High Dynamic Range (HDR) Technology for Mobile
Technology
Image Sensor for Mobile

High Dynamic Range
(HDR) Technology for Mobile

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Overview

Our surroundings are subject to a significant variance of luminous intensity (dynamic range), from the bright sunshine to dim light of stars.

Overview dynamic range

Since the image sensor has a narrow dynamic range of photography, it cannot photograph the range that can be seen by the human eye. If you are going to capture a bright subject, the dark areas will be blacked out, and if you are going to capture a dark subject, the bright areas will become blowout. In addition, because the image sensor for smartphones, which needs to be reduced in size, has a reduced ability to capture light, the range of brightness that can be photographed will be further narrowed. This is the reason why the photographing result may differ from that of the naked eye when photographing a scene with a large difference in brightness such as backlight with a smartphone .

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a function for capturing scenes with such a large difference in brightness (dynamic range). In HDR mode, the brightness is automatically adjusted by changing the operation of the image sensor, enabling you to photograph with blowout and blackout suppressed, which are close to what you see with the naked eye.

The Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation(SSS)’s image sensor incorporates exposure control technology and signal processing functions into the sensor to realize HDR shooting with the sensor alone. In particular, an image sensor that supports 3-exposure shooting can not only obtain still images similar to what you see with the naked eye, but also apply that effect to video.

Technical Features

Capturing with blowout and blackout suppressed

A landscape in the sunlight seen from a dark indoor environment―a scene with a wide dynamic range such as this can be captured with details in the light and dark areas intact, avoiding blackout and blowout.

Shot with SDR (Standard dynamic range)

Shot with SDR (Standard dynamic range)

Shot with HDR (IMX689)

Shot with HDR (IMX689)

In fact, the dynamic range is also wide in nightscapes. The HDR function reduces the blowout effect of illumination, making it possible to capture an image just like we see it.

Shot with SDR

Shot with SDR

Shot with HDR (IMX689)

Shot with HDR (IMX689)

Realizing the HDR function in the sensor itself

In HDR shooting, first, image signals with different brightness are captured by changing the shutter speed. Next, by combining multiple images captured into one data on the image sensor, signals with a wide dynamic range are created. By performing gradation correction processing that adjusts the brightness based on the luminance distribution of the image, an image close to the one seen by humans can be obtained with blowout and blackout suppressed.
The QBC image sensor that supports 3-exposure simultaneously shoots images with 4 pixels of the same color under three exposure conditions of short-time exposure, long-time exposure and intermediate exposure, and composites the images, so it is possible to achieve a dynamic range equivalent to that of the naked eye.

Multiple exposure shooting, synthesizing, and gradation correction. The Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation’s image sensor completes this series of HDR processing in real time within the image sensor's logic chip, so HDR can also be applied to video.

Realizing the HDR function in the sensor itself

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