Keisuke Goda's team at UCLA have built the fastest camera ever, which takes an upwards of a whopping 6.1 million pictures per second, at a shutter speed of 440 trillionths of a second.
Possibly the most frustrating part of photography is the age-old trade off between light sensitivity and speed. Using a fast shutter speed means less light enters the camera, usually leading to underexposed, dingy images. However, by using new Serial Time-Encoded Amplified Microscopy (STEAM) technology, scientists have overcome these limitations.
The STEAM camera illuminates objects with an infrared laser that emits a different wavelength for each pixel captured. The camera's sensor then electronically amplifies the original, dim signal with a matching wavelength until it becomes visible.
Compared to the multi-million-pixel images produced by standard digital cameras, the current STEAM prototype only produces images composed of just 3,000 pixels. Yet there is a multi-megapixel camera in the works that the scientists hope will be competitive against consumer cameras. [Wired—Thanks Mark!]