The effect of motion blur and signal noise on image quality in low light imaging
Motion blur and signal noise are probably the two most dominant sources of image quality degradation in digital imaging. In low light conditions, the image quality is always a tradeoff between motion blur and noise. Long exposure time is required in low illumination level in order to obtain adequate signal to noise ratio. On the other hand, risk of motion blur due to tremble of hands or subject motion increases as exposure time becomes longer. Loss of image brightness caused by shorter exposure time and consequent underexposure can be compensated with analogue or digital gains. However, at the same time also noise will be amplified. In relation to digital photography the interesting question is: What is the tradeoff between motion blur and noise that is preferred by human observers? In this paper we explore this problem. A motion blur metric is created and analyzed. Similarly, necessary measurement methods for image noise are presented. Based on a relatively large testing material, we show experimental results on the motion blur and noise behavior in different illumination conditions and their effect on the perceived image quality.