CupcakesTaketheCake

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cupcakes and camera pixels

New York Times cupcake pixel illustration

Russ Juskalian in The New York Times writes about cameras and pixels, and uses cupcakes as a way to illustrate his point!

In a sea of specifications, one of the most overlooked is the size, not the number, of pixels on a camera’s sensor. Bigger sensors usually mean bigger pixels, which provides some advantages when it comes to making an image.

The mechanics of this can be understood by thinking of a digital camera sensor as a flat sheet of material pocked with millions (hence “mega”) of cylindrical, cuplike pixels. In other words, picture the digital sensor as a tiny cupcake tin.

Photons (light particles) pass through a camera’s lens and are captured by the cups in the tray. Each cup is either red, green or blue (the three colors that are the building blocks for all other colors). The more photons a cup catches, the brighter that cup’s color. Totally empty cups record black; totally full cups record white.


Most of the article is a bit over my head, but still interesting, but I will say that I am constantly in awe of the high-quality cupcake photography I see in our Flickr pool and elsewhere on Flickr and the web. I just bought an iPhone but that is more for immediacy than super-gorgeous cupcake photography. I like his ending sentiment though: "the photographer is the most important part of a good photo." I'm sure Stacie Joy, our resident photographer, will be able to weigh in on this too.

What camera do you use for your cupcake photos? Does anyone have recommendations or tips?

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