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Consumer Imaging I: Processing Pipeline, Focus, and Exposure

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Handbook of Visual Display Technology

Abstract

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.

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Abbreviations

ADC:

Analog/digital convertor

APS-C:

Advanced Photo System type-C

CDAF:

Contrast detection autofocusing

CE:

Consumer electronics

CFA:

Color filter array

CMOS:

Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor

DOF:

Depth of field

DSLR:

Digital single-lens reflex

DSP:

Digital signal processing

FOV:

Field of view

GPU:

Graphics processing unit

HDR:

High dynamic range

IPP:

Image processing pipeline

ISP:

Image signal processor

RLE:

Run-length encoding

VCM:

Voice-coil module

VGA/SVGA:

Video graphics array/super video graphics array

WFOV:

Wide field of view

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Correspondence to Peter Corcoran .

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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. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-14346-0_172

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