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High Dynamic Range Monitors 131

An anonymous reader writes, "We are seeing more and more about high dynamic range (HDR) images, where the photographer brackets the exposures and then combines the images to increase the dynamic range of the photo. The next step is going to be monitors that can display the wider dynamic range these images offer, as well as being more true-to-life, as they come closer to matching the capabilities of the ol' Mark I eyeball. The guys who seem to be furthest along with this are a company called Brightside Technologies. Here is a detailed review of the Brightside tech." With a price tag of $49K for a 37" monitor (with a contrast ratio of 200K to 1), HDR isn't exactly ready for the living room yet.
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High Dynamic Range Monitors

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  • I beg to differ. (Score:5, Informative)

    by purduephotog ( 218304 ) < minus caffeine> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @07:22PM (#16415691) Homepage Journal
    Mammography has gone completely digital. Why? Because the quality of the imagery is lightyears better than what you can get for film. Couple that with rapid processing from a scanner laser and throw in algorithms that contrast enhance areas of nearly neutral density and you have a recipe for catching growths that would otherwise miss detection.

    A good, excellent radiologist could detect subtle differences of about 80% that of a standard person. I'd give you the exact quote but it's been a while since I remembered the data- suffice to say I was impressed at the level (in controlled lighting situations) that they were able to see in film.

    A good medical display is a peeled LCD- all the colors have been chemically removed from the surface- and has typically a brighter backlight and another polarizer to knock down the lmin even further. This gives you better dynamic range that is easily adjusted faster than film can- want to zoom in? No problem- touch and zoom- or if you had film, grab a loupe (or crane your head closer). Digital wins hands down.

    Yes, if you digitize a negative you have a data density that can't be reached very easily (I used to estimate this for a job for large quantities of imagery and at high quality ratios- 2 micron spot sizes). But frankly alot of that information is useless- you don't need to know what isn't of relevance.

    The most important aspect of digital imaging is proper viewing environment- something no one seems to get. Reduce the lighting of the area to 0.5 fc and remove any sources of glare off the monitor. Wear dark clothing. Have wall wash lighting appropriate to about 3-9 fc. Have surfaces neutral gray. Ceiling black.

    Digital definately competes with film in many markets for medical xray- Mammography was just the easiest to choose because it has been such a radical change in such a short time period.

    I should note I used to work for Eastman Kodak and did work with other individuals on these digital products (specifically, algorithms)... but I'm not biased because of that. Just the simple truth- from the raw data I've seen I'll feel happy and safe knowing my wife gets a digital mammagram every year.

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @07:23PM (#16415701) Journal
    The BrightSide DR37-R EDR display theoretically has an infinite contrast ratio. How? Because it can turn individual LED backlights off completely (see How It Works), it has a black luminance of zero. When you divide any brightness value by this zero black value, you get infinity.

    It goes from 0 to 4000cd/m^2. Their comparison model, the LVM-37w1, goes from 0.55 to 550cd/m^2.

    So this toy gets as close to true black as you can get - "off", thus constrained by the ambient light level. For white, they manage 4000cd/m^2, or comparable to fairly bright interior lighting.

    Consider me impressed, but realistically, this only amounts to roughly an 8x brightness improvement over the best normal displays, with true-black thrown in as a perk (they suspiciously don't mention the next lowest intensity, no doubt because it goes back into the realm of a contrast ratio of only a few thousand.
  • by Hijacked Public ( 999535 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @07:36PM (#16415855)
    HDR images are not at their best on a computer monitor, they look much better in print. Side by side a 3 stop HDR digital print generally looks better than a single exposure.
  • Re:Medical Imaging (Score:3, Informative)

    by ketamine-bp ( 586203 ) <calvin@k.[ ] ['eta' in gap]> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @08:03PM (#16416245)
    I believe that in interpretation of X-ray (chest or abdomen), most disease state/patterns are pretty obvious and do not require anything more than a careful eye on a 1000x1000 image of 8-bit grays to actually interpret it. As for X-ray skeletal parts, you can usually lesions, or it is simply not there.

    For CT and MRI, however, the best thing about using a computer to read it rather than reading it on printed films, is that you can actually adjust the window (from the bone window to the soft-tissue window etc) - distinguishing adipose containing nodules from nodules that are composed of 'real' soft tissue - etc. and THAT doesn't take a very high resolution, or high dynamic range image either - and don't tell me you want to put all that window into one image so we don't have to adjust that... it would be much more difficult to see than the ye olde window adjustment...
  • Re:I beg to differ. (Score:4, Informative)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Thursday October 12, 2006 @08:58PM (#16416979) Homepage Journal
    I think that you are missing the point of my argument. I was supporting the use and implementation of HDR monitors because of some of the current limitations of digital radiology. All of the things that are done to medical quality LCDs and digital enhancement are an attempt to narrow the difference in image quality between film and computer display and HDR monitors will help this out considerably.

    I am not arguing against digital radiology, rather I am all for it because of the inherent benefits (less rads, less time, less film processing variability, more convenient, etc....etc....etc...), but the reality is that digital radiology is still not all it could be. You said it yourself in that a well trained radiologist can detect about 80% of the differences present in digital representation. Well..... 20% is still a lot of potential misses on diagnoses.

    The reasons that digital has been so successful is not necessarily because of its inherent superiority in image quality. Rather it has been successful because it is cheaper and more convenient especially given the trend away from traditional medical records management.

    As to the density of information, I routinely take film images of electron microscopy captures and digitize them because of the convenience, and that is working on the nanoscale range. I am throwing information away by the conversion, but it is more convenient for all of the reasons we have already talked about.

  • Re:It's tres cool (Score:3, Informative)

    by squidfrog ( 765515 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @09:11PM (#16417135) Homepage
    Using dcraw [] and the Radiance (HDR) file format [], it should be trivial to convert any digicam or SLR's raw image to an HDR.

    For manually-captured bracketed images, there's AHDRIC [] (disclaimer: I wrote this). As long as the EXIF info is intact and the only thing that changes between shots is the shutterspeed, this should do the trick. A related tool (AHDRIA) lets you capture HDRs automatically by controlling a digicam via USB (Canon digicams only, sorry). This process can take 20-120 seconds, depending on the quality required.
  • by Atario ( 673917 ) on Friday October 13, 2006 @07:05AM (#16421183) Homepage
    Now, with a display that can ACTUALLY display the full spectrum of a HDR image. THAT I'm interested in.
    Me too! And I sure am glad they included some screenshots in TFA; I can see how they're much better-looking than what my regular old CRT can display! I sat there, dumbfounded, thinking how much wider a dynamic range they had than my actual monitor.

    Maybe they can set up a service where you can look at more great HDR photos at home on your regular monitor so you can at least get used to it...

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.