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We could explore this astonishing 195-gigapixel panorama of Shanghai all day

Shanghai, with The Bund at the bottom of the picture. BigPixel

Gigapixel images let you zoom in to all parts of the photo to view it in astonishing detail, and this latest one from Chinese firm BigPixel is certainly no exception.

Showing the Chinese city of Shanghai and shot from atop the 230-meter-tall Oriental Pearl Tower, the picture comprises a whopping 195 gigapixels. For comparison, many of today’s top-end smartphones take photos of around 12 megapixels. This image has 195,000 megapixels.

But take note. The enormous panorama has been created by stitching together thousands of separate images taken with professional cameras and high-quality lenses. And it took two months to complete.

Hosted on BigPixel’s website, the impressive image includes navigation controls that let you explore the sprawling city — population 24 million — in amazing detail. Just when you think you won’t be able to zoom in any more, you find the picture on your screen increasing in size as a small area miles away from the Oriental Pearl Tower fills the display. And the quality will blow your mind.

On its website, BigPixel doesn’t specify the camera equipment it used to capture the images. We’ve reached out for more information and we’ll add the details if we hear back.

The Bund up close. BigPixel

Despite its massive size, BigPixel’s panorama isn’t the biggest gigapixel image out there. According to Guinness World Records, the largest photo comprises an incredible 846 gigapixels. It was created by a Malaysian university team in 2015 and shows the city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The final image, which can still be viewed online, combines around 31,000 different photos.

If you’d prefer a nature shot to a city one, then how about this 365-gigapixel panorama showing France’s Mont Blanc. To capture the images, a five-person team used a Canon 70D DSLR, a Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 IS II lens, and a Canon Extender 2X III on a robotic mount.

The pictures were shot over a total of 35 hours across 15 days and used up 46 terabytes of space on numerous memory cards. Post-production, which mostly consisted of image processing and stitching to create the huge panorama, took two months in all.

Challenges included operating the equipment in bitterly cold temperatures that dropped to as low as 14 Fahrenheit (minus 10 Celsius), but we’re sure you’ll agree, the final result was well worth the effort.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
At 365 gigapixels, this Mont Blanc panorama is the world’s largest photo
at 365 gigapixels this mont blanc panorama is the worlds largest photo

At full size, you'd have trouble squeezing a print of this particular image into a photo album, but then this is no ordinary photograph. Captured by an international team led by photographer Filippo Blengini, this enormous panorama of France's Mont Blanc recently landed in the record books as the world's largest photograph.
Taking 70,000 shots to produce, the final image (shown below at full width but definitely not full size) comprises a whopping 365 gigapixels, smashing the previous record – a photo of London taken two years ago – by a decent 45 gigapixels. To gather the imagery, the five-person team used a Canon 70D DSLR, a Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 IS II lens, and a Canon Extender 2X III on a robotic mount.

The record-breaking photo, which shows one of the world's highest mountains in glorious detail, took up 46 terabytes of space on countless memory cards and was captured during 35 hours of shooting across 15 days. Post-production, which mainly involved image processing and stitching to create the giant panorama, took a further two months.
The project took place at 3,500 meters (11,482 feet) above sea level, with temperatures dipping to as low as 14 Fahrenheit (minus 10 Celsius) during the shoot.
in2white - MontBlanc Largest Panoramic Image
"We were brave, crazy and ambitious enough to think about a gigapanoramic picture, to seize every single detail of the mountain," the team says on its website, adding it wanted to show off the "major beauty, astonishing magnitude, and pure elation" of "Her Majesty the Mont Blanc."
Fancy exploring mountain via the 365-gigapixel panorama? The interactive viewer on the team's website works superbly, with super-smooth zooming taking you up close to all parts of the rocky formation.

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