The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

Started Apr 23, 2010 | Discussions
chillgreg
chillgreg Senior Member • Posts: 1,248
The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!
2

I was interested in how the human eye compares to digital imaging and so far have found and compiled this table from the sources listed at bottom:

Human Eye Specifications (typical):

  • Sensor (Retina) : 22mm diameter x 0.5mm thick (section); 10 layers

  • Resolution : 576MP equiv.

  • Visual Acuity : ~ 74 MP (Megapixels) (printed) to show detail at the limits of human visual acuity

  • ISO : 1 - 800 equivalent

  • Data Rate : 500,000 bits per second without colour or around 600,000 bits per second including colour.

  • Lens : 2 lenses - 16mm & 24mm diameter

  • Dynamic Range - Static : contrast ratio of around 100:1 (about 6 1/2 f-stops) (4 seconds)

  • Dynamic Range - Dynamic : contrast ratio of about 1,000,000:1 (about 20 f-stops) (30 minutes)

  • Focal Length : ~ 3.2mm - (~ 22mm 35mm equiv)

  • Aperture : f2.1 - f8.3 (f3.5 dark-adapted is claimed by the astronomical community)

  • FOV Field of View : 95° Out, 75° Down, 60° In, 60° Up

  • Color Space - 3D (non-linear) RGB

  • Color Sensitivity : 10,000,000 (ten million)

  • Color Range : 380 to 740 nm

  • White Balance : Automatic (constant perceived color under different lighting)

  • Refresh Rate : foveal vision (high-quality telescopic) - 3-4fps; peripheral vision (very inaccurate) - up to 90fps

Obviously compiling this creates some very big assumptions - many of these are interrelated to the brain's processing of the eye's signals. I am sure that while the above statistics are factual, presenting them as a direct apples-for-apples correlation to common camera specifications is probably fraught with inconsistencies. So bear in mind that I did this just for fun!

Enjoy
Greg

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_eye
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_vision#Theories_of_color_vision
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_perception
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retina
http://photo.net/photo/edscott/vis00010.htm
http://photo.net/photo/edscott/vis00020.htm
http://www.siliconimaging.com/ARTICLES/CMOS%20PRIMER.htm
http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/eye-resolution.html

1. posterior chamber 2. ora serrata 3. ciliary muscle 4. ciliary zonules 5. canal of Schlemm 6. pupil 7. anterior chamber 8. cornea 9. iris 10. lens cortex 11. lens nucleus 12. ciliary process 13. conjunctiva 14. inferior oblique muscle 15. inferior rectus muscle 16. medial rectus muscle 17. retinal arteries and veins 18. optic disc 19. dura mater 20. central retinal artery 21. central retinal vein 22. optic nerve 23. vorticose vein 24. bulbar sheath 25. macula 26. fovea 27. sclera 28. choroid 29. superior rectus muscle 30. retina

NB. Images are Public Domain

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 19,115
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

chillgreg wrote:

Obviously compiling this creates some very big assumptions - many of these are interrelated to the brain's processing of the eye's signals. I am sure that while the above statistics are factual, presenting them as a direct apples-for-apples correlation to common camera specifications is probably fraught with inconsistencies. So bear in mind that I did this just for fun!
Greg

Hi Greg, it's always interesting to see those figures listed like that as a direct comparison to the camera setup...but, as you rightly say...those base numbers that present...in no way represent the actual perceptual data flow once it enters the visual cortex (via the 2 billion pathways) and is actually processed within the human sensory experience.

Human vision actually utilizes almost 85% of the human brain...it is by far our most dominant sense...in essense our sensory gateway to the universe.

Not only does each eye technically have a 576MP sensor...it also (via normal retinal correspondence) amalgamates that ability from both eyes into 'a single' perceptual awareness within the cortex...and then adds another 4 sensory stimuli to the result in order to form the overall end product.

Vision also represents the focal point of our human consciousness...something that a camera will never ever begin to emulate...even if it one day did have a Million MP sensor...because in reality the human visual experience only has ONE pixel, ie: the total sum of all imput data that equals the complete entity.

Cheers,

KEV

chillgreg
OP chillgreg Senior Member • Posts: 1,248
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

Thanks for your illustrative reply Kev, I was hoping for some interesting discussion on this.

Seeing (pun intended) that all we seem to do all day is talk about cameras...

Someone made the point recently, that if our eyes are the most important interface with the camera, then why have nearly all viewfinders in just about every camera (except ff) in existence either shrunk, lowered in quality, or disappeared completely?

Remember the last days of the 35mm film compacts? They were super-advanced for the time, had HUGE optical viewfinders, and weren't much bigger than an LX3. I don't remember people complaining about their size either...

Which begs the question: when did camera manufacturers collectively decide than fitting a camera into a small pocket on one's clothing should be the major functional aspect of a camera's design schema???

Greg

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 19,115
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

I'm also always amazed that regular viewfinders are so damn crappy.

You'd think they would design state of the art viewfinders on all high-end cameras today so we can actually SEE the subject incredibly well and crystal clear without having to squint like a constipated beaver with a bad case of hemmies!!!

Why can't Nikon, et al get their act together on that?

KEV

Gesture Veteran Member • Posts: 7,027
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

Thanks for posting. Should bring some interesting responses. The one thing that comes out at me is that ISO equivalence. 800 seems low. I would also note that given how sophisticated modern lens design is, that ophthalmologists and opticians still rely on simple spherical and cylindrical lenses for eyeglasses?

(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 19,115
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

WE can't really think of the human visual system in terms like this anyways...coz, it's not like a still camera with one complete take...it's a tracking/scanning data stream...which is far more similar to a video feed. The fovial point is far less than 576 MP in itself...and that FP has to scan a large area to send the data onward to the cortex to construct the entire visual picture frame.

Altho the source data (file) is collected by millions of cones & rods independently within the retina...the end product isn't pixel-like...in that it is only ONE complete sensory awareness or experience....therefore there is transformation from a pixel-like gathering existance onto a complete singular entity along the neural-network information highway.

This is the main reason why capturing a truly awe inspiring landscape photograph (for example) is really difficult...because when we are standing on that cliff overlooking the ocean WE are experiencing the total sum of all 5 senses that make up the whole with a video stream of 3D visual data...and then we have to try and capture that with only a wimpy single sensory 2D still image.

No wonder we have to be very creative, in order to make up for all the incoming data that just isn't present.

KEV

dirksdi New Member • Posts: 15
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

The retina contains about 100 million light sensitive nerve cells (rods and cones). This doesn't translate into 576 MP. They are more dense close to the fovea (which regularely leads to wrong calculations of the overall resolution). The actual resoultion is even much less as there are only 1.5 million nerve fibres (some pre-processing occurs in the retina).

Best regards,

Dieter

chillgreg
OP chillgreg Senior Member • Posts: 1,248
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

dirksdi wrote:

The retina contains about 100 million light sensitive nerve cells (rods and cones). This doesn't translate into 576 MP. They are more dense close to the fovea (which regularely leads to wrong calculations of the overall resolution). The actual resoultion is even much less as there are only 1.5 million nerve fibres (some pre-processing occurs in the retina).

Best regards,

Dieter

http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/eye-resolution.html

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dirksdi New Member • Posts: 15
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

That's what I mean with wrong calculation. The high resolution values from the articles cited on Mr. Clarks website are valid only for a small (solid) angle of view and cannot be extrapolated to the whole field of view.

wmsson Senior Member • Posts: 1,353
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

Quite an interesting post. I notice you didn't mention anything about the amazing autofocus system.

(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 19,115
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!
1

The human visual system is quite remarkable. As an extention of the brain it has the ability to re-adapt and actually create new pathways to compensate for abnormality and even damage.

I have a very rare visual condition called "binocular triplopia" ...in short, I see triple images (3) of everything 24/7. It's so rare that only 5 cases have ever been documented.
http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/63/3/388.pdf

http://books.google.ca/books?id=e71WzJlVMw4C&pg=PA235&lpg=PA235&dq=binocular+triplopia&source=bl&ots=OlwKOBy0d0&sig=4c_CvMIN1zP8s74Lzsym2imuuQ8&hl=en&ei=S-jRS7yRGoW4swPD5eHJCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CC8Q6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=binocular%20triplopia&f=false

I grew up as a strabismus kid (ie: crossed eyes)...which is quite common amongst children...(about 2-4% of kids are born with congenital strabismus)...then I had the corrective surgery a couple of times to re-align them.

The brain cannot look (ie: focus) at two different places at once...so it 'suppresses" the image coming from the crooked eye and actually turns on a backup neurological system called 'anomalous' retinal correspondence' which actually 'changes' the position of the fovia point (in the brain)....so that only ONE image is actually perceived.

It's clever, coz it does this no matter which eye is concentrating (dominant) at any given time - switching the ARC back n forth to create just a single image.

However, at age 20 when I was living in Israel my visual system lost the ability to do this and I ended up with permanent "diplopia" (double vision)...which was annoying..but I adjusted and just got on with life and all that.

I had further surgery to correct the crossed eye again at 26 (in Germany) and altho my eye was cosmetically straight once more - the double imagery (in the brain) still existed.

Then at age 40 (when our visual systems are naturally becoming presbyopic anyways)....the system pooped out even more...leaving me with the 'binocular triplopia" (triple, 3 images) permanently to this day.

Unfortunately, we don't have the technology to FIX this kind of thing...Neuro-science is still in it's infancy....we can't even isolate the specific pathways responsible for the screw up to repair them.

The vision scientists at John Hopkins and Univ Of Waterloo Vision Science Centre (here in Canada) said...come back in 200 years

All I can say is....having livied with permanent triple vision for the last 13+ years...is that...our vision sense is so damn important...never take it for granted...it's the whole setup behind our sensory perception and how we relate to the outside world.

Ultimately, it determines "How" we feel (as in "sense of self")...and any alteration of that entity can lead to a whole slew of associated negative symptoms.

At first, my brain could not re-adjust to this new "triple image" situation, it took me about 5 years to get 'used' to the bizarre visual exprience and adjust to it.

I've had even more surgery since that crisis, my eyes are now perfectly aligned (cosmetically) again...but I still live with seeing THREE of everything 24/7.

I have 20/20 acuity, my eye-sight is very good...but the brain's ability to suppress and use it's in-built ARC (anomalous retial correspondence) back up mechanism has failed.

Think of it as like running two computer operating systems together at once. Technically, I should see 4 images...because two eyes are part of the NRC/ARC neural net (hence 2 x 2) and I'm runnign both systems at once...instead of just one.

Never take your vision for granted...

Now where's science officer Spock when I need him

Beam me up Scotty.

KEV
http://kvincentphotography.ca/designerflorals
http://kvincentphotography.ca/macro
http://kvincentphotography.ca/still-life

Never take your vision

chillgreg
OP chillgreg Senior Member • Posts: 1,248
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

Geez Kev, and I thought my double radial keratototmy was big...which killed my lifelong dream of flying F-111's, even though I was one of only 20 accepted into the course that semester.

Wow you must be a tough cookie, living with such a rare and unusual condition.

Talk soon
Greg

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 19,115
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

chillgreg wrote:

Geez Kev, and I thought my double radial keratototmy was big...which killed my lifelong dream of flying F-111's, even though I was one of only 20 accepted into the course that semester.

Wow you must be a tough cookie, living with such a rare and unusual condition.

Talk soon
Greg

Hmmm, thats a coincedence...coz I always wanted to be a fighter pilot when I was young. Spent 4 years in the air training corps as a kid, then when I went to enrol in the RAF at 18 they said....err, nope...you have monocular vision (back then)...sorry, but no fly jets...navigator or ground crew yes, but no fly big bird

It was probably for the best...I would most have likely crashed the sucker and wiped out a whole bunch of people along with myself...

Ah, the beat goes on > > >

KEV

(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 19,115
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

chillgreg wrote:
Wow you must be a tough cookie, living with such a rare and unusual condition.

Ah, I think that we humans are rather adaptive creatures and resiliant. It's either learn to cope and adjust, or roll over and die...most of us choose the former option.

The hardest part for me (over the long term) is the extra fatigue that this condition creates. My brain has to constantly work overtime 24/7 to compensate for the additional visual input and stimulus...so, consequently, as I am a very vision orientated person, I suffer from chronic fatigue quite a lot. Which is kinda ironic coz I am also a longtime marathon runner, but that activity actually works as a de-stressing balancing strategy.

KEV

spt_gb Senior Member • Posts: 2,876
The problem with that number

is that it relies on the human brain stitching a lot of frames together to achieve it. The eye is very sensitive to detail at the centre of the field of vision, but that sensitivity drops off rapidly towards the edges. The number you quote assumes that the resolution is the same across a 180 degree field of view rather than the eye moving to examine parts of interest. If you are prepared to stitch images together from a camera you can exceed 1G pixel.

Sammy Yousef
Sammy Yousef Veteran Member • Posts: 4,657
Flawed comparisons

To be honest, while the exercise of trying to do this, I think a lot of your figures are just speculative nonsense.

For instance, 100-800 ISO? Cones or rods? Cameras don't need time to dark adapt but once dark adapted we can see the milky way in all it's glory on a dark starry night in real time where as even at high ISO cameras don't record all the stars we see.

RGB colour space? The eye isn't digital and works well outside of traditional monitor colour spaces. We can see things that aren't well represented in the RGB colour space, like shiny metal. Human eyes don't "measure" colour as RGB either. We can only tell approximately what colour something is (but a trained or talented artist might do better than most).

Cameras don't have an averted image mode. Averted seeing is an important technique in astronomy.

Eyes don't zoom, so I can't pixel peep at my eye's resolution.

For that matter eyes don't freeze an image so I can examine it in greater detail. ("Photographic memory" doesn't work the way it does in murder mysteries)

There is no brain behind a camera that allows 3D optical illusions which are the brain re-interpretting the image. Cameras and eyes don't interpolate the same way.

Photographs aren't stereoscopic in nature. Eyes give depth perception information to the brain that requires a stereo image to approximate.

My eyes are irreplaceable. My camera and lens are replaceable.

My eyes are tied to the rest of my body. If my inner ear is having issues the room will spin. Failure modes in cameras are different.

I've never had a pretty girl comment on my nice camera lenses.

So while interesting comparing the visual part of our meatsack with our camera gear, I think the comparisons are flawed.

-- hide signature --

Sammy

chillgreg
OP chillgreg Senior Member • Posts: 1,248
Re: Flawed comparisons

Sammy Yousef wrote:

To be honest, while the exercise of trying to do this, I think a lot of your figures are just speculative nonsense.

For instance, 100-800 ISO? Cones or rods? Cameras don't need time to dark adapt but once dark adapted we can see the milky way in all it's glory on a dark starry night in real time where as even at high ISO cameras don't record all the stars we see.

RGB colour space? The eye isn't digital and works well outside of traditional monitor colour spaces. We can see things that aren't well represented in the RGB colour space, like shiny metal. Human eyes don't "measure" colour as RGB either. We can only tell approximately what colour something is (but a trained or talented artist might do better than most).

Cameras don't have an averted image mode. Averted seeing is an important technique in astronomy.

Eyes don't zoom, so I can't pixel peep at my eye's resolution.

For that matter eyes don't freeze an image so I can examine it in greater detail. ("Photographic memory" doesn't work the way it does in murder mysteries)

There is no brain behind a camera that allows 3D optical illusions which are the brain re-interpretting the image. Cameras and eyes don't interpolate the same way.

Photographs aren't stereoscopic in nature. Eyes give depth perception information to the brain that requires a stereo image to approximate.

My eyes are irreplaceable. My camera and lens are replaceable.

My eyes are tied to the rest of my body. If my inner ear is having issues the room will spin. Failure modes in cameras are different.

I've never had a pretty girl comment on my nice camera lenses.

So while interesting comparing the visual part of our meatsack with our camera gear, I think the comparisons are flawed.

Hi Sammy,

As I stated in my OP, I did this just for fun, and to interact with the DPR community on something related to, but different to the usual dreary camera gear debates. I think this topic is quite refreshing, and your viewpoint is welcome.

Perhaps if you haven't already, it might be helpful to read the source material I provided, as the figures quotes are factual (as far as one can tell from such internet-based material anyway), even if the comparison is obviously flawed and invalid in many ways.

As I said, just for fun, and thanks for taking the time to pitch in to what is a pretty interesting discussion.

Cheers
Greg

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dirksdi New Member • Posts: 15
Exactly!

That is exactly the misconception I tried to address in my earlier comment.

Best regards,

Dieter

chillgreg
OP chillgreg Senior Member • Posts: 1,248
Re: Exactly!

Hi Dieter

Thanks to your comment I learned something!

Kind Regards
Greg

dirksdi wrote:

That is exactly the misconception I tried to address in my earlier comment.

Best regards,

Dieter

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chillgreg
OP chillgreg Senior Member • Posts: 1,248
Re: The Human Eye Specifications - 576MP!

Thank you. Yes I missed that rather obvious one.

Perhaps someone would like to have a go?

Greg

wmsson wrote:

Quite an interesting post. I notice you didn't mention anything about the amazing autofocus system.

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