Journal of Electronic ImagingExtended use of incremental signal-to-noise ratio as reliability criterion for multiple-slope wide-dynamic-range image capture
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Mobile applications present new image quality challenges. Automotive vision requires reliable capture of scene detail. Photospace measurements have shown that the extremely wide intrascene dynamic range of traffic scenes necessitates wide-dynamic-range (WDR) technology. Multiple-slope complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology adaptively extends dynamic range by partially resetting the pixel, resulting in a response curve with piecewise linear slopes of progressively increasing compression. As compression and thus dynamic range increase, a trade-off against detail loss is observed. Incremental signal-to-noise ratio (iSNR) has been proposed in ISO/TC42 standards for determining dynamic range, and this work describes how to adapt these to WDR. Measurements and computer simulations reveal that the observed trade-off between WDR extension and the loss of local detail can be explained by a drop in iSNR at each reset point. If a reset is not timed optimally, then iSNR may drop below the detection limit causing an iSNR hole to appear within the dynamic range. Thus iSNR has extended utility: it not only determines the dynamic range limits but also defines dynamic range as the luminance range where detail detection is reliable. It has become the critical criterion when maximizing dynamic range to maintain the minimum necessary level of detection reliability.