More natural skin color reproduction
The "greater power of the CX1 to recreate the beauty the eye sees" has been made possible not only by the expanded dynamic range but by other advances as well. One such advance is the CX1's greater ability to beautifully reproduce skin colors when people are photographed in shadow. "It is the CX1's ' multi-pattern auto white balance' function that makes this possible," stated Kenichiroh Nomura, a member of the software design staff.
"In past models, a single white balance was defined for the entire image. Because of this, in scenes with a mix of sunlight and shadow, when the camera judged the scene as being 'sunlit,' the white balance for sunlight would be used even in shadow areas. This gives a bluish tint to the skin of people in shadow. The CX1, however, segregates the image into multiple areas and determines a white balance setting for each so the optimum white balance can be used even for people in shadow. Thus, the CX1 can reproduce natural skin color close to what we perceive with our eyes," Nomura explained.
High-speed analysis of subject
The moment that the photographer points the camera at a subject and pushes the shutter release button half way, the CX1 measures and analyzes the subject brightness and color. It is "multi-pattern auto white balance" that defines the optimum white balance for each area of the image, adjusting the color tones to reproduce natural colors. "In the early stage of development, the method used for color adjustment resulted in an unnatural-looking image because of problems such as borderlines appearing between areas. Through a repeated process of test shots and fine tuning, we came up with parameters capable of reproducing natural color," Nomura said, thinking back on the design period.
"Multi-pattern auto white balance" is the default setting so that natural-color images are produced in normal shooting. It also operates when the camera is in "dynamic range double shot mode", which quickly shoots two images with different exposures and combines them. "This is possible because we were able to accelerate processing with 'Smooth Imaging Engine IV' and the CMOS imaging sensor (CMOS sensor)," said Nomura. In an instant, the CX1 carries out a series of processes that includes defining the white balance for all segments of the image, adjusting the colors, changing the exposure, and then shooting a second image.