Monday, January 9, 2017

CES 2017: Sample photos from Staro, the 136-megapixel 360 camera


Here are sample photos from the Staro, which is now the 360 camera with the highest photo resolution (136 megapixels).


Here is the link to their gallery.  Here are some observations:

1. Incredible detail.  The detail is very high, which seems to suggest that the 136 mp claim is true, as opposed to an interpolated resolution.
Here is one of the photos:

Here is a cropped portion of the photo:

2. Dynamic range.  In the sample shot of the Great Wall below, you can see that the camera was able to capture most of the highlight detail in the clouds, while also showing plenty of detail in the wall.  If this is a single shot and not an HDR composite, it seems to show that the Staro has amazing dynamic range.


3.  Excellent stitching.  The stitching looks very good.  I did not notice any obvious errors.  Besides having a very good stitching algorithm, this likely means the lenses are well synchronized.  On the other hand, it makes me think the stitching likely requires desktop software, and it's not in-camera as the rep told me.

4.  No chromatic aberration.  I did not notice any chromatic aberration or fringing in the samples.  I believe this is partly due to the fact that Staro has many lenses and therefore the images don't need to be stretched (stretching makes fringing more noticeable).

But the Staro appears to have some issues as well:

5. Glare.  Many of the shots look like they have a little glow or fogginess around strong light sources.  I believe this is from glare.  I don't know if that is an inherent issue with the lenses they used, or if their camera had dirty or scratched lenses.


6. Compression artifacts.  Some of the photos seem to show compression artifacts.  Here is one of the shots (BTW, note again the exceptional dynamic range - showing both the highlight detail in the distant building directly lit by sunlight and the shaded plaza area).

Here is a cropped portion:

You can see posterization in the water reflection, which could have been caused by high compression rates.  Given the target market of this $1500 camera, hopefully there is a way to capture images losslessly or at least with low compression, or better yet, in RAW format.

7.  Nadir.  The photos seem to have a conspicuous nadir.  The zenith of the photo has no blind spot, and there seems to be more than sufficient overlap between lenses for a fully spherical view, therefore I believe the nadir is from the removable pole/stand.  However, this makes me wonder if there is a way to capture a photo without the nadir.

How about you?  What do you think of the Staro's photos?

Thank you very much to Steve Swayne for bringing this to my attention!

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