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If run-of-the-mill digital photography simply isn’t a fulfilling enough image capture endeavor for you these days, it might be time to take a closer look at the emerging computational photography category. Some major breakthroughs in both the sensor and optics markets have taken this category to new heights recently and the general feeling within imaging circles is that we’ve barely scraped the surface in this space.

Computational photography refers broadly to computational imaging techniques that enhance or extend the capabilities of a digital photography. In other words, the fun begins after you’ve captured the image and we’re not talking about hours of image editing work, but instead, in many instances, one-click, in-camera maneuvers that can lift your imaging skills to new levels – think Digital Cameras 2.0.

ibi Image

The most notable example of this has been the Lytro camera that allows you to refocus images after you’ve captured them. Check out this link for a great sample of how that tech works . While that tiny camera made a big splash a couple of years ago, computational photography has simply continued to burst through the consumer imaging door ever since.

The GoPro of Panorama Cams

vsn-mobil_v360

A company called VSN Mobil recently debuted an intriguing little camera that appears to be jumping into the current panorama craze that is happening in photography. The V.360° essentially uses a 16-megapixel backside-illuminated image sensor and a lens surrounded with mirrors that enables it to capture a single 360-degree shot. The device also records 360-degree video and comes, like the GoPro camera, with a multitude of accessory attachments enabling it to be placed/attached just about anywhere.

The V.360° also connects to Android and iOS smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth for camera controls, and Wi-Fi for transferring stills and videos from the camera to the mobile device of your choice. They apparently haven’t left a stone unturned. The free app lets users manipulate the 360-degree video or image to see every available angle or lay the perspective flat for a panorama that requires no stitching to complete…very cool indeed.

Toss in waterproof, up to about a depth of 3 feet and shock, vibration and dust resistant and a built-in GPS sensor for geo-tagging images and you’ve got a pretty slick little, take-anywhere action cam for $349.

Pano-Mania Continues

Tamaggo

There’s also the Tamaggo’s 360-imager, dubbed “ibi”, a standalone fisheye model that can capture 360-degree panoramic images with a 14MP sensor and 11-component lens. The camera actually allows for the capture of images in two modes – the user can hold it vertically for 360-degree shots or horizontally to capture wide-angle panoramas. The sample images we’ve eyed were engaging (http://www.tamaggo.com/en/gallery) and the site offers a much deeper look at what the tech is truly capable of.

Time-Lapse Made Easy

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While always a very cool effect, the work involved in creating time-lapse images was always simply too much to deal with. Now a company called Brinno has greatly simplified the process with their Brinno TLC 200 camera that automatically generates time-lapse movies based on your frames-per-second, resolution and time-interval settings — no editing required.

The camera can shoot up to 24-hours and includes a 2-gigabyte SD card. For $199 a fun, creative imaging outlet that even allows for the addition of a wide-angle lens.

As you can see, lots happening within this category including a camera that can spot a culprit by peeking around corners, another that might divulge the identity of an attacker by collecting information reflected in a victim’s eyes, and a few others that can turn anyone with a camera into an amazingly creative photographer.

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