Dolby Out To Improve Camera Phone Picture Quality

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Barcelona, Spain - Dolby Labs came to the Mobile World Congress with a technology designed to improve the image quality of cellphone cameras.

Qualcomm will incorporate the technology in a range of chips designed for smartphones and tablets, and a maker of SOCs (system on chips) for digital still cameras has licensed the technology, Dolby announced.

The technology, called JPEG-HDR, delivers 26-bit dynamic range (contrast ratio) when viewed on a PC through photo-sharing websites that Dolby expects will incorporate the technology. Consumers will also be able to view the pictures in full dynamic range through a planned Adobe Photoshop plug-in.

Dolby will also make the technology available to companies with PC-based photo-viewing programs.

Through traditional JPEG viewers, the backward-compatible HDR-JPEG photos will show up as standard JPEGs with 8-bit dynamic range, said Jean-Marc Matteini, Dolby's digital still images marketing director.

"We preserve the entire dynamic range" by storing the difference between an 8-bit photo and a 26-bit photo and converting the difference information into metadata embedded in the picture, he said. An HDR-JPEG viewer will extract the metadata to restore full dynamic range to the picture.

"JPEG-HDR can deliver over 200,000 times wider dynamic range that a conventional JPEG, preserve details in blacks and highlights while being backwards-compatible with standard JPEG and similar file sizes," he said.

The new format "essentially delivers the quality of Radiance HDR, Open EXR and RAW formats [for professional photographers] without the large file sizes, handling and compatibility issues," he added.


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