Blinking ruining your portraits? Sigma's new patent could put an end to that

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(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

Sigma had applied for a patent for a technology that is able to take a photo at the optimum moment to avoid capturing someone blinking. By carefully calculating the eye size when fully open, the technology is able to adjust the shutter timing removing the likelihood of taking a bad photo. 

• Read our review of the Sigma 28 - 7mm f/2.8 DG DN lens available for Sony E mount and Leica L mount

Originally posted by Digi Cam Info, the patent identifies several steps that need to take place for the tech to work:

• Image data acquisition, the camera checks the scene
Fully open eye size calculation, the AI at work
Reference eye region calculation, deciding where the eye should be
Readout condition setting, AI setting rules for itself
Imaging condition storage, AI rules ready to be identified
Image timing, camera settings at the ready
Imaging instruction step, in other words, telling the shutter to fire

It should be ideal with subjects like small fidget-prone children, or even unusually light-sensitive individuals. It might be extremely helpful if shooting with flash, or anyone who blinks more regularly than your average Joe.

According to the US National Institute of Health, it takes a human about a third of a second to blink, and most adults do it around 12 times a minute – even more if it’s super sunny or very windy. That's 4 seconds per minute your eyes are in a photo-ruining position!

Once the tech emerges in a real camera, there are some interesting questions, like how noticeable (or varied) the shutter lag might be. That, however, is something we'll need to see in prototype or finished form to know.

For portrait, editorial, and fashion photographers, this kind of technology could revolutionize work, resulting in more usable photos at the end of the shoot. Even the most experienced models who are used to working under bright studio flashes can be caught blinking – it is, after all, human nature (and essential eye care!)

It might seem surprising that Sigma has applied for this patent rather than Canon, Nikon, or Sony who are considered the main players of the best mirrorless camera market but perhaps this could be a Sigma is working on a new camera. With no official announcement from Sigma, we can't say for sure, but it will be exciting if the technology does come to fruition.  

If you enjoyed this why not check out the best mirrorless cameras or the best cheap cameras if you're on a tight budget

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.