NASA's Curiosity rover sends back first color images from Mars
NASA's Curiosity rover vehicle, that landed on Mars on August 6th, has sent back its first color images of the planet's dusty yellow/orange landscape. The image was taken with the camera on the rover's still retracted robotic arm, from behind the dust shield designed to protect the camera. The dust shield will be removed, promising better images, once the dust kicked-up by its landing has settled. This camera, known as MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager), is primarily intended for examining close-up items. Still better images should come once the two Mastcams start sending back images.
All three cameras are built around Kodak KAI-2020CM sensors - 2MP CCD chips very similar in size to the 1" type sensors used in Nikon's 1 System and Sony's DSC-RX100. These 11.8 x 8.9mm sensors are now made by Truesense Imaging - the company spun-out of Kodak in 2011. The All three are equipped with standard Bayer filters, allowing them to capture color images in a single shot.
|The KAI-2020 sensors used by the rover's main cameras, now made by Truesense Imaging|
The MAHLI camera has a 21.3mm (60mm equiv.) lens, though its effective field-of-view narrows to nearer 70mm equiv, F9.8 when working at its closest focus distance of 25mm. To allow working at such close range, the unit is equipped with two white LEDs and two ultraviolet LEDs, to allow it to test for fluorescence. The filters on MAHLI mean that, much like a conventional camera, it is only sensitive to visible light (in this instance, a 380–680nm range). MAHLI is designed to focus-stack images shot at different focus points, to maximise depth-of-field.
|An artist's impression of the Curiosity rover, showing the rough positions of the three primary imaging cameras.|
The two Mastcams, built onto the rover's main mast, are much more sophisticated units. Although based around the same sensors, these have no IR filter, so are sensitive across the visible and near-infrared region of the spectrum. The cameras each include 9 filters that can be swapped in and out, to allow them to assess very specific colors and include 'clear' IR filters, to allow them to take full-color images.
|The Mastcams feature the same underlying design, including a Filter Wheel containing nine filters that can be slotted into place to measure different light frequencies in the scene.|
The two cameras differ in terms of the prime lens they're fitted with. Lens distortions mean their images are likely to be 1200 x 1200 pixels taken from the middle of each frame. Mastcam 34 features a 115mm equivalent F8 lens, while the Mastcam 100 uses a 343mm equivalent F11 lens. In addition to thier specific color filters, each has a more dense color filter to allow images to be shot while pointing towards the sun.
|A test image shot from Malin Space Science System's cleanroom, showing the full 1648 x 1200 pixel output of the Mastcam 34. Only the central 1200 x 1200 region of the image would be used.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
Both cameras are able to capture 720p video at around 7 frames per second, and the Mastcam 34 can be used to shoot 360 degree panoramas of the rover's current position (taking 150 images over a 25 minute period as the remote mast is rotated). The operating team says it might use the rover's movement to create cinematic tracking shots of the Martian landscape.
Each camera features 8GB of storage and can broadcast thumbnail images, so that time isn't spent transmitting every image at full resolution, back from the surface of Mars. To ensure images don't all come back with a yellow/orange tinge, Curiosity features color calibration and white-balance targets that the cameras can be pointed at.
|The calibration target used by MAHLI, including a 1909 Lincoln penny and color targets, including a fluorescent pigment that glows red under UV light.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
It had been hoped that zoom lenses would be used for the Mastcams, but minor precision failures meant they weren't ready in time for the mission's launch. Malin Space Science Systems, the San Diego, California company that developed all the rover's cameras, has said it will continue to work on the lenses for future projects.
Aug 7, 2015
Aug 3, 2015
Jul 30, 2015
Jul 27, 2015
|Douaumont Ossuary by Eric 54-BNF|
from Armistice Day
|Silhouette at sunset by Jill Hancock|
from Portrait Lens (around 80mm or equivalent - please check the full rules)
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: The Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Drum roll please... the #6 spot belongs to none other than the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art.
Read the story behind this gorgeous wedding photo captured at Trolltunga in Norway by husband and wife duo Priscila Valentina Photography. The 14 hour hike in the rain that preceded this shot was TOTALLY worth it.
Go behind the scenes with filmmaker Nick Arcivos, who recently created a beautiful cinematic short film in Paris using only the iPhone X, a couple of gimbals, and a few lights. The results are very impressive.
A Bay Area startup offering a pay-by-the-photo camera service cleverly addresses the pain points photographers experience when they pick up their first DSLR. But can it survive the smartphone?
It's been a big year for software innovations, dual cameras and huge displays. Take a look at our picks for the top smartphone cameras and why we think they stand out.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #7 spot is the ready-for-any-weather Olympus Tough TG-5.
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'