How Does Our Vision Compare with Cameras?


An interesting question — How do our eyes stack up against a camera? There are a lot of factors that come in to play, but you might be surprised to find that even the best readily available cameras are completely left in the dust by the human eye.

For a quick comparison, our eyes are estimated to be able to produce the equivalent of a 576-megapixel image, while a standard high-resolution 1080p video is just 2.1 megapixels. For another comparison, an ultra-HD 4k video is still just about 9 megapixels.

But there is more than just the image quality to compare; take a look at these other factors.

Our Lenses

There is just a single lens in each of our eyeballs, while a camera may have many lenses to produce the desired image. The lens aperture does something similar to the eye’s lens in that it can contract and expand to let in more or less light. What a camera can’t do is physically change shape to reach the desired image at different ranges. Our eyes actually flex to be able to focus on what we are looking at, and they do it automatically and very fast. Since the camera’s lenses are rigid and unable to change shape, it requires actually moving the camera lens closer or further away to see the object in the desired way.

Dynamic Range

Some cameras can see in the dark much better than we can, and some can see much better in bright light. However, what sets our eyes apart from those cameras is our dynamic range. This means no camera comes even close to our eyes in the range of light levels that we can see in. Humans have the ability to see well on a bright summer day, as well as in relative darkness, and it only takes about 30 minutes for us to adjust to a new brightness completely.