Time-Constrained Photography

Samuel W. Hasinoff, Kiriakos N. Kutulakos, Frédo Durand, and William T. Freeman


Samuel W. Hasinoff, Kiriakos N. Kutulakos, Frédo Durand, and William T. Freeman, Time-Constrained Photography. Proc. 12th IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision, ICCV 2009, pp. 333-340 [pdf]

Kiriakos N. Kutulakos and Samuel W. Hasinoff, Focal Stack Photography: High-Performance Photography with a Conventional Camera. Proc. 11th IAPR Conference on Machine Vision Applications, MVA 2009, pp. 332-337 (invited paper). [pdf]

Samuel W. Hasinoff, Variable-Aperture Photography. PhD Thesis, University of Toronto, Dept. of Computer Science, 2008. [pdf]
Alain Fournier Ph.D. Thesis Award


Capturing multiple photos at different focus settings is a powerful approach for reducing optical blur, but how many photos should we capture within a fixed time budget? We develop a framework to analyze optimal capture strategies balancing the tradeoff between defocus and sensor noise, incorporating uncertainty in resolving scene depth. We derive analytic formulas for restoration error and use Monte Carlo integration over depth to derive optimal capture strategies for different camera designs, under a wide range of photographic scenarios. We also derive a new upper bound on how well spatial frequencies can be preserved over the depth of field. Our results show that by capturing the optimal number of photos, a standard camera can achieve performance at the level of more complex computational cameras, in all but the most demanding of cases. We also show that computational cameras, although specifically designed to improve one-shot performance, generally benefit from capturing multiple photos as well.


MATLAB code distribution

Supplementary material

General notes

The photos below are in 16-bit PNG format and are linear (γ=1). Note that the underexposed input may appear completely black (or be posterized when rescaled) unless a suitable viewer such as Adobe Photoshop or MATLAB is used.

Image restoration under a time budget (Fig.4)

Image restoration with unknown depth (Fig. 5)

Experiments with real photos

Common experimental setup:

Printed advertisement (scene from Fig. 8)

Bottles and spices, covered in text [new]

Bigfoot figurine head [new]


This work was supported in part by NSERC under the RGPIN and PDF programs, NSF CAREER award 0447561, the Quanta T-Party, NGA NEGI-1582-04-0004, MURI Grant N00014-06-1-0734, and by a gift from Microsoft Research. F. Durand acknowledges a Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship. Thanks to Anat Levin and the anonymous reviewers for helpful feedback.