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A computational camera uses a combination of optics and processing to produce images that cannot be captured with traditional cameras. In the last decade, computational imaging has emerged as a vibrant field of research. A wide variety of computational cameras has been demonstrated to encode more useful visual information in the captured images, as compared with conventional cameras. In this paper, we survey computational cameras from two perspectives. First, we present a taxonomy of computational camera designs according to the coding approaches, including object side coding, pupil plane coding, sensor side coding, illumination coding, camera arrays and clusters, and unconventional imaging systems. Second, we use the abstract notion of light field representation as a general tool to describe computational camera designs, where each camera can be formulated as a projection of a high-dimensional light field to a 2-D image sensor. We show how individual optical devices transform light fields and use these transforms to illustrate how different computational camera designs (collections of optical devices) capture and encode useful visual information.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2011