High Dynamic Range Imaging: Images and Sensors

In the past, technological development in the image sensor field primarily strove to increase resolution by adding pixels. The current generation of digital cameras already offer resolutions over 10 Megapixels. This allows details too small to be seen with the human eye to be im-aged, provided the optics are up to the task. With regard to dynamic range, however, human sight is far superior to conventional image capturing devices. If a scene contains very bright and very dark areas, a camera will quickly reach its limits. While the eye can perceive all brightness levels, image sensors suffer from overexposure and therefore lose image data. HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology, on the other hand, enables fine differences in bright-ness to be imaged even in very bright scenes, similar to the human eye. This white paper ex-plains the background behind HDR technology and the method of functioning of HDR image sensors. Finally, potential uses and limits of the new technology will be identified.