Ok, don’t panic. I can hear all of my photographer friends out there slamming their computers, tablets and phones shut. It can’t be happening: photography evolving into something that uses math, algorithms and logic to deliver the “decisive moment”? Say it ain’t so! Oh, but it is, and I think we will be better off for it. At least I hope we will.
I’ve been hearing and reading quite a bit about this thing called computational photography. It is such a new field that what’s in and what’s out, or even the language with which it is communicated, is not yet well defined. But it can be applied to any form of optical capture, whether in the science lab or in the artist’s studio.
Just as digital photography revolutionized the medium by converting light into numbers through sensors and processors, computational photography manipulates those numbers “in camera” through layers of new software, providing the photographer with new options, like correcting capture problems after the fact or applying a wide variety of creative effects.
It’s actually been around in the engineering and computer science universe for more than a decade, but practically speaking, is now having a huge impact in pro and consumer photography, particularly in the latest smartphones. Continue reading