How about a 1-bit dynamic range sensor?

Started Jun 19, 2006 | Discussions thread
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Nigel_L Regular Member • Posts: 102
How about a 1-bit dynamic range sensor?


The thread by drwho9437 on non-linear sensors got me thinking about the limitations of image sensors and if there was another way of doing this.

Normal image sensors measure the amount of light that the pixel has captured with approximately a 12-bit resolution. The main problems with this approach are the noise floor and resolution of the A/D converter.

An alternative solution may be to have a sensor where each pixel only has a 1-bit resolution (i.e. it is either empty or full) and then to accurately measure the time taken to "fill" the pixel. In this case pixels that are illuminated with a bright light will be filled very quickly whereas pixels exposed to lower levels of light will take longer to "fill up".

The picture information would therefore be made up of a series of time-measurements for each pixel (rather than a whole series of level measurements).

The key advantage with this approach is that it is much easier to make accurate time measurements than to make very low light level measurements.

I know that this sounds like a crazy idea, and I have not explored all the issues, but I am interested in your feedback. One issue that comes to mind is that the bright pixels will stop recording the scene at a different time to the darker pixels (although all within the shutter open time). What will this look like if the scene is changing during the time that the shutter is open…?

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Regards, Nigel

PS. Note that I only check this forum every couple of days...

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