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26-gigapixel picture – the biggest in the world

Woah! Have I already told you that I’m in love with Canon 5D Mark II? Have I?

Just like Canon 350D made DSLRs more accessible to millions of users worldwide a few years ago, last year Canon 5D Mark II ushered in a new era of high-spec, mid-range DSLR hybrids, capable of taking stunning images up to 21MP in size – even in low-lighting conditions – and producing some superb HD videos at the same time.

Now we have another proof – as if one was needed – of how stunning this camera is.

A German agency AFB Media in association with Dresden-based newspaper Sächsische Zeitung produced what they claim is a record-breaking, 26-gigapixel panoramic image of the city. Done using Canon 5D Mark II, obviously.

How did they do it? It took them almost three hours to produce the picture. Well, not just one picture. The camera – linked directly to a laptop, as there are no memory cards big enough to store such an amount of data – captured over 1600 individual full-format images. Altogether, they’ve recorded over 100Gb of data.

They’ve used a 400mm lens and a special engine to ensure precise movement and timed the whole process to produce a consistent image which reflects the movement of the sun.

If printed, this photo would measure 105×35 metres. That’s almost the size of a football pitch. A great achievement indeed.

You can read all about the process here (the amount of geeky detail is a bit scary). You can obviously see and play with the enormous picture there too.

To really experience the awesomeness of the whole project, make sure you’re fully zoomed out and then click on one of the 11 thumbnails on the page.

Of course, to break this record they could’ve used any other high-end camera, but I think the fact they’ve opted for Canon 5D Mark II says a lot about its status as the most versatile and powerful DSLR on the market now.

If only the price made it more accessible.

Here’s a video from the shoot:

UPDATE (13/03/2010): It looks like this is no longer the biggest picture – see my post on a 26-gigapixel picture of Paris.

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