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Quantitative Measurement of the Exposure Response of Digital Cameras

DOI: 10.4236/jasmi.2019.93005, PP. 43-50

Keywords: Photography, Image, Imaging

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Abstract:

Digital cameras span a large range in price and performance. Consumers often focus mainly on the resolution in pixels when shopping for a camera. Of equal importance is the quality of the optics and the exposure response. Digital cameras generally have a linear exposure response, but the amount of noise and the dynamic range vary. It is difficult to obtain quantitative information on these parameters to make an informed assessment. This work explores and demonstrates first-principles methods to measure the exposure response to make meaningful comparisons between different camera models. It also shows how to make the most of a particular camera by measuring its noise level and dynamic range, to understand the limits of its useable ISO amplification. The methods only require a computer and free software to download images and extract their RGB pixel values. The analysis, based on the RGB values, uses standard spreadsheet software. The procedures are therefore accessible to anyone with a digital camera and computer, and will help to reduce speculation in comparing cameras, and help consumers make an informed decision.

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