Physicist Graham Flint is working on an ultra-high-resolution portrait of America, creating a series of truly enormous gigapixel images taken with a camera made up of decommissioned Cold War hardware and Wired has discovered him (link below).
Created from bits and bobs salvaged from parts of spy planes and nuclear reactors, the camera is capable of capturing an astonishing 4 gigapixels of detail.
Weighing in at a back-breaking 45kg, the metal boxed camera uses huge 9-inch-by-18-inch film plates – the same format used by military spy planes like the U-2.
The rolls of Kodak film cost $1,200 a pop with the ultra-high-resolution film yielding 4,000 pixels per inch. It sounds expensive, but it works out cheaper than 35mm on a square-inch basis. Flint cuts the film himself and loads it onto the camera magazines.
You couldn’t pick up lenses for such a beast of a camera from your local Snaps’r’Us photo store, so Flint called in the services of an old specialist he knew from his defence contracting days.
It’s not a camera for point and shooters either, with Flint having to measure the distance to every major object in the field of view with a laser range finder and then working on a set of algorithms to calculate lens adjustments.
The images are then scanned with a Leica Geosystems scanner, a special scanner used in geoscience surveys and by NASA for space imaging.
But the proof is in the pudding, and we suggest you check out the incredible example shots in this gallery
Looking at the pictures, in particular the San Diego Night Skyline that reveals the inside of a hotel room on the 15th floor, could make you slightly paranoid – especially as the kit used to achieve it is circa the Cold War. With that being a century away in technology terms – what’s the current kit capable?
The site shows a series of photographs zooming in with increasing detail on to a scene of a paraglider floating over a San Diego beach.
As more and more detail is revealed from this amazing camera, you can finally spot a set of pervs with binoculars on a hill, panting over the naked sunbathers below.