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Weird Science

Photographers love new toys. Boffins just love dreaming ‘em up, and the modern gizmo-a-minute digital world sure loves delivering the goodies.

Only a few days ago the photo lists were full of the week’s other news from Korea: the world’s first 10-megapixel cameraphone, courtesy of Samsung. The press release boasted of, well, everything really and featured a distinctly odd wide angle picture apparently designed to make this new toy look as large and ugly as possible.

The week before there was the appearance of the Leica M8, seventy-one years in development, the same number of pixels as Samsung’s phone, and costing only six times as much. But at least you don’t have to move to Korea to buy the Leica, and hey, it does have The Famous Red Dot on the front.

That’s only the start though. If you’re a pap who prefers to keep a safe distance from your victims then have we got a lens for you! With the world’s largest telephoto lens, this 1700 F4 from Zeiss, you won’t need to worry about bodyguards with itchy trigger fingers.

You’ll be well out their range: but they’ll be in yours. Yes, that tiny black thing hanging off the end really is a 6X6 Hasselblad. Or at least so we’re told: it’s too small to tell in the promo pictures.

Don’t need a lens that allows you to shoot Manhattan candids while sitting in Brixton? Then how about the panorama camera to end ‘em all, the Seitz 6X17. The dude displaying it shows how it could be the ultimate street camera: small, discreet, w-i-d-e lens, and 160 megapixels. What more could one want?

But if you ask us the whole megapixel race is SO twentieth century. After all scientists now say that conventional sensors simply toss away a lot of the information, rendering all those heavy pixels irrelevant. So how about a single pixel camera? Yes, you read right. It’s not available yet, but researchers at Rice University in Houston are developing one right now.

But perhaps you find all this technology alienating: after all, it’s so lifeless. Never mind, now you can have a living, breathing – well, not quite – camera. The University of California – had to be really – have succeeded in making a biological camera consisting of a bed of E. Coli bacterium that generates 100 megapixel images. Ok, so it takes four hours to make an exposure and only works in red light: perhaps the tool of choice for snapping very slow moving hookers, but of little other practical use we think.

But here at EPUK Towers we KNOW what we want for Christmas. Described as “groundbreaking”, although we think they really mean permafrost breaking, the SCUBA-2 is definitely the world’s coolest camera, designed to snap away at temperatures down to minus 273C.

Of course with a £13 million pound price tag, this baby is only available on special order. But even then you’d better get in line: the first one has already been snapped up and is headed for the frozen wastes of, err, Hawaii. Floral shirt and surfboard not supplied.

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