SATOH Hirotaka Architects
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LUMIX DMC-TZ series


2008.02.23

 In the world of cameras, digital is closer to the body than analog.


 A film camera captures an image by chemically reacting a substance applied to a film according to the amount of light.Starting with black-and-white photography that records only the intensity of light, color photography has emerged as it has become possible to record the intensity of RGB light.
 Digital cameras use a sensor called CCD to capture images.This sensor converts the intensity of RGB light into an electrical signal.The number of these sensors is called a pixel, and the larger the number, the better the resolution of the image.
 On the other hand, in the structure of the human eye, the optic nerve cells that regularly line up in the retina convert the projected light into an electrical signal.The information is transmitted to the brain, and various processes such as white balance adjustment, distortion correction, and noise reduction are performed.The process is very close to a digital camera. The cells of the CCD are optic nerve cells (cells), and the brain that performs image processing can be said to be an integrated circuit.
 Therefore, the transition from film to digital is a more physical change.In that sense, the advent of digital cameras should have been revolutionary.



 However, this is not the case in reality, and digital cameras will evolve with the single-lens reflex, which is an extension of the film camera, at the top.


 In the first place, film cameras must perform various image processing optically with a lens.Therefore, a complicated lens design is required, resulting in a large aperture and a large size.In addition, the SLR has a mirror between the lens and the CCD, which creates a distance and reduces the degree of freedom in lens design.This structure is particularly unsuitable for wide-angle lenses that are often used in architectural photography.Furthermore, since the lens is interchangeable, it is not possible to correct the image according to the lens characteristics.As a result, we cannot rely on image processing, which is a benefit of digitalization, but we have to rely on conventional lens performance.


 For that reason, I haven't introduced digital cameras so far.However, in reality, there are cameras that make us feel the direction of new evolution. This is Panasonic's "DMC-TZ" series.


 The "DMC-TZ" series is a compact digital camera equipped with a high-magnification zoom.If a high-magnification zoom lens from a wide angle is installed, a considerable amount of distortion will naturally occur.However, this camera has almost no distortion from the wide-angle end to the entire zoom range.It is not difficult to imagine that the correction is made so that there is no aberration perfectly.Other companies also have products that correct the distortion of recorded images.However, the "TZ" series is the only digital camera that corrects distortion from the preview screen.Especially when it comes to distortion, the "TZ3" is almost perfect and is the best in the series.
 Correction that relies solely on software will reduce the resolution, but the TZ series seems to use the peripheral pixels by intentionally reducing the effective pixels to correct the distortion without reducing the resolution.The "LUMIX FX1070", which actually has the same 35 million pixel CCD, has 1010 million effective pixels, but the "TZ5" has only 910 million pixels, which is a luxury specification in a sense.
 As a result of such technology, correction processing is performed in real time from the preview screen.The big advantage of being in real time is video.At present, there is no other equipment that can easily shoot wide-angle movies with such little distortion in high definition.
 The original idea of ​​the "TZ series" is an innovative idea that is not common sense in digital cameras.The image correction and the lens complement each other, and it makes me feel that the possibility of realizing a high-performance, wide-angle, compact camera has finally expanded.


 In the future, the direction of digital camera evolution will be toward higher image quality, wider angle, and compactness by supplementing aberrations of color and distortion and reduction of peripheral illumination with image processing and increasing the degree of freedom in lens design.In such an era, the balance between image processing and the lens will be more competitive than the lens performance.And the main battlefield will move from single-lens reflex cameras to a market suitable for digital.

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