CS 178 - Digital Photography

What's inside a digital camera? This is a cutaway view of the Canon Digital Rebel 1000D. Here's a more instructive diagram, showing the main optical paths. We'll take apart a camera in class. Most photography books talk about depth of field and depth of focus, but few of them give a formula for it. Here it is. N is the F-number, f is focal length, C is pixel size, and U is distance to the scene. We'll study this formula in class, and you'll be asked to experiment with depth of field effects in your weekly photographic assignments. This is a tough shot, because the arcade ceiling is much darker than the courtyard beyond. I solved it by combining three exposures, an idea called "high dynamic range" imaging. You don't need a special camera for this; we'll try it in class. Here are more shots from India. Dorothea Lange's iconic portrait of a migrant mother during the Great Depression. We'll survey the history of photography and study the work of good photographers.

Course description

An introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography - how digital cameras work, how to take good pictures using them, and how to manipulate these pictures afterwards. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, optical effects in nature, perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, the camera as a computing platform, image processing and editing, history of photography, and computational photography. We'll also survey the history of photography and look at the work of famous photographers. Coursework is written assignments, exams, and photography assignments. Enrolled students will be given free access to Photoshop CS5 during the course. Counts as a CS elective in the Graphics Track. Also satisfies GER:DB-EngrAppSci.

Spring, 2011
3-5 (no difference in workload),
P/NP or letter grade (at student's discretion)
Tue/Thu 2:15 - 3:30
and one 90-minute lab/section meeting per week
TCSEQ (Hewlett) 201
Marc Levoy
Office hours
     Marc Levoy: Tue/Thu, 4:15pm - 5:30pm
     TAs: TBA
  • Math at the level of an introductory college course in calculus, linear algebra, probability,
       or statistics. Basically, you shouldn't be scared of a little math.
  • Digital camera with manual control over shutter speed and aperture. Need not be an SLR.
       Loaner cameras will be available to students who need them, at least until we run out.
  • Programming experience is not required.

  • © 2011 Marc Levoy
    Last update: March 14, 2011 08:24:10 PM