Reviews, hands-on, samples of HS50 Part IV

Started Mar 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Gene Selkov
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Re: To all IQ lovers
In reply to MitchyK7, 2 months ago

It is a 12-bit sensor. The reason they refuse to name a single bit depth, although stupid, has a non-zero technical validity. Their marketing thinks you will never see sensor data, and the bit depth of the final product is not necessarily the same as that of the sensor.

In super-resolution or low-noise mode, it will always be equivalent to 12. Super-resolution means spatially interpolating two identically exposed 12-bit images, and low noise is achieved by averaging the same. Of course, both operations can be done with floating-point numbers or scaled integers, but the end result will still be confined within the same 12 powers of two, even though it might be represented with fractional values. The idea of bit depth does not exactly apply to such an image, but there is a rough equivalence. You can think of it as a sum of a 12-bit image and more finely quantized noise (but the level of noise this sensor produces under all but the best lighting conditions is so high it does not really matter how finely quantized it is).

In the HDR mode, two differently exposed 12-bit images are merged, resulting in a higher equivalent bit depth -- 13, maybe even 14. For the same reason as with averaging, the equivalence is not strict, but you do get a higher range of intensities, which would be equivalent to an image obtained from a single 13- or 14-bit sensor.

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