In the previous two chapters the optical transfer function was introduced and its physical implications concerning contrast derived. In the present chapter, these results are applied toward determining image resolution in a quantitative manner. By resolution we mean the smallest size detail that can be resolved. This can be related to system optical transfer function and spatial frequency bandwidth. However, in reality image quality and resolution are very subjective parameters, varying considerably with each person’s visual system characteristics and its dependence on background irradiance—system signal-to-noise ratio. Therefore, the quantitative formulations presented in this and the next few chapters should be viewed as representative rather than as absolute quantities. A more appropriate approach is stochastic rather than deterministic and is presented as well. System design integrating the material from the previous eight chapters is emphasized strongly in the exercises and solutions.
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