Mullis, and Shree Nayar

The full resolution pictures on Pelican's site are 3264 x 2448 and over 30MB in size, too large to post here. A down-scaled version of 1000 x 750 and full resolution crop of one of the images are below:


There are many more original images on the Pelican site, including ones taken at 30-50lux/15fps and 5-10lux/7fps ones. It's quite rare that an image sensor manufacturer posts the official full-resolution samples, including ones shot in the difficult lighting conditions.

An official press release is expected tomorrow. Thanks to LG for giving me a heads-up!

Update: The official PR is published on PRNewswire now.

20 comments:

  1. nice that they share. the images are very soft for a 12 mpix CMOS area (16x1000x750). There are also quit some color artifacts probably caused by wrong registration. Why don't they show objects at 20 cm ? that would be interesting to see.

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  2. Looks like a very good paper, and glad to see Pelican presenting real data to their peer technical community. A giant step forward from silly promotional videos for sure, and the right way to get future investor buy-in.

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    1. I don't think they are looking for money but rather for customers who are probably hesitant given the cost/quality trade offs of this camera

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    2. Don't underestimate the need for constant funding of a start up in this area. How much did Foveon go thru? Besides that, the best strategy for getting a lot of money in a later round is to not only excite investors but also have the backing of the peer technical community. If some investor comes to me (or you) and asks about the technology and all I have to say is "I dunno" it is not good. Whereas if the community understands its pros and cons and that understanding is congruent with the company's message, it is one of the green lights required to enable moving forward.

      That said, using this technology in a smart phone is still an uphill sell. Besides the image quality cost, and energy cost of generating the image, real-time video capture and playback may be difficult. Maybe the 3D capture capability on a smaller scale would be good as a 3rd camera?

      Anyway, time will tell. Pelican has brought this technology to a high level. All they need now is an early adopter and decent early traction. Hope they have their alpha customer lined up!

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  3. why do they post 1/7 sec low light images? its 140 milliseconds !!!
    such exposure is useless outside a lab.
    The standards are 60-70 mili-secs for any amount of light.

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  4. There is blur and ringing artifacts around objects (e.g. around tea or altoid mints box in PiCamHRImgForFig14a.tif photo) when there is a depth change. I suppose this is due to occlusion or partial occlusion and missing info for super-resolution.

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    1. It's from bad registration, not occlusion. Having said that, it still looks impressive, but it still begs the question of why are we losing this many pixels in return for an SR image.

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    2. I think they should use 3x3 or 2x2 which will have the same advantages but with lower cost and much higher resolution.

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  5. Too big, too costly, too power hungry and only so so pictures....

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    1. And too POOR image quality...
      Figure 7 comparison with iPhone5 highlight the resolution limitation of this solution even if is based on a 12 Mpel array versus a 8Mpel "classical" solution.

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  6. Who needs megapixels. See this:
    http://www.lifeaftermegapixels.com

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  7. I agree, there is no need for more megapixels (except for zoom as Nokia is proposing in Lumia 1025). However, Image quality is key, and even if this array camera brings interesting features, the very low quality of the photos (blur, color artifacts, ...) is definitively killing this technology if Pelican is not able to improve image quality

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    1. I think Nokia has shown that 41 Mpixels is good for more than zoom. I do believe oversampling will be one of the characteristics of future image sensors. The word "pixel" becomes outdated when referring to the number samples taken by an image sensor. I think your comment about megapixels really refers to output image pixels, not necessarily the number of photosites on the sensor.

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  8. Why do you say the images look bad. I see them to be ok.

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  9. I also noticed that 8Mpel sample photo have very bad quality. For example, If you look at "PI_winter_tree.tif" photo in full resolution, there is a clear lack of sharpness, ringing effects,upper part of the trees are horrible and if you check on the right side of the trunk, you can see blue/purple artifacts!

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    1. Yes. I see your point. Also something here is very suspicious to me. The res chart shows 10 LPH which is very low but on the images we see fine details in a strange way though. Something doesn't add up here.

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  10. After examining on a laptop rather than a phone, the quality is very very poor. I have seen array with far better performance. I don't understand why they shared these development phase pics.

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  11. I predict Pelican will go out of business by 2014 when they are acquired by Nokia for pennies on the dollar...

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  12. Nokia? What is it? Isn't it those guys how use to make phones. I guess that pelican will be acquired for 0.5 usd by Microsoft or "blue screen technology" as I call them

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  13. Nokia retains the right to make devices including phones as part of the MSFT sale. Given that Nokia retained Pelican in the deal, it seems obvious that NOK will again make smartphones.

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