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Proceedings Paper

An objective protocol for comparing the noise performance of silver halide film and digital sensor
Author(s): Frédéric Cao; Frédéric Guichard; Hervé Hornung; Régis Tessière
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Paper Abstract

Digital sensors have obviously invaded the photography mass market. However, some photographers with very high expectancy still use silver halide film. Are they only nostalgic reluctant to technology or is there more than meets the eye? The answer is not so easy if we remark that, at the end of the golden age, films were actually scanned before development. Nowadays film users have adopted digital technology and scan their film to take advantage from digital processing afterwards. Therefore, it is legitimate to evaluate silver halide film "with a digital eye", with the assumption that processing can be applied as for a digital camera. The article will describe in details the operations we need to consider the film as a RAW digital sensor. In particular, we have to account for the film characteristic curve, the autocorrelation of the noise (related to film grain) and the sampling of the digital sensor (related to Bayer filter array). We also describe the protocol that was set, from shooting to scanning. We then present and interpret the results of sensor response, signal to noise ratio and dynamic range.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 January 2012
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 8299, Digital Photography VIII, 829902 (24 January 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.910113
Show Author Affiliations
Frédéric Cao, DxO Labs (France)
Frédéric Guichard, DxO Labs (France)
Hervé Hornung, DxO Labs (France)
Régis Tessière, DxO Labs (France)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8299:
Digital Photography VIII
Sebastiano Battiato; Brian G. Rodricks; Nitin Sampat; Francisco H. Imai; Feng Xiao, Editor(s)

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