Thursday, January 29, 2009

"New Panasonic cameras come with facial recognition feature"

Another story from Japan Today, today:

Panasonic Corp said Wednesday that from February it will market four compact digital cameras capable of registering facial data in advance so that the cameras will automatically focus on specific people. With the function, users can take pictures of their relatives and friends in group photos more easily and can also input the names and ages of their children to record the process of their growth, the electronics giant said.

Read the whole story:

Such technology might be useful not only for focusing on specific people being photographed in public but for filtering out other people whose privacy we don't want to infringe upon.


Anonymous said...

It's a compact camera with a small sensor and therefore a relatively large depth of field unless your subject is very close to the camera. For example, if I point and focus a compact camera to a person standing 2 meters away from me, everything from approximately 1 to 11 meters will be in focus. If I focus 3 meters away, everything from about 1.5 meters to infinity will be in focus. In what scenario will this camera actually help you focus and a normal camera fail? It's pretty much impossible to focus on a group of people and miss the focus on someone. Barring macrophotography, getting focus on a subject simply isn't an issue for compact cameras. So apart from the possibility to add metadata to the images, I fail to see the usefulness of this technology.

I don't see how the filtering you suggest would work. By automatically adding black bars over unrecognised people's faces in-camera? Technologically feasible but I just don't see any camera company rushing to add that feature to their products.

visual gonthros said...

I'm not endorsing the product (or any product on VAOJ for that matter), I am merely responding to the claims they make in their advertisement. I posit that if the camera allows you to focus in on a specific person, others in the frame would be out of focus and potentially "filtered out" of the shot. I realize that this might not necessarily be realistic; my comment is in the context of trying to photograph in public while at the same time protect people's privacy... which might not be so realistic either. Is my sarcasm not showing through? But I do appreciate the technological commentary and how it adds to the blog.