This is a new AI camera that looks that looks like a camera that has had a TV aerial stuffed where the lens should be. Called the Paragraphica, is able to take AI-generated pictures using its geolocation, the time, and the weather - without any need for you to input these text prompts. It doesn't need to see the scene - but uses generative AI to create the image.
The control the user has over the result comes from the three dials on top of the camera. "The first dial behaves similarly to the focal length in an optical lens but instead controls the radius (meters) of the area the camera searches for places and data. The second dial is comparable to film grain, as the value between 0.1 and 1 produces a noise seed for the AI image diffusion process", we are told.
"The third dial controls the guidance scale. Increasing guidance makes the AI follow the paragraph more closely. In the analogy of a traditional camera, the higher the value, the "sharper," and the lower, the "blurrier" the photo, thus representing focus".
Quite frankly it's the strangest and stupidest thing I have ever seen, yet I am in awe by its engineering - but this is NOT photography - or could it be?
This 'camera' has took the internet by storm and while I admire the engineering behind it from Bjørn Karmann, its creators I also feel cheated. To me, photography is all about the process, and then the glory is the image itself afterward, much like shooting some of the best film cameras or the best mirrorless cameras today.
The process of photography is also the most enjoyed part while having images to take you back to that day, time, and event in your life, and act as a memory for evermore - but this AI camera, that uses a Rasberry Pi 4 computer to generate images using Artificial Intelligence, once you have your desired setting, even how are you are away in matters to the subject, hit the "shutter button" and it will start generating an image of what's in front of you.
Therein lies the issue in which I have, if you are traveling to a location with this type of device (I'm not even going to call it a camera anymore), why not just take a REAL picture with your camera?
Honestly, this type of device makes me so angry I can hardly write this new story as it just goes against everything that photography stands for, and what I love about photography.
However, I must say that Bjorn has developed a rather interesting system that I can certainly see being useful to those photographers that are registered as blind. But here lies the conundrum - if we judge it on its engineering alone then it is probably as perfect as anyone would want it, with enough manual control to get the results you want.
But I just can't understand the WHY? - AI is becoming a rather interesting subject within many communities, and the photography industry is no different, only recently we heard Adobe introduce an AI-generated editing tool to Photoshop to help "create" your vision, but to me, this just takes the idea to a whole new level, which I just don't feel comfortable with at all, so uncomfortable that I am willing to say I don't want to be part of this part of photography in the future.
Photography is a process, please AI don't take that away from all of us that enjoy the process, as well as the art.