Would something like this "super-RAW" be possible with today's technology?

Started Jul 25, 2014 | Questions thread
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CreeDo Senior Member • Posts: 1,619
Would something like this "super-RAW" be possible with today's technology?

I was thinking the other day... in Adobe Camera Raw you have this exposure slider. But of course it's not really controlling exposure, because exposure is what happens during the actual shot. It's more like a smart brightness slider.

But what if you really could control exposure in post?

From what I understand, light hits the millions of little photosensors, which basically count photons. Then they convert this to a digital signal that goes through a processor and spits out your raw and JPG.

What if, at set intervals, the sensor passes on the current photon count to that processor while the shutter is open? So let's say the scene is perfectly exposed at 1/10th of a second. That means the shutter is open for 100 milliseconds. What if it passes that photon info to the processor after 10 milliseconds, and again at 20 milliseconds, and again at 30... each time writing info to our big super-RAW file... until finally the shutter closes. You effectively have 10 exposures crammed into a single raw. But without having to take 10 separate shots.

Then your software allows you to dial back the actual exposure with a slider, and other sliders can recover shadows and highlights by using info from other exposures. So if the shutter's open 120 milliseconds, and it blows out the highlights, you maybe dial it back 20 milliseconds, then the software can additionally pull from the 120-millisecond exposure to brighten up shadows, or from the 50 millisecond exposure to darken overly bright highlights.

If it became practical, you could just intentionally overexpose everything past the point of blowing out highlights, knowing that you can dial it back in post and get actual perfect exposure on every shot. HDR would be largely unnecessary, the RAW software is effectively combining multiple exposures already.

I understand that the processing horsepower might be too much for current tech. And the file sizes would be absurdly huge (hundreds of megs). But I'm just wondering if the idea makes sense and maybe someday we could almost take exposure out of the picture, so to speak.

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