Defocus techniques for camera dynamic range expansion

Matthew Trentacoste*, Cheryl Lau, Mushfiqur Rouf, Rafał Mantiuk, Wolfgang Heidrich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Defocus imaging techniques, involving the capture and reconstruction of purposely out-of-focus images, have recently become feasible due to advances in deconvolution methods. This paper evaluates the feasibility of defocus imaging as a means of increasing the effective dynamic range of conventional image sensors. Blurring operations spread the energy of each pixel over the surrounding neighborhood; bright regions transfer energy to nearby dark regions, reducing dynamic range. However, there is a trade-off between image quality and dynamic range inherent in all conventional sensors. The approach involves optically blurring the captured image by turning the lens out of focus, modifying that blurred image with a filter inserted into the optical path, then recovering the desired image by deconvolution. We analyze the properties of the setup to determine whether any combination can produce a dynamic range reduction with acceptable image quality. Our analysis considers both properties of the filter to measure local contrast reduction, as well as the distribution of image intensity at different scales as a measure of global contrast reduction. Our results show that while combining state-of-the-art aperture filters and deconvolution methods can reduce the dynamic range of the defocused image, providing higher image quality than previous methods, rarely does the loss in image fidelity justify the improvements in dynamic range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE-IS and T Electronic Imaging - Digital Photography VI
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventDigital Photography VI - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 18 2010Jan 19 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherDigital Photography VI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA


  • Aperture filter
  • Camera
  • Deconvolution
  • Defocus imaging
  • HDR
  • High dynamic range

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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