Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is used in imaging to characterize image quality. The sensitivity of a (digital or film) imaging system is typically described in the terms of the signal level that yields a threshold level of SNR.
Industry standards define sensitivity in terms of the ISO film speed equivalent, using SNR thresholds (at average scene luminance) of 40:1 for "excellent" image quality and 10:1 for "acceptable" image quality.
SNR is sometimes quantified in decibels (dB) of signal power relative to noise power, though in the imaging field the concept of "power" is sometimes taken to be the power of a voltage signal proportional to optical power; so a 20 dB SNR may mean either 10:1 or 100:1 optical power, depending on which definition is in use.
Traditionally, SNR is defined to be the ratio of the average signal value to the standard deviation of the signal :
when the signal is an optical intensity, or as the square of this value if the signal and noise are viewed as amplitudes (field quantities).[ further explanation needed ]
Signal-to-noise ratio is a measure used in science and engineering that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise. SNR is defined as the ratio of signal power to the noise power, often expressed in decibels. A ratio higher than 1:1 indicates more signal than noise.
Signal-to-noise and distortion ratio (SINAD) is a measure of the quality of a signal from a communications device, often defined as
In signal processing, white noise is a random signal having equal intensity at different frequencies, giving it a constant power spectral density. The term is used, with this or similar meanings, in many scientific and technical disciplines, including physics, acoustical engineering, telecommunications, and statistical forecasting. White noise refers to a statistical model for signals and signal sources, rather than to any specific signal. White noise draws its name from white light, although light that appears white generally does not have a flat power spectral density over the visible band.
In photography, shutter speed or exposure time is the length of time when the film or digital sensor inside the camera is exposed to light, also when a camera's shutter is open when taking a photograph. The amount of light that reaches the film or image sensor is proportional to the exposure time. 1⁄500 of a second will let half as much light in as 1⁄250.
In photography, exposure is the amount of light per unit area reaching a frame of photographic film or the surface of an electronic image sensor, as determined by shutter speed, lens aperture, and scene luminance. Exposure is measured in lux seconds, and can be computed from exposure value (EV) and scene luminance in a specified region.
Film speed is the measure of a photographic film's sensitivity to light, determined by sensitometry and measured on various numerical scales, the most recent being the ISO system. A closely related ISO system is used to describe the relationship between exposure and output image lightness in digital cameras.
135 film, better known as 35 mm film, is a format of photographic film used for still photography. It is a cartridge film with a film gauge of 35 mm (1.4 in), typically used for hand-held photography in 35 mm film cameras. Its engineering standard for the film is controlled by ISO 1007.
In photography, exposure value (EV) is a number that represents a combination of a camera's shutter speed and f-number, such that all combinations that yield the same exposure have the same EV. Exposure value is also used to indicate an interval on the photographic exposure scale, with a difference of 1 EV corresponding to a standard power-of-2 exposure step, commonly referred to as a stop.
In photography, bracketing is the general technique of taking several shots of the same subject using different camera settings. Bracketing is useful and often recommended in situations that make it difficult to obtain a satisfactory image with a single shot, especially when a small variation in exposure parameters has a comparatively large effect on the resulting image. Given the time it takes to accomplish multiple shots, it is typically, but not always, used for static subjects. Autobracketing is a feature of many modern cameras. When set, it will automatically take several bracketed shots, rather than the photographer altering the settings by hand between each shot.
When setting photoflash exposures, the guide number (GN) of photoflash devices is a measure photographers can use to calculate either the required f‑stop for any given flash-to-subject distance, or the required distance for any given f‑stop. To solve for either of these two variables, one merely divides a device's guide number by the other.
Optical resolution describes the ability of an imaging system to resolve detail in the object that is being imaged.
Image noise is random variation of brightness or color information in images, and is usually an aspect of electronic noise. It can be produced by the image sensor and circuitry of a scanner or digital camera. Image noise can also originate in film grain and in the unavoidable shot noise of an ideal photon detector. Image noise is an undesirable by-product of image capture that obscures the desired information.
The optical transfer function (OTF) of an optical system such as a camera, microscope, human eye, or projector specifies how different spatial frequencies are handled by the system. It is used by optical engineers to describe how the optics project light from the object or scene onto a photographic film, detector array, retina, screen, or simply the next item in the optical transmission chain. A variant, the modulation transfer function (MTF), neglects phase effects, but is equivalent to the OTF in many situations.
APEX stands for Additive System of Photographic Exposure, which was proposed in the 1960 ASA standard for monochrome film speed, ASA PH2.5-1960, as a means of simplifying exposure computation.
Film grain or granularity is the random optical texture of processed photographic film due to the presence of small particles of a metallic silver, or dye clouds, developed from silver halide that have received enough photons. While film grain is a function of such particles it is not the same thing as such. It is an optical effect, the magnitude of which depends on both the film stock and the definition at which it is observed. It can be objectionably noticeable in an over-enlarged film photograph.
In digital photography, exposing to the right (ETTR) is the technique of adjusting the exposure of an image as high as possible at base ISO to collect the maximum amount of light and thus get the optimum performance out of the digital image sensor.
The merits of digital versus film photography were considered by photographers and filmmakers in the early 21st century after consumer digital cameras became widely available. Digital photography and digital cinematography have both advantages and disadvantages relative to still film and motion picture film photography. In the 21st century, photography came to be predominantly digital, but traditional photochemical methods continue to serve many users and applications.
In digital photography, the image sensor format is the shape and size of the image sensor.
Photographic film is a strip or sheet of transparent film base coated on one side with a gelatin emulsion containing microscopically small light-sensitive silver halide crystals. The sizes and other characteristics of the crystals determine the sensitivity, contrast, and resolution of the film.
The detective quantum efficiency is a measure of the combined effects of the signal and noise performance of an imaging system, generally expressed as a function of spatial frequency. This value is used primarily to describe imaging detectors in optical imaging and medical radiography.