Have you ever tried to shoot a video of a scene that has a strong backlight, like when a person stands in front of a window or direct sunlight? Well, then you will know that it can be almost impossible to get the right exposure of all parts of the picture. Now with the HDR function of the Exmor RS™ image sensor in the new Xperia™ Z, you can get great videos and photos even in these high contrast scenes. For our implementation of HDR video, we use different exposures on every two lines of pixels, to create an optimal result, with really good contrasts. Read on as we explain more how this works!
In the field of view of the human eye, it can perceive details in both dark and light area at the same time, with a wide range between the darkest and the brightest. This has been very difficult to represent with cameras, since traditional image sensors cannot represent all the variations at the same time. Typically, you’ve had to choose between having a good exposure of either the dark or the bright areas of a picture.
Now with the high dynamic range (HDR) technology of the Exmor RS™ image sensor, you can have both good exposure and vivid contrasts. We first introduced HDR for still images in Xperia V, and now with the new Xperia Z and Xperia ZL, we added HDR video recording for the first time.
Video showing Xperia™ Z, including the HDR functionality.
How HDR video recording works
To achieve true HDR video recording, the advanced Exmor RS™ camera sensor in Xperia™ Z changes the exposure every two lines of pixels. This creates a spatially varying exposure (SVE) array image, which is then used to make an image that is perfectly exposed in both dark and light areas.
To simplify the concept, for each frame the camera shoots one picture with two different exposure levels at the same time, one light and one dark. Then, an intelligent software algorithm is used to combine (synthesise) the two shots into one picture, pixel by pixel. This allows you to see the details of both the dark and the bright parts of the picture.
HDR for still images
With HDR for still images, the camera quickly captures the image twice with different exposure levels and stitches the two shots together to create one optimised photo. This way, HDR lets you capture clear photos even against strong backlight. HDR is automatically activated when Superior Auto detects scenes with strong backlight.
So now, with the Xperia™ Z you can say goodbye to poor videos and photos even in the most difficult conditions. Drop us a comment below and let us know what you think!