Human Eye More Like Video

December 18, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

How often do you gaze in wonder at a photograph? Some things, be it a person or a landscape, appear much more beautiful in a photo (photoshop magic apart), than when actually seen.

Now, it does depend on the camera too, but let’s, for the sake of it, say that the camera is one sporting a 35mm or a 50mm lens. Because, there are notions on how the said measurement of lenses can provide, on a full frame in a camera, the equivalent field of vision to that of a normal human eye.

We can go about treating the eye as a camera, by labelling the parts with respective to a camera’s; a front element (the cornea), an aperture ring (the iris and pupil), a lens, and a sensor (the retina). Some might say that the eye is like a camera, but it most definitely doesn’t work like one, or rather, more specifically, the human vision isn’t a photograph.

That’s one reason why we find some photos better than the actual object. Now getting back to the details of the eye.

Most of you must be knowing that only the retina part of the eye processes the image, so it doesn’t matter much on what the focal length of the eye is (the accepted measurements differ from 17mm to 24mm).

The focal length of the eye doesn’t determine the angle of view of human vision. The area which deals with the main vision is termed as ‘cone of visual attention’ while the rest is ‘peripheral vision’.

The retina is almost the same size as a sensor on a full frame camera, but the similarity ends there. Retina, supposedly, have better corner sharpness because of its curvature.

Moreover, a person’s eye has about 130 million pixels, which is a lot more than what you would find on a camera. Although only about 6 million of those can capture color, while the rest see only black and white (but this shouldn’t bother you as the eye handles it just fine).

With a digital camera, what’s caught in the lens is recorded into the memory stick. With the human eye, it’s the brain that does all the other work, and it does all the things different from a camera.

Although we talk about the human eye as a photographic system, it’s not actually photography. What the human eye can do is more like video.

Even when we stare at an object for some time, it isn’t still photography. Our brain keeps taking multiple shots of the object and stacks them up for the final image.

So it’s like the longer we look at an object, the finer the details seem to be. And that’s why photographs look different than the original object, because it’s not what the brain and the eye naturally sees.

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