An Evaluation of the Current State of Digital Photography

Charles Dickinson


Abstract

The field of digital photography is always changing.  Due to the rapid pace of new technologies being developed for this area, it is becoming more commonly used by people in all walks of life, particularly that of the consumer.  It is therefore important to criticaly evaluate the current state of this technology to gain a better understanding of how advanced it has become.

This research has evaluated the digital photographic systems from digital camera input to printer output.  The metrics used to judge the performance of the camera and printer performance were the modulation transfer functions, or MTFs, of the devices, and subjective evaluations of their prints.  Previous research of this kind has been done on specific devices, but this project is unique in that it looks at digital photography as a system, and incorporates not only the traditional MTF, but also the ratings of observers.

From the results gained by doing this research, several conclusions have been made.  The first is that a generic model of digital photography has been gained.  What is meant by generic is that the cameras and printers span a wide range of quality and expense, so it is possible to substitute devices of similar qualities and obtain information from the results.  The second conclusion to be made is that for low end cameras, an upgraded printer makes little difference in the output of the system.  Finally, the effects of interline vs. frame transfer CCDs have not been determined by this research due to the unexpected differences in the two cameras used for this question.


Table of Contents | Thesis