Skip to main content

Consumer Imaging I: Processing Pipeline, Focus, and Exposure

  • Reference work entry
  • First Online:
Handbook of Visual Display Technology


Digital photography completely supplanted film photography, with a huge, disruptive shift occurring during the first decade of the twenty-first century. The collapse of film photography led to the fall of industry giant like Kodak. Then in 2007, Apple introduced the smartphone and digital photography went mobile. Today smartphones dominate everyday imaging, but the digital camera industry has survived. In this chapter, we will take a look at the state of the art in consumer digital imaging as it stands halfway through this second decade of the twenty-first century. We follow an image from the photons striking the CMOS electronic sensor through to the compressed image or video stored on a memory card. Starting with a look at the basics of digital photography, we move on to explore the complexity of the image processing pipeline (IPP) that is used on today’s cameras. The reader will be introduced to different color spaces and how these are used for different purposes inside the IPP. The mechanisms of autofocus (AF) and exposure using CMOS sensors are explained, and the concepts of the rolling shutter and high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging are explained. Video preview and image compression are also explored. In a companion article, we will take a look at some developments in “smart imaging” that allow pictures to be enhanced in ways that mimic high-end photography equipment on miniature smartphone cameras.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 1,399.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 1,999.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others



Analog/digital convertor


Advanced Photo System type-C


Contrast detection autofocusing


Consumer electronics


Color filter array


Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor


Depth of field


Digital single-lens reflex


Digital signal processing


Field of view


Graphics processing unit


High dynamic range


Image processing pipeline


Image signal processor


Run-length encoding


Voice-coil module


Video graphics array/super video graphics array


Wide field of view

Further Reading

  • Andorko I, Corcoran P, Bigioi P (2010) Hardware implementation of a real-time 3D video acquisition system. In: Optimization of electrical and electronic equipment (OPTIM), 2010 12th international conference on Brasov, Romania, pp 920–925. IEEE.0

    Google Scholar 

  • Baer R (2010) Resolution limits in digital photography: the looming end of the pixel wars – OSA technical digest (CD). In: Imaging systems, 2010, p ITuB3

    Google Scholar 

  • Baker S, Bennett E, Kang SB, Szeliski R (2010) Removing rolling shutter wobble. In: Proceedings of the IEEE computer society conference on computer vision and pattern recognition, 2010, San Francisco, California, pp 2392–2399

    Google Scholar 

  • Bandoh Y, Qiu G, Okuda M, Daly S, Aach T, Au OC (2010) Recent advances in high dynamic range imaging technology. In: ICIP 2010 (IEEE international conference on image processing), 2010, Hong Kong, pp 3125–3128

    Google Scholar 

  • Corcoran P, Stan C, Florea C, Ciuc M, Bigioi P (2014) Digital beauty: the good, the bad, and the (not-so) ugly. Consum Electron Mag IEEE 3(4):55–62

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dainty C (2012) Film photography is dead: long live film: what can digital photography learn from the film era? IEEE Consum Electron Mag 1(1):61–64

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Forssén PE, Ringaby E (2010) Rectifying rolling shutter video from hand-held devices. In: Proceedings of the IEEE computer society conference on computer vision and pattern recognition, 2010, San Francisco, California, pp 507–514

    Google Scholar 

  • Fowler B (2011) High dynamic range image sensor architectures. High Dyn Range Imaging Symp Work Stanford Univ Calif 7876:787602–787602-15

    Google Scholar 

  • Gallagher P (2012) Smart-phones get even smarter cameras [future visions]. Consum Electron Mag IEEE 1(1):25–30

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gao W, Huang T, Reader C, Dou W, Chen X (2014) IEEE standards for advanced audio and video coding in emerging applications. Computer (Long Beach Calif) 47:81–83

    Google Scholar 

  • Groen FC, Young IT, Ligthart G (1985) A comparison of different focus functions for use in autofocus algorithms. Cytometry 6(2):81–91

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grundmann M, Kwatra V, Castro D, Essa I (2012) Calibration-free rolling shutter removal. In: 2012 I.E. international conference on computational photography, Seattle, Washington, ICCP 2012

    Google Scholar 

  • Han D, Choi J, Cho J-I, Kwak D (2011) Design and VLSI implementation of high-performance face-detection engine for mobile applications. In: 2011 I.E. international conference on consumer electronics (ICCE), 2011, Las Vegas, NV, pp 705–706

    Google Scholar 

  • Ionita M, Corcoran P (2011) Advances in extending the AAM techniques from grayscale to color images. US 7965875, 28 Feb 2011

    Google Scholar 

  • Ionita MC, Corcoran P, Buzuloiu V (2009) On color texture normalization for active appearance models. Image Process IEEE Trans 18(6):1372–8

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  • Liang C-K, Chang L-W, Chen HH (2008) Analysis and compensation of rolling shutter effect. IEEE Trans Image Process 17(8):1323–30

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  • Ligthart G, Groen F (1982) A comparison of different autofocus algorithms. In: Proceedings sixth international conference on pattern recognition, Munich, Germany, pp 597–600

    Google Scholar 

  • Marpe D, Wiegand T, Gordon S (2005) H.264/MPEG4-AVC fidelity range extensions: Tools, profiles, performance, and application areas. In: Proceedings – international conference on image processing, ICIP, 2005, vol 1, Genoa, Italy, pp 593–596

    Google Scholar 

  • Marpe D, Wiegand T, Sullivan GJ (2006) The H.264/MPEG4 advanced video coding standard and its applications. IEEE Commun Mag 44(8):134–143

    Google Scholar 

  • Nicklin SP, Fisher RD, Middleton RH (2007) Rolling shutter image compensation. Lecture notes in computer science (including subseries Lecture notes in artificial intelligence and lecture notes in bioinformatics), vol 4434. LNAI, pp 402–409

    Google Scholar 

  • Noll P (1997) MPEG digital audio coding. Signal Process Mag IEEE 14:59–81

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  • Oth L, Furgale P, Kneip L, Siegwart R (2013) Rolling shutter camera calibration. In: Proceedings of the IEEE computer society conference on computer vision and pattern recognition, 2013, Columbus, Ohio, pp 1360–1367

    Google Scholar 

  • Pourazad M, Doutre C, Azimi M, Nasiopoulos P (2012) HEVC: the new gold standard for video compression: how does HEVC compare with H.264/AVC? IEEE Consum Electron Mag 1(3):36–46

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Santos A, Ortiz de Solorzano C, Vaquero JJ, Pena JM, Malpica N, Del Poze F (1997) Evaluation of autofocus functions in molecular cytogenetic analysis. J Microsc 188(03):597–600

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shih L (2007) Autofocus survey: a comparison of algorithms. In: Electronic imaging 2007 (proceedings SPIE), pp 65020B, 1–11

    Google Scholar 

  • Sullivan GJ, Wiegand T (2005) Video compression-from concepts to the H.264/AVC standard. Proc IEEE 93:18–31

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sullivan GJ, Ohm JR, Han WJ, Wiegand T (2012) Overview of the high efficiency video coding (HEVC) standard. IEEE Trans Circuits Syst Video Technol 22:1649–1668

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vatolin DD, Seleznev I, Smirnov DM (2007) Lossless video codecs comparison ‘2007

    Google Scholar 

  • Wallace GK (1992) The JPEG still picture compression standard. IEEE Trans Consum Electron 38(1):18–34

    Google Scholar 

  • Waltham N (2013) CCD and CMOS sensors

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Peter Corcoran .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this entry

Cite this entry

Corcoran, P., Bigioi, P. (2016). Consumer Imaging I: Processing Pipeline, Focus, and Exposure. In: Chen, J., Cranton, W., Fihn, M. (eds) Handbook of Visual Display Technology. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics