Photography innovations that are worth looking out for

This Saturday coming is the 25th of April.

It might seem an insignificant date, but it will in fact mark eight months until Christmas rolls around once more. That is just under 250 days to get gifts sorted.

Major technology shows – such as SXSW and the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show – have already been and gone, having showcased fledging photography products that could very well hit the shops by the time the holiday season rolls around.

Here we take a look at some of the up-and-coming camera-based gadgets that could revolutionise the image-taking world we currently know.

4K from the air

Less than two weeks ago DJI revealed the latest versions of their ever-popular Phantom UAVs. One of them – the Phantom 3 Professional – has already turned heads thanks to its 4K-resolution camera. Not only that, the specially developed app turns your smartphone into a control pad (which sits nicely in the physical controller) and you can even live stream to YouTube. It also means you can maintain control of the drone from up to one mile away.

Unfortunately there is no mention of battery life, but could this be a future challenger to the point-and-shoot camera (or even built-in phone cameras?)

Who needs a battery?

It brings us on nicely to the ‘eternal’ camera. Okay, the results are not great at the moment, but this clever science-led gizmo could develop into something truly revolutionary.

Professor Shree Nayar, director of the computer vision laboratory at Columbia University in New York, realised that both digital cameras and solar panels use an almost-identical photodiode to handle light. And he soon developed a way to combine the two.

With the power-converting properties of a solar panel married to the picture-taking abilities of camera, Prof Nayar and his colleagues were even able to shoot a short film demonstrating their achievement.

What it all essentially means is cameras have the potential to be completely self-powered in the future. And for those of you who once had to grapple with digital cameras that only took AA batteries, this will be welcome relief!

Complete control

You take a great picture. At least, you think you do. Even in today’s world where achieving perfection simply means re-shooting, some moments can still be gone in the blink of an eye. An animal posing perfectly albeit briefly, a sportsperson in action or a particular cloud formation – once they are gone, they are gone.

And it just so happens your so-called “perfect picture” ends up out of focus. Instead of the clouds a small insect gets in the way and the auto-focus shifts, or another sportsperson interrupts the shot of your desired subject.

Fortunately you may no longer have to worry about that. Intel has revealed its RealSense sensor, which is small and thin enough to fit into a six-inch smartphone.

The depth perception of the sensor means when a picture is taken, lots of different and complicated information is stored. And that can be tapped into for a variety of reasons. These can include instantly changing colours in certain parts of the image or creating a ‘3D model’ from an image.

These three pieces of kit are really just the beginning of a newer photography revolution, as different uses require standalone products (rather than the all-in-one solutions we have become used to in other parts of our lives). They cover quality, portability and creativity, and all look set to be fairly affordable.

Whether we are lucky enough to see them in commercial action come Christmas this year remains to be seen. But if you are already fed up with an underwhelming camera phone or restrictive and cheap digital cameras, you might not have to wait much longer for an alternative.

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