Some great ideas at DUH BLOG :: 2003-07-08 about the evolution of digital cameras. Much discussion about how the digitization of photon capture lets you inject so much more processing and data capture — like why don’t we capture gps info, infrared info, etc at image capture time?
At the extreme I’ve often thought about a software-defined lens, where the entire lens and shutter construct is replaced by software, and at the front of the camera you have a photon capture service that records the incoming frequency and direction of all the photons. With this data, you could theoretically do all your focusing and other image manipulation as a post-capture process. I suspect there are some quantum mechanical issues with this, a physical lens does a lot of “computation”. But it is very interesting to consider how to evolve the camera.