Friday, October 21, 2016

Entaniya's lens may enable very high image quality in a hemispherical 360 camera


Entaniya announced the Entaniya 250, a 250-degree fisheye lens for Micro Four Thirds sensors that may provide very high image quality for a hemispherical 360 camera.


Image quality depends on many factors, but one important factor is the size of the image sensor.  Larger sensors are able to collect more light and thus have a higher signal-to-noise ratio.

360-degree cameras often use sensors that are 1/2.3-inch or 1/3.2-inch.  The Indiecam Naked Eye, with a 2/3-inch sensor is already considered a large sensor (and indeed it is, relative to a 1/2.3 inch sensor).  However, Entaniya's lens is for a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which is gigantic even when compared to the Naked Eye sensor:

image from Wikipedia
If you look at the diagram, you can see that a Four Thirds sensor dwarfs even a 2/3-inch sensor.  (Note: Micro Four Thirds has the same size has a Four Thirds sensor).  Whereas the surface area of a 1/2.5 inch sensor is 25 mm² and a 2/3 inch sensor has 58.1 mm², an MFT sensor has 225 mm².


There are three variants of the Entaniya 250 for MFT.  The 3.0mm variant can fit a 250-degree circular fisheye image within the MFT sensor, thus making it possible to capture hemispherical 360 photos and videos.

diagram by Entaniya

A larger sensor brings many advantages such as higher bit depth, higher dynamic range, and less noise.  It will provide image quality much closer to what people are accustomed to expecting from a DSLR or an interchangeable-lens camera.  Here is a sample image from the 3.6mm variant.

The Entaniya 250 will be available by the end of 2016 for ¥388,000 JPY (approximately $3,735).

Thank you very much to Mike Cane for bringing this to my attention!