Abstract

We continue the work by Huck et al. [ J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 2, 1644 ( 1985)] to assess image gathering and processing in terms of the information density of the acquired signal and of the fidelity of representations reproduced from this signal. The assessment is constrained by the assumptions that the system is linear and isoplanatic and that the signal and noise amplitudes are Gaussian, wide-sense stationary, and statistically independent. Within these constraints, it is found that (1) the combined process of image gathering and reconstruction (which is intended to reproduce the output of the image-gathering system) behaves as optical, or photographic, image formation in that the informationally optimized design of the image-gathering system ordinarily does not maximize the fidelity of the reconstructed image; (2) the combined process of image gathering and restoration (which is intended to reproduce the input to the image-gathering system) behaves more as a communication channel in that the informationally optimized design of the image-gathering system tends to maximize the fidelity of a variety of optimally restored representations ranging from images to edges; and (3) there exists an intuitively satisfying relationship among the informationally optimized design of image-gathering systems, the response and sensitivity of natural vision, and the reliable detection of edges.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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