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Formation of a Digital Image: The Imaging Chain Simplified
Author(s): Robert D. Fiete
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Book Description

Creating a digital picture is so simple today that when we pick up our camera and push the button, we don't put any thought into the process that we just set into motion. The chain of events that occurs to create the photograph is called the imaging chain. The scientists and engineers who design digital cameras love to dive deep into the physics and the mathematics of the imaging chain, but discussing the imaging chain with people not well versed in this language will usually produce a blank stare or a yawn.

This book discusses the concepts used to design digital cameras for people who don't want to be blinded with equations and bored with geek speak. It will help the individuals who work with camera designers and want to know, but are sometimes afraid to ask, why they keep babbling about an "MTF" or some other mysterious acronym. If you ever wondered why pinstripe suits turn psychedelic on TV or why crosses appear on pictures of stars, the imaging chain will give you the answers, and this book is for you.


Book Details

Date Published: 3 January 2012
Pages: 142
ISBN: 9780819489760
Volume: PM218

Table of Contents
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Preface

1 Making Pictures
1.1 The Magical Process
1.2 A Brief History of Photography—It All Started with a Hole in the Wall

2 Digital Images: Pixels and Bits
2.1 So, What Exactly Is a Digital Image, Anyway?
2.2 Making the Numbers—How to Make a Digital Image
2.3 Is That Really a Picture of an Alien?

3 Light: The Essential Ingredient
3.1 A Heavy Understanding of Light
3.2 Light Interrupted
3.3 A Horse of a Different Color
3.4 Light as the Camera Sees It

4 Camera Optics: Taking Control of the Light
4.1 Getting the Light into Shape
4.2 Lenses
4.3 Mirrors
4.4 f-Number Basics
4.5 Forming the Perfect Image Is a Tall Order

5 A Simpler Math
5.1 Don't Be Frightened by LSI!
5.2 A Fourier What?
5.3 Modulation Transfer Function, or How I Learned to Blur an Image

6 Sensing the Light
6.1 Turning Light into a Digital Image
6.2 Making Numbers
6.3 Making Noise
6.4 Sampling and Psychedelic Pinstripes

7 Camera Considerations
7.1 Making Sure the Left Hand Knows What the Right Hand Is Doing
7.2 Taking Pictures in a World that Won't Stand Still
7.3 Seeing the Detail: Resolution and Camera Size
7.4 The Story of Q: Designing the Optics and Sensor in Harmony

8 The Magic of Computers: Making a Picture Better
8.1 The Numbers Game
8.2 Taking Away the Drab
8.3 Eyeglasses for a Digital Image
8.4 Changing Size and Filling in Details: Reality Versus Hollywood

9 The Way We See It
9.1 You See What in that Image?
9.2 A Matter of Interpretation
9.3 Camera Designers Need to Keep Our Minds in Mind
9.4 Crummy Viewing Equals Crummy Image

10 Afterword: Now What?

Index


Preface

Many of us working in technical fields hesitate when people ask us to explain what we do for a living. After I received my degree in optics, I sometimes found myself saying "yes" when older relatives asked if I worked on eyeglasses. Explaining that I work on the design of digital cameras by modeling the imaging chain is sure to produce blank stares or questions such as, "Can I buy an imaging chain in the store?" When I attempt to explain further, I usually fall into the trap of using the scientific language that I have grown accustomed to with my colleagues. This, of course, produces a long yawn from the listener, who then says, "Interesting," and excuses themselves to another room.

Formation of a Digital Image: The Imaging Chain Simplified discusses the process that creates digital images for people who don't want to be blinded with equations and bored with geek speak. This book is written for individuals who work with camera designers and want to know but are sometimes afraid to ask why they keep babbling about an MTF or some other mysterious acronym. If you ever wonder why pinstripe suits turn psychedelic on TV or why crosses appear on pictures of stars, I hope you will find this book helpful, and I apologize in advance for sometimes getting too close to geek speak. Habits are very hard to break. If nothing else, this book has photos of puppies that you will hopefully enjoy.

Bob Fiete
January 2012
Rochester, New York


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