Into the sub-pixel realm: Optical simulation

Started Jan 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Marianne Oelund
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Into the sub-pixel realm: Optical simulation
Jan 1, 2013

It seems to me that pixel-peeping has degenerated to the level of the ordinary and mundane, and must now be replaced with a novel activity:  Sub-pixel peeping!

As this is naturally beyond the capabilities of our cameras, it requires a bit of ingenuity.  The camera is replaced with a computer simulation, which can explore much finer scales.

Why do this?  My prime motivation is to develop a simulation which can parallel my lens and camera testing, providing insights that are not possible with the camera alone.  For example, the simulation environment permits separation of the effects of diffraction and lens point-spread; each may be exercised individually, so by adjusting simulation parameters until its results match physical test results, one may infer the value of the unknown parameter, in this case, point-spread diameter.  This yields a lens figure-of-merit unencumbered by the veil of diffraction, thus being sufficiently discriminatory to discern the qualities of the very finest optics.  Similarly, this approach may be used to infer AA-filter shifts and other parameters whose effects are not physically separable.

Once the parameter values are known, simulation can be used to assess the outcomes of various scenarios, much more quickly and easily than physical tests could be set up and run.

Those interested in seeing for themselves, the effects of defocus, diffraction, lens point-spread and AA-filter function, and how these affect images gathered by a camera sensor, are invited to visit my new Optical Simulation page.  It is my hope that you will at least find some enlightenment in the visualizations which can be created.  There is virtually no end to the "what if" studies you can perform.

As I continue using the simulation tool, I'll share interesting results here.

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- Marianne
Veni, vidi, exposui

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